An interesting development on the language police front: a number of activists are arguing in favor of going ahead and using the words that are considered objectionable. That would mean reporting accurately on Kobe Bryant's homophobic expletive from the Los Angeles Lakers' bench. And, according to other reports, there's a pushback from the cognescenti and civil rights groups regarding the use of the "N-word" in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
In fact, Thursday at noon PST language expert Roy Peter Clark is hosting on online discussion at Poynter.org entitled: When writing, how should you handle slurs like the one Kobe Bryant used? (If you miss it, the discussion will remain on the site and will be available for viewing.
Writing on the Poynter website, Clark argues that "Publishing taboo words that arise in the news does not require red headlines, bold face or 30-point type. A word can be revealed in the body of the text, or inside the paper, or via a link on the website. Any further inhibitions smack of a misguided political correctness, however well intended."
It's an interesting change. I've assumed that the trend around college campuses and in other intellectual corners has involved a move toward more censorship. Now I'm finding evidence otherwise.
Notice that I haven't reproduced the offending phrases here. My training took place at a proverbial "family newspaper" and even though I have sympathy with Clark's point of view, I'm not comfortable letting the words fly here.