After Mr. Carville tried to interrupt Mr. Novak twice, Mr. Novak said: "I know you hate to hear me. But you have to."I say, it's ridiculous to report it that way. You should at least have the word with asterisks -- otherwise we're left to imagine he said something worse than "bullshit," which is, so often, the perfect word. Why there's that bestseller, "On Bullshit," written by a philosophy professor, and that Penn and Teller TV show "Bullshit!" Bullshit is pretty mainstream. With the Times's circumlocution, we might imagine Novak had called Carville a f***ing c***.
Mr. Carville interrupted again, saying of Mr. Novak, "He's got to show these right-wingers that he's got backbone."
A moment later, Mr. Carville said directly to Mr. Novak: "The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show them you're tough."
Mr. Novak responded with a profanity, before telling Mr. Carville: "I hate that. Just let it go."
He stood up, removed his microphone and walked off.
My son -- John Althouse Cohen -- says it's like that thing in McSweeney's. What? This:
MEDIA MOMENT 37: HURRY! BLOOMBERGCHUPAFAN.COM AND BLOOMBERGBREASTISBEST.COM ARE STILL AVAILABLE
"Among the hundreds of Web addresses owned by Mr. Bloomberg... are more than a dozen with names like NoBloomberg.org and IhateBloomberg.com.... Many of these names, including some registered last week, include a slang expression of contempt, labeled vulgar in some contexts by dictionaries. The pure-minded could construe it to mean that Mr. Bloomberg has a fondness for lollipops."
— The New York Times, May 12, 2001
"An Internet site for the posting of complaints about American corporations, celebrities and political figures can continue to use a Web address that denigrates Michael R. Bloomberg, the New York City mayoral candidate, according to a ruling a week ago.... The protest site, which is run by Dan Parisi, a pornography publisher, uses many addresses created by adding to the names of companies or politicians a slang expression of contempt associated in other contexts with baby bottles."
— The New York Times, June 14, 2001
The Times needs to get back to these more scrutable circumlocutions. Or just cut out the circumlocuting altogether. I know it's their thing to show off their "fit to print" standard, but a quote's a quote.