Crude Times.


crudenessOnce upon a time, there were public words that were not generally uttered in public. Comedian George Carlin was famous for reciting the seven dirty words that you could not say on television in 1972.

Gradually, we know that swearing and public vulgarity are now out in the open, for anyone to see.

Barnes and Noble, a respected national retailer of books, has a big sign in their window at The Grove advertising a woman who calls herself “E’s Answer Bitch”.

I don’t know who Leslie Gornstein is, nor do I really care, since her affiliation with “E!” is enough to make me not want to watch her or buy her books.

But I wonder about the word “bitch”, a term that many people find to be just as demeaning to woman as “slut” or “c–t”. Why is it funny? And why is it proper and fitting for a chain store to advertise this ugly word in big letters on their front windows when thousands of children pass by here daily? Does a woman calling herself “bitch” make it right?

What if I were to go into this Barnes and Noble and walk up to a female worker and say to her, “Hey, Bitch can you find me a book?” What would her possible reaction be? Would a waiter working in a restaurant in The Grove walk up to a table of old ladies and ask, “Hey you old bitches, are you ready to order?” Of course not. But someone at Barnes and Noble has spent thousands promoting the “E!’s Answer Bitch” and printing posters to hang in the window.

Maybe it is something small or unimportant to get offended about. But I offer this poster as an exhibit to just how crude the times we live in are.

4 thoughts on “Crude Times.

  1. Just wanted to let you know that owing to your photo/commentary on the “Answer Bitch” poster, I and others called and emailed Barnes & Noble to object to this poster being displayed in their window.

    This morning B&N/ The Grove told me that they had removed the poster. Hopefully B&N will think carefully about what kind of marketing materials are acceptable to the public.

    Thanks for bringing this to us in cyberspace.

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  2. I just wanted to follow up that Barnes & Noble removed the “Bitch” sign from its windows.

    Thank you for putting Crude Times on our radar. The power of the Internet is palpable, but people still have to give a damn (oops, censor that!) enough to take action.

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  3. I could not agree with you more. Is there a way I can upload this photo (JPG) to Facebook? I am appalled as you are about the word “Bitch” –and its context —splashed on a poster promoting a book signing. At Barnes & Noble, no less.
    Am asking my friends to call the store, email their District Manager and stop patronizing this store.

    You know, I occasionally take my young kids to the Grove. They can read now. How do I explain this to them— it’s OK for a BOOKSTORE to use demeaning words? This is B&N, it has a huge kids’ section.

    I’m not advocating we live in Pleasantville, but what happened to common decency? It got bitch-slapped.

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  4. I could not agree with you more.
    In fact, I called the store and spoke with the manager, and got the Barnes & Noble District Manager’s email: crm2089@bn.com (Karen Fessler Strack) in order to object to this poster.

    They should get a flurry of phone calls and emails as a result of your post here, which I forwarded to many people as well as on Facebook.

    I take my kids to the Grove from time to time. What does this say about Barnes & Noble, a national book chain ostensibly selling literacy, when they resort to marketing tactics that eclipse decency?

    Still remember George Carlin’s seven words. You STILL can’t say them on network TV or radio. Sandra Tsing Loh got fired for saying the “F” word on KCRW, even though she didn’t intend for it to air.

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