Wednesday 4 December 2013

Too many asterisks: What is 'c***'? (PG)

I saw this review of the new local movie Everybody's Business in the Life! section of The Straits Times today.

The opening sentence is:
How much c*** on the big screen can you take before it gets too much?

When I first read it, I couldn't figure out what “c***” was.

Maybe I have a dirty mind, but my first thought was “cunt”. But then ST wouldn't allow a word like that, even in asterisk form, especially in a movie review where it's not in a quote.

Another four-letter “c” word is “cock”. But ditto above.

The next sentence provided a clue, but it was in the form of another mystery word.
Not enough, going by how sh**ty – pun intended – this is, centred on the antics of an imaginary Ministry Of Toilets.

The extremely awkward sentence construction aside, that's two asterisked words in the first two sentences of the article.

And then there's the inconsistent number of asterisks. How come the four-letter “c***” gets three asterisks whereas the six-letter “sh**ty” gets only two?

At least “sh**ty” was easy to decipher because of the fewer asterisks. So easy, in fact, you wonder why they bothered with the asterisks at all.

But it took me a while to deduce that since “sh**ty” is “shitty”, “c***” must also be faecal-related – “crap”!

I couldn't figure it out at first because I'm sure I had seen the word “crap” in The Straits Times before – sans asterisks. So why censor it here?

The irony is that by unnecessarily censoring “crap”, the paper made me think of even more offensive words.

Speaking of the Ministry Of Toilets, why didn't the film-makers released the movie a few weeks earlier to coincide with World Toilet Day? Imagine the cross-promo opportunities!

What a waste.