Geoff Pullum argues that the bleeping of Rod Blagojevich shields him from a full public appreciation of his foul-mouthedness: "somehow you don't get the measure of Rod Blagofuckinjevich's coarseness and contempt for the public by merely learning that he regarded his gubernatorial privilege as valuable; 'a fuckin' valuable thing' gets across more of the flavor of the man." Quite true. On the other hand, Americans have gotten so used to reading between the bleeps that it's still possible to appreciate (and satirize) Blago's coarseness in censored mode. Nightly satirists like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have already taken their shots, and now Saturday Night Live plays on his bleepability. [We had a link to the video here, but it has been killed off by an NBC copyright claim.]
In other news on the bleeping front, the New York Times Ideas blog notes that "bleep" itself is now on the ascendancy:
Looks like “bleep” is now its own bleeping punch line thanks to those expletive-laced wiretaps of the Blagojeviches released this week. John McCain joking on “Letterman” Thursday: “I don’t want to talk about the bleeping campaign. Understand? If you think I’m going to go back to that bleeping situation, then bleep you.” The columnist Jonah Goldberg: “There are so many bleeping things to love about this bleeping-bleep Blagojevich scandal it’s hard to know where to begin.”
Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune riffs on David Letterman's joke that the Illinois governor was charged with "one count of bribery, one count of fraud and one count of Blagojeviching." They suggest the following "working definition" for the new eponym:
Blagojevich (bluh-GOY-uh-vich) noun. a scandalous person —verb 1 to damage or cheapen 2 to complain —adj., adv. [Vulgar Slang] 1 bleeping.
I'm quoted in the Tribune piece as saying that it's unlikely that a verbing of Blagojevich would catch on (unlike, say, Borking) because it's just too hard to say. But I like the idea of "Blagojevich" becoming a stand-in for the usual bleep of taboo avoidance. The Trib quotes one Chicago blogger: "I'm so blagojeviching blagojevich about Blagojevich." Hmm, shades of this classic cinematic moment: