Artificially dated - this blog did not exist back then.
This has been copied here in revised form.
The New Yorker magazine has removed 'hell' from a caption on a classic cartoon.* It stars pasta.
[I have since lost my copy of the cartoon. It might have been Barsotti's, picturing a piece of Ziti(?) answering a phone. If this was the one, then the caption originally would have been "Fusilli, you crazy bastard! How the hell are you?"]
Perhaps it's funnier without the cursing. Or perhaps the editors think 'hell' is fading from use.
Or maybe something more subtle is happening.
I associate the word 'hell' with the Victorians (roughly: 19th-century England). So I checked out John Fowles' The French Lieutentant's Woman.
Yes, a novel, but word-searchable on Amazon.com.
Within seconds I find that the book contains the word 'heaven' 30 times (in the dialog, mostly) and the word 'hell' only 2 times.
In this quote, Fowles describes a Victorian woman who thinks a lot about hell (but he doesn't have her say the word):
"There would have been a place in the Gestapo for the lady; she had a way of interrogation that would reduce the sturdiest girl to tears in the first five minutes ... Yet among her own class ... she was renowned for her charity ... it had to do with the great secret of Mrs. Poulteney's life. It was a very simple secret. She believed in hell. ... As she lay in her bedroom she reflected on the terrible mathematical doubt that increasingly haunted her: whether the Lord calculated charity by what one had given, or by what one could have afforded to give"