Gender and the C-word

May 26, 2021
Posted by Jay Livingston

The C-word is back in the news thanks to a retweet by Rep.Marjorie Taylor Greene.  Greene had likened vaccination and mask policies to the forced wearing of yellow stars by Jews under the Nazis. Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy had said that her comparison was wrong. A Greene supporter came to her defense on Twitter:

Look you moron, nobody supported Israel in their recent conflict with Hamas more than MTG,. Her analogy may not have been perfect but you seriously need to get a grip you feckless c**t. Pelosi is the villain here.

@AsimplePatriot was alluding to Samantha Bee’s use of “feckless cunt” three years ago to describe Ivanka Trump. At the time, I blogged about the different ways that cunt is used in the US and the UK. For Brits, cunt does not explode the conversation the way it does here. In the US, uttering (or tweeting) cunt changes the question from who is a moron to who used that word.

What’s different this time is that an American used it to characterize a man (Kevin McCarthy). As I pointed out in the earlier post, Brits have been calling men cunts for at least a few decades. As an example, I embedded a Monty Python sketch from the 1960s. It’s still funny. (The post is here.)

We Americans have imported some Britishisms. One-off is now common, and I see gobsmacked coming through customs. But I doubt that @AsimplePatriot’s tweet signals the start of a trend towards making cunt less taboo and less gender-specific.*

* I remember a dorm-room discussion long ago, mostly Jewish guys in the room, where someone characterized a girl as a schmuck. “You should never call a girl a schmuck,” said another guy, and after a pause added, “Unless she’s a real schumck.”

No comments: