Strong language warning

I don’t mean the “b” word. Whatever that is. Bottom? Buttocks? Bosom?


I mean the rude word, rudest of them all. If you don’t like rude words then stop now. I’ve placed a picture of a kitten below just in case you’ve got a big screen and you accidentally open up something offensive.


Because I’m talking about the Mother of All Rude Words (pun intended), the rudest of the rude.


When I was growing up in Britain, just after the invention of Jethro Tull’s seed drill and Mr Crapper’s porcelain water chair, we had a thing called “the watershed”. The watershed was a time, 9 pm, prior to which no TV channel would broadcast a show that might be deemed to contain (assume the voice of the SBS announcer) strong language or sexual themes. (A quick Google tells me that it’s still there, though now fighting a rearguard action against the Internet and Christina Aquilera.)

I was quite surprised when I first came to Australia at how many words that I considered “rude”, or post-watershed material, were readily bandied about on Australian radio at all times of the day. But whilst all kinds of formerly rude words have entered regular radio usage, there is still one word that maintains its taboo status.


Why so? Well, better minds than mine have attempted to tackle this thorny question. Funnier minds too, if Canadian writer Bill Casselman‘s anything to go by. (I do like the idea of a plant called “twatwort”.) But there is something really jarring about seeing that word writ large.


Often angrily so too. I mean, what on earth does this actually mean?


What is the antidote to all these public cunts? It could be this:


Or this:


Interesting: no one writes “cock” or “knob”, they draw it. No one draws “cunt”, they write it. Theories, on a postcard, to the usual address.

2 Responses to Strong language warning

  1. Paul says:

    Hmmm… I think the penis drawings are more for shock value, and of course to a certain mind-set, there is the ‘heh heh heh I’m being dirty’ side of it.
    Using the word cunt? Judging from your examples here, someone has an anger problem. And why no graffito cunts? Easy. Try this experiment. Grab some coloured pencils and white paper. Quickly draw a vagina. Doesn’t look like one, does it? (Assuming the oh-so extensive experience of the modern middle-aged male)
    Imagine trying to do this with spraypaint, in bad conditions, on concrete.
    Also, the people doing the actual painting probably haven’t seen one outside of or a peek at Dads’ Penthouse.
    Ah-ha! Another theory springs to mind. Someone has been graffing over your work. Yours, naturally, is the best in the world. You need to warn them off, but you don’t know their name. You do, however, know what they are. So fuck off, cunt.
    The weird thing is, a cunt is such a delightful thing, warm and inviting, and yet it is used as the worst insult.
    Strange, that.

    • Mark MacLean says:

      I get your point about a quick sketch not “looking like” a vagina, but then those drawings don’t look much like my willy either!

      But we recognise the representation of a penis so readily. If people were to have drawn labia or vaginas on walls over many generations I’m sure some kind of agreed symbol would have emerged, probably something far removed from the medical textbooks (or Dad’s Penthouse – and, hey, that ages you!).

      I certainly agree about the anger aspect. But if I’m angry with you, why would I call you a “cunt” rather than “floppy willy” or “no-dick” or some such?

      Thanks for taking the time to put down some thought-provoking comments, though!

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