Here's the Scoop: Jan. 27, 2010
I swear — it was a mistake.
“Community paper.” That’s the best way to describe the Catskill Mountain News in two words or less. I’ve heard worse, of course. Especially in the past week! While providing coverage of “real stories,” the News still seeks to retain that wholesome, hometown flavor. With the exception, I guess, of the really, really bad swear word that made its way into print recently.
In case you were among the 17 readers who somehow overlooked this “typo,” I apologize, but journalistic ethics prohibit me from revealing the word in this column. However, my capitalistic instincts are fully intact and if you send $100 to the paper, to my attention, I am happy to immediately spill the information.
As noted above, the word that made it into print was a bad one, if you’re not the swearing type. Heck, it was bad even if you are the swearing type.
For those of you familiar with comedian George Carlin’s classic: “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” let me just say, that the word was on the list. Fortunately, George didn’t mention if these words were inappropriate for rural, weekly newspapers. I’m thinking that if such a list exists, this word would certainly be included.
Paying close attention
Even without the aid of any type of guidebook, a number of eagle-eyed readers were extremely quick in pointing out that this controversial term had, indeed, made its way into the News’ pages. A first, I would guess.
Personally, I never saw the word in the paper. Maybe my mind isn’t in the gutter — a problem that apparently plagues a fair number of our readers. Just kidding. I was made aware of this ground-breaking event via an e-mail whose subject line was simply: “Uh-oh.”
My initial reaction, before opening this e-mail, was that a story had gotten into the paper without the “jump” that lets readers finish it on another page. That would hardly be a firs — unlike the message that “The bad word somehow got into the paper.”
I didn’t need to look up the “bad word” in question. I had seen it just the day before — when it mistakenly got sent to the paper as part of a story. I also saw it when I personally removed the offending word from the story in question. In fact, we proceeded to joke about what a disaster that would have been if we hadn’t caught the error. That would have been a real knee-slapper. Ha, ha.
Some readers saw it differently.
There was a nice mix of outrage and humor from the callers who wanted to find out firsthand what kind of paper are we running. Personally, I thought the folks in the “humor” camp were much more fun.
I had the misfortune of running into someone on the street who expressed pure outrage that this word had made its way into print. This fellow screamed at me for about five minutes. I think he may have used all seven of George Carlin’s banned words as he expressed displeasure with this turn of events.
“So, I’m guessing you’re not going to pleased with the centerfold section we’re introducing next week?” I responded.
On the other hand, another elderly reader just shrugged and said, “So what? You see that word at least a dozen times in just about every book you read,” she stated.
Just not in the Catskill Mountain News.
Sorry, but I’m not at liberty to reveal exactly how the naughty word made it into the paper — I’m sworn to secrecy.