It would have been silly to censor the word


A former New York Times employee was surprised to see the word “fucking” in yesterday’s New York Times Book Review. (It’s in the last paragraph of a book excerpt.) He wrote in a Sunday email:

This may not be the absolute first time that a form of “fuck” has been in the paper (accidents and the Starr report, perhaps?), but it I’d bet it’s the first time it has ever appeared so casually. When I was there, that would have gone at least to the executive editor, and maybe even to Arthur. (And, of course, if that word found its way into the paper without a high editor passing on it, there is going to be an internal shitstorm.)

I passed on posting the letter and image yesterday; BFD! – as the kids say – I thought. But today I wondered: How did Book Review readers react?

“I haven’t had a single complaint,” says editor Pamela Paul. “Don’t know of anything,” public editor Margaret Sullivan writes in an email, noting that she’s “semi off the grid today.”

* Book excerpt: “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” (