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Isthmus Newspaper And The Use Of A Cuss Word

October 26, 2015

I am not a curmudgeon.  I should not feel the need to even say it.

But given today’s culture and how the lowest common denominator seems to always prevail it seems that my qualifier is required.  Having said that lets get to the point of this post.  And might I add this is not the first time I make this type of complaint.  But it does need to be addressed, even though many will prefer to laugh over what I have to say.

This past week in Isthmus, the local Madison weekly, on page two where the contents of the publication are listed was this highlighted headline for an upcoming event.

Gonna Science The S*** Out Of This

First even if the cuss word was not the cause for shaking one’s head the lack of any ability to frame a headline with proper rules of grammar would be enough reason to call attention to the writing.

I know Isthmus is under new management and the paper has lost the punch it once had.  I suspect their audience is diminished, too.  All publications seek ways to be competitive in this ever-changing era of how information is transmitted and received.  But the need by Isthmus to use a cuss word in a headline is simply showing the shallow end of their publication and their writers.  Clearly a few at the Isthmus need to be reminded there is nothing wrong with using sensible good taste.  

I know one thing for certain.  As someone who has worked in broadcasting and reported a fair share of news stories, and handled press relations in a legislator’s office which included writing at least one press release each week the number one rule is that words matter.

Words reflect who we are, what values we have, and wish to share with others.  It is clear that Isthmus must be seeking to entice some new demographic by seeming more ‘hip’ and believe lowering of standards of decency is a way to make profits.

But in an attempt to lure younger and more (fill in your own descriptive word) readers Isthmus has simply dumbed down their coverage with low-brow writing.

Sadly for more revenue–or attempts at being ‘edgy’ –Isthmus is poking higher standards in the eye.  I think there are many in this university educated city who agree with me and reject this style of writing.

I know of a gay couple with a child who work double-time to protect the youngster from not needing to ingest the raunchy day-today conversations of people on the street (walk a mall if you doubt me) let alone needing to wonder if the local newspaper needs to be viewed as one more obstacle to hurdle over.  There is nothing wrong with working to secure higher standards in our world.  There is nothing wrong in desiring for common sense to be our guide.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David W permalink
    October 28, 2015 10:57 AM

    Of course, it’s still debatable whether it was appropriate for the Isthmus to use the line.

  2. David W permalink
    October 28, 2015 10:52 AM

    While I agree with your sentiment on the gratuitous use of profanity in news copy, this is Matt Damon quote from the new movie “The Martian,” where his character has to devise a plan for surviving after being stranded on Mars. Now whether the movie had to use that language is another matter.

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