FYI this is completely untrue.
Actually, I'd say it isn't even a linguistic but a cultural problem. The New Yorker employed a Russian guy to explain his reasoning; he is a sort of Russian hermit. Imagine if Tolstoy went up against a person like Yau. I think there would be mutual disgust and bad feeling towards the literary community at large. Such a thing probably happened here.
Why is it that whenever I read an article by Joel I feel like I'm being talked down to?
As in certain cults it is possible to kill a process if you know its true name. -- Ken Thompson and Dennis M. Ritchie