This week a reader took issue with staff writer Jonathan Kaminsky's using the word "fuck" in a post (in a direct quote), but using "n*****" to reference the word "nigger" (also in a direct quote).
Why did he do this? Would other writers do the same?
The post in question was a story about Darryl James Swanson, a 54-year-old Portland man who left dozens of rambling voice mails for folks like the Associated Press and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle about wanting to kill President Obama.
Swanson was finally arrested for making the threats this week after several warnings from the Secret Service.
Here's the paragraph in which Kaminsky references one of Swanson's messages:
In that message, Swanson allegedly went on to call himself "the angel of Revelations 18.1," and concluded on a racial note, stating of the president that "You can burn those ashes till they are fucking white, but never get the n***** out of the black-assed fucking thieving bastard fuck of a n*****."
Now here's the comment from Nseatown:
You all wrote fuck, but not nigger? I'm not a fan of the word or its use but lets not give up one kind of censorship for another.
So why avoid using a racial slur, but still use a swear word--even in a direct quote?
"It's a personal preference," says Kaminsky. "There are certain words that I'd rather not use even in a quote. I think people know what the word is."
Opinions vary around the newsroom here at Seattle Weekly. Staff Writer Keegan Hamilton says he'd use the word, provided it was a direct quote. "Would you block out any other word?" Hamilton asks rhetorically.
Staffer Erin Thompson says she wouldn't use the word, no matter the circumstance.
But Weekly Managing Editor Caleb Hannan, Music Editor Chris Kornelis, and Editor-in-Chief Mike Seely all side with Hamilton.
"It's a case-by-case basis," says Seely. "But if I'm quoting directly, I'll definitely use the word."