Today, the Daily Pilot published a piece by freelance writer Steve Smith in which he takes issue with my Feb. 10 op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times (where I'm a contributing editor) criticizing its bowdlerized edits regarding stories (the passing of former Nixon Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz and new Times owner Sam Zell's f-you to an Orlando Sentinel photographer) where an obscenity is the story. “Contrary to popular belief, neither story is better with the bad language included,” Smith asserts. “What Arellano sees as a behind-the-times (no pun intended) newspaper, I see one that distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack for not printing what everyone else is printing — and setting a standard for my kids.” He also proudly boasts, “To this day, I have no idea what words Zell used, nor can I recall what that dead man said about 31 years ago. And I have no intention of finding out, even though the answer is just a Google away.”
Smith makes it seems as if I argued that the Times should print as many profanities as possible and can't help but take a swipe at your favorite rag, saying the Weekly “often runs foul language in its stories and letters to the editor.” Fuck yeah we do, Steve-o, and what of it? I'll take the Weekly's potty-mouth record over the Pilot's society pages-light coverage any day–but that's besides the point. Fact is, Smith misread my Times piece. Here's my op-ed's thesis:
But it's one thing to publish an unedited Howard Stern rant or print a transcript of the latest Paris Hilton sexcapades; it's quite another when the vulgarity itself is the story.
If Smith cares so much about his kids, he'd click here to find Butz's vulgar remarks and teach the chamaco to do otherwise. Same thing with Zell's f-bomb. His most ridiculous point, however, is his claim that parents are “smart enough to figure out the content on our own without having it shoved in front of us night and day.” Ha! Anyone clever enough to figure out Butz's joke is lying or a fan of H. Millard–so which is it, Steve?