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The Dirty Talk Of The Town
May 31, 2011 7:14 PM   Subscribe

The Awl compiles a history of profanity at The New Yorker. Padgett Powell once said that the usage rules used to be so restrictive, he was forced to change "big-butt sheriff" to "big-bubba sheriff" in "The Winnowing of Mrs. Schuping" (1991; great story).
posted by maud (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Big-Butt Sheriff is the name of my Sir Mix-A-Lot cover band.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


second awl related link in the past few days...approve
posted by lslelel at 7:20 PM on May 31, 2011


Interestingly enough, since Tina Brown took over Newsweek, I just noticed tonight the word "fuck" appears on page 6 of the current issue. Not too many weeks ago they were putting dashes in the words bastard and bitch and ass. I have no problems with the new grown-up Newsweek.
posted by hippybear at 7:26 PM on May 31, 2011


Somebody owns the Complete New Yorker on DVD.
posted by briank at 7:42 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Penis -- 1981

Vagina -- 1995

That's both sad and unsurprising.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:54 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The penis always comes first, Bitter.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:23 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Padgett Powell once said that the usage rules used to be so restrictive, he was forced to change "big-butt sheriff" to "big-bubba sheriff" in "The Winnowing of Mrs. Schuping"

I guess the line is universal:

Never trust a big butt and a smile.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:48 PM on May 31, 2011


If you are interested in detailed editing... or possibly obsessive over-editing, About Town: The New Yorker And The World It Made has all of the inspirational/horror (depending upon your view) stories about editing you might imagine. (Like in one case, almost a full decade from submission to publication; the number of revisions involved, I lost count).

I wouldn't agree with everything William Shawn felt, but I would agree with one of his maxims: "Never publish a short story about a writer writing a story". He easily cut away a lot of crap with this one.
posted by ovvl at 9:28 PM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


The word Nyhan used was “pussy-whipped.”

Heh.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:32 PM on May 31, 2011


shit
First used: 1976, Gabriel García Márquez, "The Autumn of the Patriarch"


I'm pretty sure that got in there just because the editor was already exhausted by the time he got to "nigger whorehouse," saw that he was barely a quarter through the one of the world's most impressive run-on sentence and just said "Fuck this shit."
posted by Panjandrum at 3:18 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The Winnowing of Mrs. Schuping"

They took the "t" out of her name too.
posted by chavenet at 4:06 AM on June 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


anal and asshole were fairly recent, probably because no one at the new yorker has an anus.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that Saul Bellow quote. Ugh. "Morris" is a schmendrick.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 9:10 AM on June 1, 2011


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