Anyway you look at it, it’s still “shitty”

April 27, 2010

“Shitty” is such an under-used word on TV and in the stately halls of Capitol Hill, except today as senators – especially Carl Levin —  grilled Goldman Sachs executives on their role in the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. “Shitty” and its second cousin “crappy” are flying all over the place thanks to an e-mail in which Goldman Sachs employees used the phrase “shitty deal.”

This presented a dilemma for news organizations, many of which have been live blogging the hearing. Let’s check in and see how shitty goes down in the various style guides.  (It  goes without saying, shitty is acceptable over here.)

At The Washington Post, Frank Ahrens refrains from using the word straight out and instead goes with the demure “s****y deal.”  But, way down in the tags,  someone thinks the style is stuffy and manages to sneak in the full monty.

The New York Times doesn’t even bother with **** and trips all over itself to describe the situation as only the Times can do in this Caucus blog post about the very word: “Not once, not twice, but about eight times did Senator Carl Levin use a vulgar term during a Senate hearing today with Goldman Sachs executives — a term we can’t even partially spell out here, because of The Times’s  strict rules on proper language.”

Fetch my smelling salts.

You think The Wall Street Journal, under News Corp’s ownership,  would throw the style book to the wind? No such luck. They opt for the dashes, “sh – y.”

Heh. The FT, on the other hand,  has no problem.

BloombergBusinessWeek?  Check!

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