Time to Retire the R-Word

Mother Jones has joined the ranks of publications that refuse to utter the name of Washington DC’s pro football team. In fact, that’s now what our style guide calls them: “Washington’s pro football team.” Personally, I’d prefer the Victorian era affectation of using initials. I never quite understood why old novels were littered with things like Mr. K—- or Bishop M—–, but why not make use of it anyway? We could refer to Washington’s pro football team as the R—–s. This has the added advantage of automatically giving it the veneer of vulgarity. Dan Snyder’s team would be the R-word, to go along with the N-word and the C-word and all the others.

But here’s a question: Is there a similar movement afoot to change the name of Cleveland’s pro baseball team and Atlanta’s pro baseball team? It’s true that the I-word and the B-word are less offensive than the R-word, but on the other hand, the team logo in Cleveland sure beats Washington for offensiveness. And that hatchet thing in Atlanta is just plain annoying. I know that both those teams have taken some heat for their names, but not as much as Washington. Anyone know if that’s changing?


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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