Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008

The New York Times' Ridiculous Profanity Policy

By Evan Rytlewski
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As far as band names go, [********] is one of the worst ever. I was surprised, then, to see the New York Times run a review of the latest CD from this unknown, unpronounceable band this Monday.

As it turns out, of course, [********] isn't actually the band's real moniker, but rather a (severely) censored version thereof. I've seen the newspaper sanitize crass band names before—it made for a very awkward write-up of the punk group Pissed Jeans—but never have I seen a band name rendered so unrecognizable. The first two paragraphs of this cumbersome review give no indication of what the real name is, and the third paragraph, which outlines how to find out, boarders on self-parody:

The band has a prankishly unprintable name, but you can search for it by combining some of the following: its hometown, Toronto, Ontario; the names of its singer, Pink Eyes, or its guitarist, 10,000 Marbles; or news of two recent performances. One was a 12-hour gig last week at the Rogan store, a boutique on the Bowery in Manhattan. The other was a 10-minute appearance on Canada's MTV Live on Oct. 9, when the band thoroughly vandalized its performance space, a men's room.

Yes, I'm aware that the writer, Ben Ratliff, was being cute and coy, making the most of his paper's unfortunate profanity guidelines, but his directions suck nonetheless: Google what he suggests and the first thing you'll come up with is a link for the Virtual Pediatric Hospital about pink eye, followed by, for some reason, a page on canine pink eye

Of course, Googling the name of the album, The Chemistry of Common Life, and the record label, Matador, will provide the name of the band—Fucked Up—but still, shouldn't that be the newspaper's job?

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