Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Holy Fsck! NYT Publishes Photo Today With Famous Geek Four-Letter Obscenity, Clearly Visible.

Who the fsck is responsible for the dirty joke someone slipped in the NYT today?

In the photo that ran with Jim Dwyer's column today about NYU geeks competing with Facebook, a series of words appear along the left-hand side, written on a blackboard.

One of them, clearly visible to readers and repeated twice, is the word FSCK, a computer code word that technically means "file system check," but has become well-known to geeks as a convenient substitute for the word more commonly spelled as FUCK.

There's no question that someone intended for the word to be read as an obscenity, given the list of words that preceded it:


Hmmm...any hidden meanings there?

Also, Wikipedia entries for both FSCK and FUCK note the use of the word as a profanity, and is given as the second definition for the word at

The photo, by David Goldman, appears in the print edition with the words clearly visible; online, the photo has been cropped at some point today to remove the offending words. But thanks to the website, which first noticed the joke, we still have access to the original photo, above.

The NYT notoriously hates to let that word slip into print -- the last time we could find it in the paper was as part of the Starr Report, in September of 1998 -- so we're happy to see it again. About fscking time!


Anonymous said...

I;m pretty sure "ouch" just got cut off. "touch" is a standard unix command that goes nicely with the rest of the list.

Anonymous said...

well, wait, what does it say on the laptop screen?

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, dude, chill out. It's just a normal unix command that's used to keep the storage drives in shape. You're clearly trying to force a reading into this when there's no reading to be had. From a unix user's perspective, it's clear that the photographer just wanted 1337 crap up on the board to make the subjects look like true HAX0RS!!1!

Anonymous said...

As others are mentioning; this is normal linux/unix/solaris (whatever flavor) stuff. These names have been around for decades now..... Nothing real here.

Anonymous said...

This is, yes, an old unix joke. But it is decidedly not a legit command sequence. Or it is, but a dumb one. That you'd only enter in that order to make a joke about sex.