Cunt

David Cox at the Guardian is concerned about the use of the word cunt in the film ‘Kickass’ – as in, an eleven-year-old girl in pigtails, armed to the teeth, enters a room full of adults, and says: ‘Lets waste the cunts.’

David is not worried about the eleven-year-old, or violence, or any, really, of the things you might expect him to be worried about. He’s concerned that the word cunt is being devalued. If eleven-year-olds can say it in films, he asks, what force does it have left?

I’ve not seen the film (and could care less about seeing any film with a caped crusader in it, ironic or otherwise, ever again) but the film is not the point. The issue is the word and its status as a swear-word of power. The one word you still cannot say, or write in decent society. Or, supposedly, in film. (although, down the pub, one suspects, there are, even as you read, men finishing a glass who address the assembled company by saying: ‘Right, which one of youse cunts is buying?’)

The question has to be: Does the word’s power reside in its reference to a woman’s sexual parts? I mean we can call someone a dick or a prick, we can ask if they have any balls at all, the phallus is all around us as insult and example, but whatever we do we daren’t say the word c–t.

In fact, if we even want to talk about women’s parts we’re still confined to the extraordinary Latin word vagina. A word which has always seemed to lack appeal. Or fanny. Pussy. It gets worse. Twat.

The story I’ve heard, and I’ll wait to be corrected by linguists on this, is that cunt is the Old English, the Anglo-Saxon word. That during the early years of development of English as a language, when it was considered inferior to French and Latin, the term became pejorative because it was the Anglo-Saxon word.

This is hearsay, I have no practical basis for belief in the story but I like it if only because I like the word cunt. I think it goes to the root of things. It is an earthy word, it’s the word most suited for that wonderful part of a woman, a word that celebrates the delta, the alpha and the omega (as Leonard Cohen might have it) the cradle of the river and the sea.

Unlike David Cox (there’s that phallus again, we’re so proud of our proud cocks) I’m happy for the word to be out there in public use. Let’s take the insult out of it and give it back to the place it belongs.

(It has been recommended to me to include more pictures in my blog but in this case I’ll refrain.) Cox’s article can be found here.

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2 Comments on “Cunt”

  1. a friend Says:

    Wonderful marketing ploy Steven! I would say that approximately half of the 23 853 000 men worldwide who have googled the word ‘cunt’ between 8 o’clock and noon on the 8th of April, hands on the joystick, brains already half-flooded with dopamine would have been redirected to your site: the name ‘Steven Lang’ and the name of some book with ‘Women’ in the title forever fused in their minds with their dopamine rush, just like poor Pavlov’s drooling dogs to their bell.
    If this this doesn’t get you the Booker, then surely nothing will…

    [Bloomsbury Dictionary of Word Origins: the first recorded use of the word ‘Cunt’ was as a medieval Oxford street name – ‘Gropecunt Lane’ – (circa 1230), tragically bowdlerised to ‘Magpie Lane’ in later, more demure years. I’m still scratching my head over the connection. Surely ‘Vagina Lane’ would have been within the bounds of decency and maintained some sense of historical continuity…. ah….(a weary shaking of the head)… the vandalism of developers…

  2. fringe dweller Says:

    Chuckle. My favourite word.


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