Star quality

In which we ask what the point of obscurity is


What makes a word a rude word?

I’m asking because of something I noticed yesterday. Scanning through the telly listings, I noticed that our local paper* won’t print the name of BBC3 show Tittybangbang. Instead, it was rendered “T***ybangbang”.

Now, I know this isn’t as hypocritical as The Sun, which similarly refuses to print the word “tits” despite featuring photos of topless models in almost every issue. It still strikes me as rather silly and pointless, though. It’s hardly likely to offend anyone, particularly as the paper’s digital telly listings are in tiny, almost unreadable print. It’s lip service to an old-fashioned “morality” in which respectable appearances are more important than anything underneath. Even for ruder rude words, it’s not as if asterisks really do hide anything – you all know what this f***ing sentence says.**

* the fearless Grimsby Telegraph

** it was “this flowing sentence”, of course. No, really. Honest. Would I lie to you?

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