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Archive for October, 2010

Have you noticed the ascendance of the asterisk in the spelling of certain words in the American version of the English language?

If you have, it isn’t surprising. The trend has crept up on us until today you may read a passage in a newspaper with so many asterisks in it that the story will probably be old news by the time you successfully decipher a word or whole phrase composed of nothing but asterisks.

The latest entry in the Asterisk Lexicon is wh***, a spelling that I saw roll across the television screen in connection with a story about Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.

At first, I thought the word in question signified “white.” But I was wrong. Wh*** in this instance stood for “whore,” a word that I always thought was perfectly acceptable. I mean, a word used in Jimmy Stewart’s movie Best Little Whore House in Texas has got to be legitimate.

Not to mention the series Lonesome Dove in which “whore” was tossed around as if it were a natural part of the Texas landscape. In fact, Diane Lane, who played a tenderhearted lady of the night, was widely known as “The Whore with the Heart of Gold.”

Thus, not only did I think whore was a perfectly legitimate expression, an associate of Jerry Brown thought so, too. This associate recently referred to Meg Whitman as a “whore,” sans asterisk in the spoken version. Immediately, the well known s**t h*t t*e f*n, and the associate was forced to issue an apology

But the damage had been done. Words once spoken cannot be retrieved. If the hullabaloo continues, Hollywood may be forced to rewrite some movie titles.

Imagine: The Best Little Whore House in T***s.

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