The other night I was accused of being the Impact contributor with the most cunts. This can’t have been a reference to my prowess with women. In fact the point was that some of my more enthusiastic articles occasionally go off into the forest of hyperbole and wind up looking like I have gone out of my way to crowbar in ‘the most offensive word in the English language’.
I can only plead guilty. There have been numerous instances where only a well-placed cunt can give vent to whatever gripe I am indulging in. And, unlike one of my predecessors, I don’t have a policy of editing out the said cunts when reading them in the work of others. So am I an unstoppable cretin? Should I be made to put down my pen? If the answer is yes then it’s not because of my high cunt-count.
I’m sorry but I am going to have to justify myself on this one. The most offensive word in the English language? Why? A friend recently suggested that it was offensive because it made an insult out of vaginas and that was unacceptable. I don’t hold with this explanation (nobody strongly objects to being called a fanny and even the closest of my friends call me a dick or cock) but it is certainly interesting.
I don’t know why it is such an offensive word. Boringly I would guess that it’s almost 100% convention. Each expletive we use has evolved its rudeness and your mum probably used many of those historically thought obscene when you last phoned home. Far more offensive is the use of the word ‘gay’ in its latest incarnation. I don’t mean it’s offensive to be called gay. I mean it is offensive to hijack an entire sexual orientation and use it as a put down. I don’t think Chris Moyles would be likely to put in an appearance on tomorrow’s Radio if he had called someone a cunt (for the record I think he is one). However the BBC will happily laugh off his use of ‘gay’ because it means the ignorant thug is somehow with-it and up on how the youth of today talk. Well kids also smoke fags they have found on the floor and shag each other round the bag of bus shelters but you wouldn’t catch Moyles doing any of those…OK bad example.
I can already hear the self-righteous retorts about the tyranny of Political Correctness but they are categorically wrong. I don’t see the same bunch standing up for my right to call someone a cunt and yet in doing so I don’t contribute to anything like the same insipid shift in shared meaning as those who turn ‘gay’ into an insult. We all slip into saying something is gay when we mean it is bad but each time we do so we entrench this foul idea that there is somehow something untoward or unpleasant about homosexuality. There is one way to stop this and that is to make it clear that to bandy round ‘gay’ as an insult is inappropriate and cruel. This is not thought control or sinister Orwellian restriction. It is a call for more measured and compassionate use of language. That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, it just means not at the expense of large sections of the community. Got that you cunts?