Continuing concern with casual comments containing the “C” word..

The maxim that sticks and stones will broke my bones but words will never hurt me is disproved by the outrage caused amongst Anglophones by the conjunction, in a certain order, of the letters c, n, u, t. That this outrage is shared by the most profitable business in this modern world, being pornography and the sex trade, is as remarkable as it is laughable. Phrases such as “I know he’s very violent, but he’d never swear in front of a lady” have a Monty Pythonesque morality which seems to be the zeitgeist in a world where prim promiscuity and suburban licentiousness are celebrated as the pinnacles of sophistication. Kenny Everett showcased this foolishness perfectly when in full drag he would cross his legs à la Sharon Stone whilst shrieking “….and all in the best possible taste”. Last night on television we watched a talk show in which the highlight was three short clips showing male and female presenters becoming confused and mistakenly saying “cunt” which brought the house down in the same way as our society reacts to the tumultuously funny events of trousers falling down, skirts blowing up and people falling down and hurting themselves.  Since living in France, I’ve noticed that the French find it extraordinary that one would be insulted by being called a birth canal, and it makes no sense to them that one would choose a body part as an insult. They don’t have the same embarrassment with bodily functions from which we Anglo Saxons appear to suffer. On the  other hand I have a fondness for crude swear words and use them often. The criticism that such behaviour indicates a lack of vocabulary is akin to alluding that a celebrated chef has no culinary skill because he regularly enjoys a MacDonald. There’s a time when only that will do, although I eschew them in favour of rude words. The “C” word is certainly controversial, yet this consonant also commences  champagne, caviar, Cadillac, cash, cuddle, Copacabana, cream, cultural, café, coffee, chandelier, cake, caramel, caper, curcuma, concubine, calabash, cumin, comfort, caress, caring, calamari, Caribbean, casino, chips, Cote d’Azur, Chablis, cepage, Ceps, Coulemelles, cognac, Chateau Cantemerle, cinnamon, contentment, cerise, chrome, chardonnay, cabernet, claret, civet, casserole, chestnut, chasseur, Choo (Jimmy), cabaret, chemin de fer, can-can, cheese, Chateaubriand, coques, clams, Chaource, Chartreus, chanson, charity, companionship, cure, credit card, cashmere, cherries, cheong sam, cherubic, chick, chilli, Cezanne, chowder, cinema, calorific, concupiscent, chuckle, ciboulette, chook ( for Antipodean readers), coq ( allez les bleus), cigars, Camembert, Charolais, consommé, coconut, cinquecento ( both Fiat and the Renaissance), ciao, cicely, chutney, cider, club ( dancing, drinking or sandwich), closet ( once out of), cocaine ( purely for high flying city workers), Cockaigne ( for those of a more literary bent), charcoal, cockatrice, Cointreau, cole slaw, choucroute, colcannon, cosmopolitan, compromise, cuisine, cultivate, cyclamen, cycle, cranberry, companionship, cous cous, cannelloni, cannoli, Chopin, clementine, clever, chocolate, cacao, cocoa, condiment, conciliatory, communion, clinch, communication, cognoscente, crust ( on a perfect pie), confectionery, cohabit, consummate, colleen, Cole Porter, conserves, comfrey, comedy, comely, comme il faut, cameraderie, cameras, calligraphy, Camelot, clitoris, cordial, correct, Constable, carefree, crinoline, cosmic, comic, cosset, credibility, Creole cuisine, chess, crispness, conclusion, cogitation, curmudgeonly ( had to include that as rousepeteur doesn’t start with a C), cooperation, Confucius, Chiroubles, Chenas, califragalistic,  cassoulet, cod&chips, coulis, chitterlings, crackling, crackers, cantuccine, Cantonese, coitus, croissants, Cristal, cross-cultural, coddle, crumble, crown, croupier, crumpet, crunch, cataclysmic, catalyst, camiknickers, cabriolet, caleche, and candied orange peel atop an orange tart…


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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28 Responses to Continuing concern with casual comments containing the “C” word..

  1. Such a lot of very good words there Roger. And the “c” word is frequently used here (even by children) and is not really considered that bad at all. Now…if you start to question someone´s parentage…then that´s a whole other matter!

  2. A great list of ‘c’ words, and can I add ‘carignan’, one of our local grape varieties to go with chardonnay and cabernet? One swear word that I don’t like, although it’s much used here, is ‘putain’…that usually brings on one of my feminist rants to which my friends here reply that it doesn’t mean anything against women it’s just ‘une virgule’ (a comma).

  3. Dick Polak says:

    couldn’t have said it better myself (actually not nearly as well either)

  4. Lot’s of good words! Though, I’m not particularly offended by the word which you first described. Some, who move in the same circles as I, have described it as a term of masculine endearment. However, I feel like it is offensive when spoken in the direction of a woman. Words often take on separate meanings when used in different contexts. What an incredible looking tart, by the way.

  5. Hahaha!
    So cleverly written Roger!!
    Bravo! I couldn’t agree more.

  6. Misslisted says:

    For some reason I recently found myself explaining the usage of that word to my teen children. In my opinion, like all words, there’s a time and a place where it can be called upon to serve. But, as I told them, used very judiciously, as it will no doubt be offensive to any adult within earshot, and will not reflect well upon their upbringing.

  7. Mad Dog says:

    Such a large collection of c words!
    When I lived in France there used to be a comedy chat show on Canal Plus called Nulle Part Ailleurs – they took great delight in re enacting the Robert De Niro scenes from Raging Bull where the entire dialogue consisted of swearing. They obviously found it hilarious to swear in English to a French audience at 7pm. I found it very funny and completely surreal.
    …and as Tanya mentioned, in Spanish, the word coño can just about be used as a friendly greeting on occasion! Try explaining that to a taxi driver in London…

  8. Michelle says:

    There are times, sadly, when no other word will do. And, oh my, what a gorgeous tart!

  9. I find those who are truly or deeply offended by any swear word should probably get out of their houses more. There are much more considerable things to be shocked at, if they’d bother to pay attention. I, for one, like the “c” word champagne!

  10. Here in SE london its used with such passion.
    dont be such a……. , you know you look like a CXXX in that.
    your mates a….., Cxxting hell. ( used when a parking ticket is issued )
    The art is in its delivery. it should feel warm and smooth as it passes the lips. like good cafe. or fine wine. best served with honesty

  11. Mad Dog says:

    I just remembered something relevant. Did you ever drink in the Colony Room ? Muriel Belcher had “cunty” engraved on the till – there’s a picture in this article:

  12. The English say “twat.” I guess since we have bastardized their language, we can also bastardize their curses. An interesting one, is how the term bastard has evolved and how legal and social views of “bastards” have changed. The history behind words conveying strong emotion is interesting as are the current trends. I cuss too, and I don’t think such heavy weight should be given words, more how words are said and in what circumstances.

  13. ....RaeDi says:

    Thank you for saying it for me! The picture is lovely!

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