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.