By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Take the hate-crime attack on Martin and Leticia Valtierra in Collin County a couple weeks ago. The Morning News said burglars had defaced the Valtierra home south of Princeton with a swastika and "a racial epithet toward Hispanics on the wall."
Well, maybe only wordsmiths care about this kind of thing, but the Hispanics weren't on the wall; the epithet was. And epithets can't really be toward anything. Epithets can be directed toward something, but they themselves have no active function...
Oh, forget it.
The point is: What epithet? The News won't tell us. And Buzz has always assumed the Belo Corp., which owns the News, won't tell us, because the Beloans are timid nerdoid Nerf balls.
Wrong! Imagine how thrilled Buzz was last week to pick up a copy of Belo's Spanish-language paper, Al Dia, and see right there on Page One a literal reporting of the epithet in English: "Fuck you beaners."
Starts to make sense, eh? No wonder the Valtierra family is angry, along with Latino leadership in Collin County. Now we get it.
But Buzz was so elated to see this historic breakthrough in Belo journalism that we did a database search of all Belo-owned newspapers to see if the F-bomb had ever appeared in one before. Of the major papers, Buzz found 100 instances where the name of a Belo newspaper has been associated with the word fuck.
But not a one in a Belo paper. All 100 were in other newspapers and on-line publications talking about Belo newspapers. Five were in Salon.com. And, uh, hmm, well look at this: 65 were in the Dallas Observer.
Not all of the Observer instances, by the way, were just the bald word stuck right out there. A few were what grammarians call "closed form compounds," as in Eric Celeste's November 20, 2003, ode to Belo, "Curse of Youth: Two Dallas newspapers are keeping tabs on the little motherfuckers."
By the way, we could have used the expression, "a vulgarism at female progenitors." But that would have been Belo us.