We have not gone on a porn tangent caused by too much time alone. We show the cover of an old copy of National Screw to exemplify the meaning of this blog, one which we touched on here once before, that being
“Cunt is the Nigger of the Nouns”.
They are simply words, mind you, no different from other words, except for the power they are given by the denial of them. Mark Twain famously used the word nigger in Huck Finn, as did John Lennon in Woman Is the Nigger of the World, from which we obviously stole our catchphrase. R.P. McMurphy called Big Nurse a cunt in the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Jack Nicholson mouthed it in that role in the 1975 movie.
Both words have the tendency to get the user into trouble ~ but why is that? Like Lenny Bruce used to note, it is perfectly fine for movies and media to show violence, murder, war, mass murder, torture, etc…but the motion picture advisory group draws the line at making love. You are not allowed to watch closely simulated sex, which is a legal act, usually, but you can see some pretty macabre violence without looking too far.
What does that say about us as a society?
Many years ago, as the result of not being a racist, fate found me living in Newport News, VA. Previously, my residence was in Norfolk, where my ‘schtick’ at the time was running telemarketing rooms for performing arts companies. This was a particularly daunting enterprise, as it put me in the position of trying to get southerners to communicate intelligently on a phone. This was in the mid-1980s, before the internet, when people still had very strong regional dialects and a ‘southern’ accent could be baffling to one from North of the Mason Dixon.
One bright light was a woman who answered my newspaper ad. Her name was Miriam and she was a school teacher who spoke superbly understandably. The only problem was that she was a black woman. While running the telephone room was my duty, the theatre company we were selling tickets for was the client. One day, the client asked me to get rid of Miriam because it did not seem like a good idea to have a black woman represent the theatre. That evening, Miriam got a $50 bonus. She would not be fired by me.
We finished the sales campaign and it was back north for me, doing a fund drive at the New York City Ballet Company in Lincoln Center. My employer, who lived on the west coast, was in New York and wanted to see me. We met at the great Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel on 44th Street. The scene of the famous Algonquin Round Table, it was a thrill for me to be there…until the subject of Miriam came up. Explaining the situation, it came down to one thing – the client is where the money comes from. Choosing the side of an employee over the client, all racism considered, was wrong, he told me. While it had been one of my best jobs yet, sticking to my guns was the only way to go. Miriam will never know that my job was taken away because of her and that is better because she was so sweet, she would have blamed herself. I had principles, damn it.
My return to Virginia, precipitated by an offer of a place to live from Ferd, was not so much fun as the first stay. It was summer, it was hot, Ferd’s wife was a bitch and she prevailed upon him to have me move elsewhere. A guy in the apartment complex had an extra bedroom and he ran a landscaping business. Free lodging came with a job, so weed-eater operating became my latest vocation, trimming the edges of lawns while three other guys, two black, one white, mowed them.
The white guy, an idiot of epic proportions, wore headphones most of the time and carried an extra-large ‘Big Gulp’ cup in one hand while he pushed the mower with the other. The two blacks guys were always laughing at him and it left me no choice but to join them. They were alright and we worked close. We sweated into each other when we sat in the hot truck. We drank beer out of the same 40 ounce bottles at lunch. We smoked the same funny, hand-rolled cigarettes and sometimes even smoked tobacco together.
With these two guys, nigger was a word they managed to work into almost every sentence. They called each other nigger, they called me nigger, it was niggerniggernigger, all the time. One day, on the pretence of getting some angel dust, the author gave one of them five dollars to buy it with. Then he disappeared for a few days, as always seems to happen when lending money. Both guys lived in an apartment near ours, so while drinking beer on a Saturday, he cut across the parkinglot below. While knowing we are all in full control of whatever comes out of our mouths, when “Hey, where’s my five bucks, nigger?” came out of mine, it was not meant as an insult, since he had niggered me so many times.
In response, he charged the stairs to the balcony in an PCP-induced rage, forcing me to kick him in the chest when he reached the top of the steps. It seemed like only seconds from the time he rolled down the steps until he tried again, only with a baseball bat. That was good enough for me to retreat, since he was taking this much more seriously than myself. It was only five bucks. Grabbing the biggest knife in the apartment, a butcher job with a 14-inch blade, but not really wanting to hurt anybody, a flush of relief hit me when the police showed up – now that was a real first for me!
Bottomline was that, due to me being white and having kicked the black man down the stairs, it would only cause trouble for my caucasian employer if he kept me there, so a move was forced upon me. Bottomline was – because I would not act like a racist, I ended up in a position where I was forced to head back north…all over a word. Since then, I have been called a racist because I think Obama is a bad president. Such idiocy is usually overlooked by me, but why is it just fine for one group of people to use a word and not another? It is the power of the Word.
While never having gotten into any bad situations as regards my use of the word cunt, one has to admit that it carries the same aura of exclusivity. Merriam-Webster’s ‘Learner’s Dictionary’ tells us that “Cunt is an extremely offensive word in all of its uses and should be avoided.” Why not cock? The ‘Learners’ are not cautioned away from using the word cock. They sort of go together (or used to when the author was young) so why is one more offensive?
Do we even know why we consider the word cunt to be so terrible, while big, old swinging cock is allowed to enjoy itself in common language? Take the Spanish language; instead of cock and cunt, you have concha (meaning seashell) and cojones (meaning balls). It makes you wonder why it is an insult to be compared to a seashell but why it is a sign of power to have cojones.
This photo probably did not do much to help the situation:
…but it is funny so we stick it there. Research says that cunt is the dirtiest word in the world, yet many claim that the cunt can be a very good thing, indeed. So, while we do not have the following or the glitz of the National Screw, we admire how the late Al Goldstein put the world’s best literary talent in his magazine, in between the cunts. He tried to demystify, and get rich, from such taboos, as did Lenny and George Carlin, as did Rabelais.
What we still do not know for positive is why Cunt is the Nigger of the Nouns.