Yesterday's Independent on Sunday carried an opinion piece by Sarah Churchwell about Barack Obama and his chances for victory in November. It is thoughtful and well worth a read but I don't mention it for that. I mention it because the following quote highlights the much more sensible policies of all of the major British papers towards the use of obscenity in print. Ms. Churchwell, in discussing Senator McCain's character has the following to say:
"I would put nothing past a man who, it has been alleged and not denied, has called his own wife a cunt."
The use of the justifiably reviled "C" word in this case is not gratuitous. How can one possibly discuss the (alleged) incident without using the word? The American press would simply report, had they not already chosen to ignore the accusation, that "McCain cursed his wife" or "McCain called his wife an expletive". Neither of those does justice to what may, or may not, have occurred between the two. If it is duty of the press to report then they must report, and report truthfully, including the use of often offensive language when it is necessary and germane to the story.