'That (woman) shot me'

Dateline: Fri 06 Nov 2009

Oh, bullshit.

So did anyone else catch the story by Indianapolis Star reporter John Tuohy today, "Neighbors help police nab slaying suspect"? It was about a group of Eastside residents friendly with Gregory Ray, 33, who was found fatally shot on a couch Saturday morning. The neighbors were instrumental in the arrest of the suspect in Ray's slaying, April McKenny, 20.

Beyond the obvious tragedy and waste of human life, here's what was interesting, journalistically.

"'That (woman) shot me,' the victim told a friend, according to the police report as quoted by Tuohy. This was said when the poor guy was lying in the yard, before a friend carried him inside to die on the sofa. (He was shot in the abdomen).

Now let's get real. We all know that Ray did not say "that woman" but more than likely used the b---- word or even the c--- word or some crude term. Why not? Wouldn't you? You probably wouldn't say, "That woman shot me," either.

Nor, I imagine, did the police officer who took the report courteously clean up the language.

Of course, the Star, being a family newspaper -- or whatever -- had to bring out its scrub brushes and soap.

Which brought up an old bone I've always picked with newspapers; many times, when I was out on a story, interviewing people, and after the account was in print, I'd come home and tell Guy or the kids or a friend all the juicy details -- meaning, the stuff that never made the paper.

Guy always recalls the time I told him about talking with a farmer, who said, of his wife and her castration of their young chicks, "She cuts their little peckers off."

But of course, that would never have made the, ahem, cut.

I could go on -- and on -- but if you ever worked  on a paper, I'm sure you have your own stories of what had to be left out for the sake of decorum.

Lay it out there, if you choose...and I'll also be thinking of more choice but unprintable tidbits -- which, incidentally, is one reason newspapers are, for the most part, often dull. You can't print the good stuff....and certainly, not the bad stuff, either. (Although the Wall Street Journal would occasionally offer a disclaimer: "Note to sensitive readers...this would be a good place to stop reading...")

Oh, bullshit.



StarStruck [unverified] said:

I'm all for decorum, or at least dashing out the b---s--- words. There's enough "anything goes" on the Internet and in other publications that kids can read. No matter how it's said, the point got across about the perp.

2009-11-06 15:54:12

ruthholl [Member] said:

OK, I will buy that. But how about the general premise: that often the most interesting tidbits or facts get left out of stories?
I know ... I need to come up with more examples.

2009-11-06 16:37:32

OINK [Member] said:

Recall Earl Butz, Nixon's Sect'y of Agriculture, who was reported to have told a joke about black folks wanting commodious sex, comfortable shoes, and a heated bathroom?

In those pre-Interweb days, you had to read Rolling Stone to find out he'd really said, "tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit."

2009-11-06 17:23:00

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I know a guy - now deceased (may he rest in peace) who was shot during the Kent State massacre in 1970 when National Guardsmen opened fire on unarmed students at Kent State who were protesting another massacre (the Vietnam War).

This guy told the media at the time; "I got shot in the ass."

But the international media reports were that he got shot "in the lower part of his back."

Like you said, Ruth, bovine feces.

2009-11-06 17:33:56

StarStruck [unverified] said:


I think Butz stole that one from Hunter S. Thompson. The correct quote is "loose shoes, tight pussy and a warm place to shit." It also became a song.

2009-11-06 18:00:56

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

I laughed so hard at Earl Butz's comments...I'd completely forgotten them.

A former neighbor of mine had a daughter married a gentleman whose last name was Tightpouse. No I'm not kidding. I'm sure something got butchered in the translation from French or Creole or something. But the poor gentleman's middle name was "Dickens," a family name.

The wedding didn't writer refused to use his middle name. The real story was bad enough. The poor bride's full name was Imajean, and she commonly went by the first part of that name.

I'm told the names made the rounds with good humor. The mother of the bride, who told me the story, laughed so hard when she told it that her eyes watered up.

The wedding was 20 or so years ago. Poor Ima divorced "the ugly bastard," as her mother called him, and married a common Joe with a less-uh...unfortunate last name.

And so it goes.

2009-11-06 18:40:00

OINK [Member] said:

I remember that Rolling Stone ran a follow up article on how the story was reported in the nation's newspapers. I believe that only one small paper (in Ohio?) actually grew a pair and printed the quote uncensored.

The funniest was the paper that offered a phone number for readers to call and hear the exact quote -- they wouldn't print it. I wonder if they had it on a recording, or if some poor slob had to read it over and over???

Some of you copy editor wage slaves probably remember the full story?

2009-11-06 19:09:40

ruthholl [Member] said:

OK, I thought of another example. This is a little different, in that I tried to use it, but the editor police shot me down.
A judge in Indy -- woman, GOP, tough as nails -- once said during an interview (she was hot on whatever the subject was) that "so-and-so Tony Kiritsis'd" an individual. That was a reference to Kiritsis taking a man hostage at gunpoint (shotgun to the neck). Not a pretty moment in Indianapolis, but it happened, and for years, Tony Kiritsis -- after he got out of the institution -- was a thorn in the side for media and others; he was easily set off and frequently made angry, belligerent phone calls.
Anyhow, an editor killed the comment on the grounds it was insensitive or something. I thought the judge had spoken her mind and had nailed a sort of bullying-bordering-on-criminal behavior....
But it never made it into print.
Earl Butz, what a blast from the past. And how great of Rolling Stone to print it...
All other comments here, also funny and interesting. I think I will name my next cat Tightpouse!

2009-11-06 19:26:35

news junkie [Member] said:

Just don't go postal.

2009-11-06 19:41:36

indykjsharp [Member] said:

Rock on, Andrew. Ruth can say "bullshit" on her blog!

2009-11-06 20:12:13

hendy [Member] said:

Hey, I had two juicy column paragraphs whacked out of my IBJ column a coupla weeks ago.

Interestingly, a certain rabbi wrote me and let me know that I'd missed these juicy facts on the subject-- the ones that were cut out of the column.

Of course the copy fit the letting.... so what is a writer to do? And I promise, there was no swearing.

2009-11-06 21:24:30

Michael Ehret [unverified] said:

OK, this is somewhat minor compared to the others, but remember the "30 Days of May" series we did each year? We write about everything Speedway related, right?

The first year I got assigned to do one of those, I was also writing obits in the morning, so I wondered how many 500 drivers who died in the race had their services at Conkle Speedway Funeral Home -- a block or two from the track. Here is my lead that everyone loved, but no one would run: "Just a skidmark away from the finish line..."

It still makes me laugh. Guess I'm warped.

2009-11-07 08:07:53

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I've been thinking all of this over and generally I agree with what Starstruck said about using the dashes.

That way, adults can figure it out and there is at least a bit of difficulty for a child to figure it out.

We need (in my opinion) to protect children from the growing "edginess" and crassness (is that a word?) in our culture. Children are exposed to so much at such an early age these days.

I don't think I'm a prude, but if you want to call me that, it's okay.

I'm also a hypocrite, because I used the word a-- in a previous post here last night. But that was before I did my thinking on it today.

2009-11-07 12:56:07

Rita Rose [unverified] said:

Ironically, I had the language dilemma today when I posted my blog about Sharon Osbourne dissing Susan Boyle's looks. I opted for dashing out "ass," a not-too-offensive word, and using (expletive) for "asshole" and "fucking." Here's the link:

2009-11-09 08:42:26

BufordCColtrane [unverified] said:

Hey, I had two juicy column paragraphs whacked out of my IBJ column a coupla weeks ago.

"Interestingly, a certain rabbi wrote me and let me know that I'd missed these juicy facts on the subject-- the ones that were cut out of the column.

Of course the copy fit the letting.... so what is a writer to do? And I promise, there was no swearing."

The IBJ needs, as goofy Dan Rather would say, 'COURAGE!," in allowing for bolder writing. It's milquetoaste to a fault, in contrast to its bold owner, Mickey M. Wish the editors would pass some gas and quit being such prisses. Readers will reward good writing.

2009-11-10 17:07:01

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