Friday, September 03, 2004

The C word: Cliche?

Did your paper use "the F word" when describing Cheney's tiff with Leahy? Does it use "the N word" when describing racist dialogue? How about "the A word" to refer to amnesty?

Jack Rosenthal calls this letteracy.
This usage probably began as a coy way to avoid obscenities and delete expletives. Garry Trudeau described the main ones in a Doonesbury comic strip last month in which a Cheney voice announces that “I not only intend to use the F-word from now on, I’m also using the S-word, the C-word, the P-word and the J-word,” leaving readers to wonder what curse the J-word might euphemize.
Find some funny examples in his column (filling in for William Safire) here.


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