'Our problem is that “Gee” is an abbreviation for Jesus.'
March 21, 2003 7:03 AM   Subscribe

‘We can say “God”, “God” is fine, but we have to be very careful about anything that involves the name of the Lord and Saviour.’ Tory MP and Spectator editor Boris Johnson reflects on the process of getting a breezy op-ed past the editorial process of the Gray Lady. Jokes at the expense of the President of Guinea just aren't done.
posted by riviera (9 comments total)
The New York Times sounds like some prissy old person who could do with a good shaking up and rejuvenating. How terribly disappointing.
posted by orange swan at 7:35 AM on March 21, 2003

Boris Johnson, the flaxen-haired editor of the Spectator has been the darling of the young rght for some years, but was confirmed in his ascendancy when he inherited the editorship of the Spectator from Dominic Lawson... Unlike some of his "young fogey" counterparts, such as the fearsome Simon Heffer, Johnson is affable and good-humoured, even towards his political opponents.

He's certainly a very smart man, an occasionally amusing writer (sometimes he definitely is not). I enjoyed the story -- not the op-ed piece tho -- but really, are we surprised about the NYT being worried about making fun of African countries?
The "Gee" objection was certainly ridicolous, and rightly dropped
posted by matteo at 8:00 AM on March 21, 2003

There is a cultural gap. The New York Times needs to distinguish between its guest columnists and its staff. Why didn't they just print the bloody thing with a "here's what Hooray Henry Boris Johnson thinks" lead? This way, all they achieved was making an insipid column look daringly irreverent and, what is worst and constitutes ignominious defeat amongst fellow hacks, allowed Boris to get an extra column out of it.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:24 AM on March 21, 2003

Whoo hoo, look who's finally made his first post!

[Hugh Hefner] Champagne? [/Hugh Hefner]

posted by y2karl at 8:53 AM on March 21, 2003

Columns about newspaper editorial processes are my drug, y2karl.
posted by riviera at 11:00 AM on March 21, 2003

matteo - 'smart man'

He hides this well when he appears on TV ; )
posted by asok at 11:16 AM on March 21, 2003

OK, so my point was vigorously and perhaps provocatively made, but wasn’t that one of the objectives of journalism?

And one of the objectives of any writing, period. God (sorry, I meant "Our Lord and Savior") save us from the mealy-mouthed and mealy-minded.

Nice post, riviera.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:18 PM on March 21, 2003

Most of these changes are understandable, but I find it somewhat disturbing that even in an opinion piece he wasn't allowed to question the physical reality of "Gulf War Syndrome"
To illustrate the point, I noted that the last Gulf war had been so amazingly free of casualties that Gulf war syndrome (a stochastically unexceptional ragbag of symptoms) had been invented to fill the void, and to satisfy the yearning of the anti-war brigade for catastrophe.

‘We just cannot say this,’ said Tobin. ‘You could say this, and I wouldn’t disagree with you. But this administration takes Gulf war syndrome seriously, and so does this newspaper.’
It's strange that even in the op-ed section you're not allowed to express a common medical point of view.

That you're allowed to insult Hispanic countries but not Black countries (they insisted "Guinea" be changed to "Chile") is irritating, but not actually surprising...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:11 AM on March 22, 2003

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