What is this shit doing in my New Yorker?

Did you read this article in the current New Yorker about a philanthropist revitalizing Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park? And did you find it strange when the writer, Philip Gourevitch, used the word “shit” in describing hippos’ important ecological role?

It really caught me off guard. Not that I think it’s inherently inappropriate to use expletives  (fucking obviously), but it’s jarring in a quasi-scientific context. I studied wildlife management and ecology in East Africa, and I don’t remember ever discussing “shit.” (Unless we were talking Typhoid and pit toilets.) Just sayin.

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