The Allusionist: 4. Detonating the C-Bomb
February 12, 2015 7:08 AM - Subscribe

WARNING: this episode contains lots of swearing and words which some of you may find offensive. If, however, you love offensive words, you will enjoy this episode, which is all about how the C-word doesn't deserve to be the pariah of cusses. Warning, swear words ahead!

Helen is trying to figure out why 'cunt' is considered to be a ruder swear word than others like 'twat' which mean the same thing, or male equivalents like 'dick' and 'knob'. A few hundred years ago, cunt was sufficiently not-rude that there were streets named Gropecunt Lane in most of Britain's major market towns; yet now, it is top tier of the hierarchy of offensiveness. But maybe in another few hundred years, it will have been supplanted by 'swear word' or 'Jeff'.

Show notes available here for additional reading. Mailchimp Randomly Selected Word Of The Day: "maskinonge"
posted by jazon (7 comments total)
There's just something jolly about hearing British people swear!
posted by jazon at 7:08 AM on February 12, 2015

This is what I will point people to when they insist that cunt is barely even a swear word in England. I mean, yeah, I guess among a certain cheeky crowd it's just what you call your mates. But, for a lot of people, it's still the Big One of cuss words.
posted by maxsparber at 9:59 AM on February 12, 2015

This one seemed to come alive a lot more than the previous episodes; probably because of the swearing? The swearword montage at the beginning was delightful. Also: cockwipe; dicksponge.

The TV A-list/B-list/C-lists of swearwords was fascinating: holy God, compare his show's 40+ fucks in 30+ minutes with Breaking Bad struggling to get a few muted-out fucks per season on AMC.

I guess among a certain cheeky crowd it's just what you call your mates. But, for a lot of people, it's still the Big One of cuss words.

Yes, of course it is, and it's always been about context: sweary banter between mates is one context, but that certainly doesn't defuse cunt's nuclear-level offensiveness in other contexts. The episode touched on that, I think, by noting that it'd always be the swearword that you couldn't use in front of your parents.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:50 PM on February 12, 2015

Also: cockwipe; dicksponge.

Which is to say: I liked the Jane Garvey bit and it was hugely fun to hear a Radio 4 presenter swearing like a trooper.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:56 PM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best episode yet!
posted by ocherdraco at 6:29 PM on February 16, 2015

I liked this podcast a lot until this episode. Now I love this podcast.

In historical novels, they use "cunny" a lot -- I assume it's where at the time they would have used "cunt" but would now be distracting?
posted by jeather at 8:39 AM on February 19, 2015

No, I think it's like a pet name for cunt. I think both are valid, existing words, but historical novels might use the pet name one more often in the context of intimate relationships to help imply that intimacy.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:17 PM on February 19, 2015

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