In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the big @!#$ deal with using symbols for curses. Known as the “grawlix” — a term invented by Beetle Bailey cartoonist Mort Walker — this string of symbols is almost as old as comics, extending back to the early 1900s. Comics like The Katzenjammer Kids and Lady Bountiful were truly inventing the art form and, in the process, had to figure out a way to show obscenities to kids. Enter #@!$ like this. The grawlix performs a censorship function while, at the same time, revealing that something naughty is going on.