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The "F word" in the IDS

By Scott Tibbs, January 27, 2006

Indiana University alumnus Andrew Petrofsky takes the Indiana Daily Student to task in his January 26 letter to the editor for printing the "F word" on the front page of the newspaper. He calls for an apology from the IDS and pledges to contact the president of the university.

This isn't the first time the IDS has used the "F word", nor is it the first time this month: an article in the January 19 edition also dropped the F Bomb. This is not new. The IDS also published a how-to guide on anal sex on the opinion page in the late 1990's.

I support the Indiana Daily Student's freedom of the press. If they feel it necessary to quote an IU player's use of a profanity, they should be free to do so. Nonetheless, the paper should avoid using that word for two reasons. First, it is unprofessional and hurts the newspaper's image. Second, it is not only students who read the IDS. The paper is distributed in newspaper boxes around downtown. Many families with children would not want their children reading such language in the newspaper.

I wrote an opinion column in 1998 describing the reactions of abortion-rights supporters to a pro-life demonstration. I wrote that supporters of abortion rights had screamed "f*** you" at the pro-lifers, but was shocked when I picked up the edition containing my column to see that my censored version had been replaced with the actual word by a copy editor. This was uncalled for, and is not what I wanted in my column.

In the same line of logic, there was no reason Sean Kline's use of the "F word" needed to be printed verbatim. The newspaper could have easily replaced it with "f***" and everyone would have understood what Kline was saying. Most people do not find the use of the "F word" in a student newspaper to be groundbreaking, courageous or impressive. They see it as childish.