Topic of the Week: Should I Retire the “Who/What the F*&@” Series Name?

Who the F*&@ Is

On Monday, I posted the latest in my “Who/What the F*&@” series of posts. Usually, this series explores new airlines coming on the scene, but I also on occasion use it to explain random things in the industry. This week’s post on auxiliary power units was a great example.

But every time I put up a post in this series, I inevitably get one or two emails taking me to task for swearing. (Of course, I’m not technically swearing, but it’s pretty easy to figure out the intent.) Personally, I like the name of the series. I think it grabs your attention and sets a lighter tone for the post. But I’m tired of either ignoring or responding to (depending upon the tone) people who complain. So I’m going to put it to a vote. Take the poll below, and I’ll go with the one that wins. This way, if you decide you like the name, my response to those who don’t will just be to cut and paste a link to this poll.

Should I rename my "Who/What the F*&@" series of posts to something more boring?

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97 comments on “Topic of the Week: Should I Retire the “Who/What the F*&@” Series Name?

  1. I voted to change. I’m not particularly offended by the euphemism. I just think it’s a somewhat tacky title without being funny enough to justify the tackiness.

  2. I think it’s just dated. It’s one of those things your kids would be embarrassed to hear you say, not because you are swearing but because it’s something probably associated to the ‘what’s up bro’ meathead white guys hanging out on the Jersey shore.

    1. For clarification the cooler thing would be to just write WTF…although even that will probably date you as an older person trying to be hip.

  3. Just delete the F and you end up with “What the [confusion].” Basically the same meaning without making the intended word obvious.

  4. The old ‘Im offended s%#^’. Every one gets offended these days. Whatever happened to having a thick skin and if you really dont like something then dont watch/read/listen.
    Keep humour alive.

  5. I’m not particularly offended by it, but it does lack a bit of professionalism. I guess it is what image you are trying to project; the owner of a serious business or a blogger tying to be weakly clever.

  6. Actually, the trend now is to say “Dafuq”. As in, “Dafuq is that?”

    I’m not offended either. But as the site has evolved I’d default for a professional title, for the first and other solid reasons stated above.

  7. Wow are people so bored with their life they have to comment on the random symbols of F*&@” that if their baby or cat hit those keys would think it was cute and be posting photos of it all over the internet?

    Brett you’re a grown married man with children and it’s your blog so you do what ever your wife says to do :-)

  8. I come here for the color commentary… The tag lines and MS paint/photoshopped pictures are a part of that. If you want a 100% professional no personality site, there are hundreds for options for you.

  9. Absolutely do not change the title. It’s your series, and if you like it, you should keep it. If someone has a problem with the title, it is their choice to read or not read your blog.

    Personally, I like the title and feel anyone who wants it changed because it’s inappropriate, unprofessional, or makes them feel uncomfortable needs to relax and appreciate that they don’t have any actual problems in their life to complain about.

  10. Who/What the F*&@ is wrong with people these days! I say F*&@ them all and keep it.

    Fellow Colonials have to stick together!

  11. So where the (bleep) do you vote? All I saw were the current results.

    I’d be inclined to vote not to change it, if I could just figure out where the (bleep) to do it.

  12. As far as I’m concerned, “Who/What the F*&@” is fine. But …

    One way around the “controversy’ may be something like “Who/What the #*@%”. That way, the “bleeped” word could be anything from “heck” to whatever people wish to insert.

    Then, there’s always the Nixon tactic, “Who/What the (expletive deleted)”.

  13. No issue with me — I’d prefer something different but am not offended. Could always go with “Huh, Really?”

  14. I honestly don’t mind, and it is in the spirit (tone) of your blog.

    That said, “What/Why the heck…” or “What/Why on earth…” or something similar might work, and would probably still convey a similar tone while sounding a little more professional.

    I would, however, like to see a lot more of these series, as stuff like this is some of my favorite aviation stuff to learn about. I’d love to see similar articles on landing gear, or engine maintenance and replacement, or even baggage handling, and I’m sure that some of your friends at the airlines would give you enough access the next time you’re there for a media day to let you write an article on those topics… I doubt an airline would turn down a chance to show off how good their maintenance is and to brag about it, for example.

    “What the heck does a X [caterer, mechanic, ticket agent, etc] do?” would also make a great series, maybe if you could do it with guest posts or by following a worker for a day.

  15. I often use “What th…?!&@$?!” with no F so as not to offend / imply. Good for all ages / ethnicities. (Have had one complaint from ? & the Mysterians, but what th…?!$&@?!)

  16. I don’t see the link to vote, but if I could vote, I’d vote to change it. Yes, we all know what it stands for, and probably use the word, but as someone who has a business tied to your blog, I’d rather risk being on the tame side of language rather than offend a possible customer. Sometimes you get more with honey than vinegar :-) (just my very humble 2 cents). I’ll continue to read no matter what the title is!

  17. Why ask the reader what they think about such trivial matters and/or minutia? It’s not like they’re paying for a subscription to your FREE expert blog/newsletter as well as your experience, wisdom and expertise. This blog is your voice, your art as well as your outlet…plus it’s way of publicizing Cranky Concierge. Sure, some reader suggestions as to ideas or topics for future posts are worthwhile…however, you being concerned about what a reader thinks about the title of a series of your posts is ridiculous.

    1. Daryl-Atlanta – I ask because I’m tired of getting emails about it every time I use it. Now, assuming the current support for keeping the name continues, I can just auto-reply with a link to the poll.

  18. I guess my mind is just not awake yet, but I can’t figure out how to vote. So I shall vote here….no. Don’t change it. You’re not swearing. You’re being snarky. That’s what you do.

  19. It is your site. Complainers don’t have to read it. You should please yourself. You give great advice so say what you feel

  20. F*&@ ’em if they can’t take a joke.

    Leave it. If it seems dated it’s because no one else is doing this anymore. Which is a shame. And it sets you apart. Cheeky, spirited and memorable. It’s your brand.

    I bet a lot of people bugged Richard to change the Virgin name too. F*&@ them too.

  21. I like the tone of the series, light and feisty.
    We need such independent commentary on a calcified and conservative industry.

  22. I am hardly offended, but it is not profesional, and does not befit the the often good information that you impart. If I could find the link i would vote NO.

  23. This is the internets – if someone is offended by that, they shouldn’t really have an internet connected PC to begin with. Eff ’em.

  24. I can’t find the poll either. I suspect those 8 votes are fakes, like seeding the tip jar; reminiscent of those polls Chris Elliott does (or used to do – I don’t know, I stopped following him after tiring of his cheap journalistic tricks – don’t have to worry about that with Cranky). But the comments are far more entertaining than the post – keep ’em coming :)

  25. for fuck’s sake, ppl need to stop being offended by stuff they don’t like on the internet. We need to stop trying to “conform” to some foolishly conceived “acceptable” norms. Write what you want and title it as such. I’m guess that’s probably why you started a blog in the 1st place eh? For all those fools offended by the word “fuck”, clearly you’ve never heard of rap music have you?

  26. Gareth, I think the only people who wanted Richard to change the name were the IT guys who had to deal with all the e-mail that got snagged by spam filters because they contained the word “virgin.”

    As for the WTF issue, WTF? People need to get a life. (I do prefer the initials to all the %^#*$^.)

  27. Meh. Ambivalent. My internal soundtrack plays Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” all the time, so nothing bugs me much.

    From a branding perspective…Cranky Flier is named CRANKY for a reason. It’s a part of your brand. Your voice. Your tone.

    That said, I’ve known (and adored) you for ten years now, and I’ve seen your curmudgeony self soften over time. You’re still a cranky curmudgeon, but less so than ten years ago. So, A) Why do your readers follow you? Your tone? Content? Both? Other? B) Why do you write? For you? Your readers? Other?

    Your authentic self, both ten years ago and today, doesn’t follow rules. I’ll bet that is both an asset and a derailer, depending on the situation. I’d love to see you remain your authentic self, whomever that is today.

    Hugs to you and KCS from Chicago-
    C$

    1. C$ – Soften? Uh oh, time to cranky up the crankiness. Who wants a Cranky Jackass award?

      I think my tone has probably softened somewhat because there are fewer airlines doing fewer stupid things today than in the past. (And of course, my view of what’s stupid often goes against what commenters will say here. That’s part of the fun.)

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time!

  28. Keep it. Also, some of these comments have used the F word. Better to have just said FORBIDEN -USE OF-CARNAL-KNOWLEDGE!

  29. Hugh Jackman, on last Sunday evening’s Tony Awards, said he received a telegram from Neil Patrick Harris after Jackman and not Harris was selected to M.C. the show and the telegram said “WTF”. Jackman said he thought it was so nice of Harris to say “Wow, That’s Fantasic”. But, I digress. It doesn’t bother me. That’s the way the world speaks these days, or at least, thinks these days. Might as well get it out there in black and white.

  30. Keep it the way it is!!!!!! I love it. Some people have virgin ears….don’t read it then PLEASE KEEP IT THE WAY IT IS..I VOTE NO

  31. As others have stated, I can’t see the embedded poll, maybe it doesn’t show on Chrome browser but my vote is to change it.

  32. I’m not sure what the voting problem is here. I can see the poll myself and there are now a few more votes than before, so somebody is seeing this. Next time I try this, I’ll dust off a new polling tool. But for now, if you can’t see it, just write it in the comments.

  33. As research, I pasted the address into internet explorer and no poll there either.
    An additional comment about trends, I seem to hear more “What the what?’ today also.

  34. As research, I pasted the address into firefox and no poll there either.
    also seem to get a connection error at times no matter what browser when posting.

  35. I would say change it. It’s unprofessional and makes you look like a child, and damages the credibility of your blog. I would think twice about trusting information on a site with such language on it.

  36. The poll question is also framed in a rather biased way that seems intended to elicit a “no” response. The question says “something more boring”, implying that all other options are inferior, and the “Yes” option is condescending and insulting to those who choose it.

    If you’re going to have a poll, at least make it unbiased and fairly worded.

    1. There is nothing humorous about the expletive you disguise in the title. This vulgar word is permeating our society so much that my children, as well as yours must listen to adults using the F word not just in the presence of adults but everywhere. I am sure some students follow you excellent blog. Please clean up your act.

      1. #%&ing ridiculous. Perhaps the question is, why does your mind go to the F word? Why couldn’t it be “farm” “flap” “fart” or “flip”? Yes. Let’s all pretend there are no bad words in the world. Like forbidding them anything, your kids will delight in using the word all the more.

  37. I can’t see the voting buttons, but my vote is NO, don’t change it. To me, the Who the/What the F*** series is consistent with the general tone of your blog – knowledgeable, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously and with a touch of, ahem, crankiness. Plus, for once, I’d like to see someone stand up for themselves and stick it to political correctness.

  38. It says up at the top of the page that there are 62 responses, but I can only see 8 of them. I think we broke your website.

  39. You could change the name to “What the Fact is…”. Then you’d only have to put with complaints from the grammar police.

  40. Don’t change the name. There will always be someone who doesn’t like whatever title you choose. In my opinion it’s not insulting, it’s not demeaning, it’s not causing harm to anyone. I know you don’t want to lose readers, but you’ll never please them all.

  41. I can’t see the buttons to vote – all I see are the results of 13 votes cast. However, if I could vote I’d vote for you to change the name. I agree that you’re not actually cussing, but I also agree that it’s very clear what the word is meant to be. Since that word is very offensive to me, I believe that it has no place in a professional website. I realize that it has become almost ubiquitous in our society, but that doesn’t make it right. I cringe whenever I hear people throwing it around like it was just another word. It isn’t. My mother once told me that if I couldn’t say what I wanted to say without the use of cuss words, then I either needed to not say it or I needed to work on my vocabulary. I agree, and think that with your intelligence and ability to write, you can certainly come up with a creative name that doesn’t need to contain even the indication of an offensive word.

  42. Keep the “name”. Am so sick of those that make something out of nothing just for their own righteousness. We are all perfectly capable of interpreting this name however WE want.

  43. I read your request to vote on the last post that offended some people. I could not find the link to reply so I will submit it here. I think you should leave it the way you wrote it. It’s your decision and I don’t think you should be constrained by your readers.

  44. must be something wrong with the blog today. shows 75 responses and I’ve gotten a lot of emails with them, but not many show in the blog.

    I was the #4 vote this morning when I left a responses and that doesn’t show.

  45. Jim’s original post has merit – was the question unbiased, or, as tharanga indirectly suggests, was the question, like CF, irreverent, humorous, and snarky?

    I am the CF reader who, this time, questioned, as fellow parents, use of the word. When the comment was sent, also in mind was f***gin, which is used in CF posts. While technically not swearing this word has the same clear intent.

    Some prefer to avoid the word. Voting and replies suggest many are not concerned.

    Thanks CF for the post.

  46. I suspect you are trying to be ‘au courant’ with the foul language, but using it simply demonstrates a lack of language. This is a great communication piece; I hate to see you cheapen it with non-professional verbiage. Surely you are clever enough to come up with something wittier, but worthy of a Pultizer Prize, not bird cage newsprint.

  47. Just call it “What The?”. Simple but gets the point across.

    I like the series, just refine the name slightly.

  48. Do you know the percentage of times I am going through Security Theatre and I ask myself “What the F*&@”? About 150% of the f-ing time. Keep it and ignore the politically correct web whiners. If they whine again make them fly the new American A321 in the back of coach!

  49. It’s *Cranky* Flier, not Cheerful Flyer … I say keep it!

    For what it’s worth, I couldn’t vote but can see the results: Chrome, Win 7, Adblock (with non-intrusive ads allowed)

  50. I can’t believe all the Mrs. Grundys and Dale Carnegie automotons who find this offensive and unprofessional. First of all, the site is called “The Cranky Flier.” Second of all, if you want personality-free writing, go read government reports. Thirdly, in my experience, a lot more gets done in business and communication in general without prudery and rigidity–respect is essential, but after an author’s tone is established–such as between CF and readers attuned to his voice–it’s up to the audience to read or not or to read. It’s not as though you’re paying for the CF.

  51. Leave it as is. The few folks that are offended can use the power of their finger to click on to some other site. That is the beauty of the Internet.

  52. The poll doesnt work in any browser for me.

    Win7 64-bit Pro
    Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE. Just shows the results, never been able to vote.

  53. Poll results, but not the poll itself, show up on my iPad running iOS 7.

    If you’re going to retire this title in the name of professionalism, are you also going to retire the MSPaint & Included-in-PowerPoint-for-free clip-art graphics?

    1. Darkwater – Absolutely not. And the results are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the column name as well. So nothing is changing.

  54. Looks like my vote for ‘good taste’ and ‘better creativity’ is losing. Guess CF is happy to be a small local publication edited by sophomores. I thoroughly enjoy reading CF and the maturity of the writing; I’ll continue to read it, but won’t pass it along to the dozen or so friends b/c it also reflects on me. “With age comes wisdom.”

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