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February 21, 2008

Fug-ging Censors

Strangely, the most interesting part of a recent blog post on the New York Times website about a paper-bound anthology of blog posts is not the incredibly meta- nature of the discussion. Nor is it the fact that the anthology's introduction includes the phrase "the stink of the link." Instead, it's the Gray Lady's refusal to print the name of one of the blogs included in said anthology because, according to City Room blogger Sewell Chan, it is "just this side of unprintable, at least for The New York Times."

That blog is the fashion-critiquing Go Fug Yourself, whose harmless name means that the Times has seriously gotten into the hand-holding business. Are we really so meek as to need protection not only from obscenities themselves, but also from any PG-rated, witty derivations thereof? (Incidentally, the Times found the blog's name just this side of printable, in a Q&A with Sara Jessica Parker.)

(A quick vocabulary lesson: Besides for standing in for "fuck"—supposedly Norman Mailer's invention—and for "fucking ugly," "fug" actually means something. According to the free dictionary, it means "a heavy, stale atmosphere, especially the musty air of an overcrowded or poorly ventilated room." Perhaps that's why it's appeared in several Times sentences, including "a pot-heavy fug of adolescent alienation" and "New Jersey disappears in the brown fug." Or maybe those were supposed to be "fog.")

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