A recent comment by the Reverend Jesse Jackson regarding the reverend's desire to express dissatisfaction with presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama by severing certain of the senator's body parts has revealed the disturbing unreadiness of the nation's newspapers to deal with newsworthy vulgarities and issues of censorship.
For example, though the Los Angeles Times printed in full the reverend's comment, the New York Times euphemized the most anatomically illustrative and thus most objectionable portion of the comments. Papers in Kansas, I'm told, used no words at all and relied instead on crayon drawings depicting swords and figs. (Note: the accuracy of such accounts has not been verified.)
Clearly, our nation's newspapers find themselves at a critical point in history, facing the toughest question in their esteemed history: When, where, and in what context can one make reference to certain protein-rich kernels? Meetings in editorial boardrooms stretch into the wee hours as the nation's best news minds make keen observations such as, "... yet I'm very comfortable printing it when Rachael Ray says to put them in brownies."
This crisis threatens to grind our nation's newspapers to a halt. And I, for one, cannot just sit back and let that happen. So, in a patriotic and altruistic application of my language expertise as well as my experience as a newspaper editor, I have come up with a complex but foolproof formula for newspaper editors to discern the printability of any profanity.
I call it the Customary Usage Normalizing Test.
According to this system, all obscenities are assigned a number value based on their relative offensiveness. The higher the number, the less printable the word.
This variable, referred to as the Forensic Unambiguous Censorship Kurtosis, centers on two main variables:
Modifiers can increase a word's value -- a process referred to as Adjectival Shock Supremacy.
1. a word's definition as pertinent to bodily elimination functions
(Septic-Highlighting Ingestion Terminology), which carries a base value of 7
2. pertinence to reproductive functions (Total Wantonness Algorithmic Table), which gives a word a base value of 8
Like the values of the base words themselves, Adjectival Shock Supremacy is measured in terms of relevance to elimination (added value of 1) or reproduction (added value of 2).
For example, Webster's word for "a stupid or silly blunder," that is, "boner," does not carry any offensiveness points when used thusly. But a homonym with an anatomical connotation would have a value of 8. A modifier with reproductive connotations, e.g. "raging," would increase that value to 10. While a waste-elimination-connoting modifier, e.g. "pee," would bring our root word to a less-objectionable 9. Other modifiers commonly considered to imbue obscene impact include "stiff," "wet," "bouncy," "hairy," "sucker," and "engorged."
As it is true that words spoken by such influential people as the president carry greater news value and thus greater justification for reprinting potentially objectionable quotations, newspapers should subtract a value of 2 from these leaders' words. This is called the President/Regent/Imperialist/Commander/King quotient.
The final variable factors in the sensitivity of any publication's readership. Community papers with extensive coverage of school, church, and family activities, for example, would use a different formula to assess acceptability in their publications than a national newspaper of record. Thus, all papers can assess each word's acceptability based on a simple rating system called Publication User-Specific Sensitivity Yoke.
Thus, "cock" (+8) modified by "engorged" (+2) spoken by the president (-2) could be printed in the Los Angeles Times, because that publication carries a PUSSY rating of 9, but not in the New York Times which carries a PUSSY rating of 7.
I sincerely hope our nation's newspaper editors will adopt this system.