Wherever you look in newspapers and online, asterisks abound. But are they really doing the job they were meant for?
Well, well, well, what a bumper week it has been for asterisks – they’ve been quite wantonly strewn about in the newspapers and online. According to reports, a No 10 text calls Dominic Cummings a “disingenuous little f*cker”. Cummings himself utters a “sh*t”and a “f*ck’” during his select committee appearance (sensational or sour grapes, depending on your taste), while in the normally sedate and well-mannered world of golf, Brooks Koepka, being interviewed on television after the US PGA at Kiawah Island, reacted to a comment from fellow US player Bryson DeChambeau on the best way to play the game with: “I lost my train of thought; hearing that bulls***; f***ing Christ.” (Apparently, these alpha males of the links have a bit of previous.)
The one glaring flaw about asterisks, though, is that they draw your immediate attention, especially in a newspaper, so in attempting to be discreet, you at once highlight the supposedly offensive language. Bit self-defeating.