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Pus-sy Galore: The Media Strike Out

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When George Steinbrenner recently slammed Hideki Irabu, he caused trouble for more than his own team. He called his pitcher a "fat, pus-sy toad" -- that middle word clearly meant to convey "pus," as in infections. Throughout the ensuing ado, however, nobody noted the dailies' heroic attempts to get that charming term down on paper. The spellings "pussy" and "pussie," likely to be misread as far more loaded insults, wouldn't work, and copy editors around town were hard-pressed to do better. The Post chose the exquisitely balanced if tough-to-read "pus-ie rhymes with 'fussy'." The Daily News dropped the term from the get-go, except in a couple of columns where it appeared as "pus-sy." The Times went with "pus-sy," too, in its initial article -- but paraphrased the quote, losing the troublesome word, in subsequent mentions. That's the Boss for you: Not even the English language is big enough to accommodate his mouthing-off.


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