Very NSFW and hilarious video above. A reader writes:
When I read your reader's comments on censoring "nigger", I immediately thought of this perspective from Louis C.K., my favorite of favorites (and I know you appreciate him, too).
I sympathize with your gut but also think your reader is right. Louis gets it: You're putting the word in all our heads anyway, so take responsibility for it. Especially when, as in discussions of old literature or discrimination or hateful rants by public figures, the whole point is the power and the violence of those words. When reporters note that so-and-so said "the 'N' word" or when a blog says "n***er", they're not conveying the essence of the story while avoiding the words; they're just making the word float around the air and reverberate in the heads of their audience. No effective censoring is actually taking place.