Rude word alert: if you are young, easily offended (or female and much given to the “vapours”), read no further. Alternatively, you have been warned.. .
OK. We have been here before.
It seems that John Whittingdale, a Tory MP and chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee has been offended by Sandi Toksvig’s cunt.
Ooer, missus! Perhaps I should rephrase that. Just a tad more delicately.
On the news quiz, a programme that takes place first between 6.30 pm and 7 pm on a Friday – and then is repeated on Saturday sometime around mid-day, Ms Toksvig came out with the easy and scripted aside that “It’s the Tories who have put the “n” into cuts”.
Like, she didn’t even SAY the c-word! She might, for all I know (given her Danish ancestry) have been hinting that the conservative party were a bunch of Cnuts, attempting hopelessly to turn back the tide of bureaucratization of the state.
No? Alright, she probably WAS alluding to the slightly vulgar word for vagina.
But hark! Who is complaining about what? The Daily Mail write: “The Corporation decided that the word – most abhorrent to women – has lost much of its ‘shock value’ and is tolerable for radio and television”.
Its also, apparently, a term associated with abuse. Which I kinda get. But I repeat: just who is complaining about what? The original complainant is a Mr Harrow, who self-deprecates by confessing to not being a retired vicar from Cheltenham, but…
The argument is then taken up by the aforementioned John Whittingdale – and echoed by Vivienne Pattison, who is a leading light in Mediawatch UK, an organization not a million miles removed from being a successor to Mary Whitehouse’s Viewers and Listeners Association.
Is it really corrupting, abusive, offensive to hear this word?
Perhaps. I have a friend who identifies as a “third-wave feminist” who used to gain some amusement from teasing a “second-wave feminist” by uttering this word loudly and in her hearing. It does divide women. No doubt about that.
But still, I’d give far more credence to the argument about female offense if it were women leading the charge. Except it isn’t. Its men, being all indignant on behalf of women.
Funny, that. That’s definitely a trend I’m noticing now: how men are totally eager to leap to our defence, to protect us, look after us, to, er, police the world on our behalf.
Hence my abusive friend at the leisure centre: a guy who felt that on behalf of women he was entitled to threaten to hit me. Not that any woman had actually asked him to.
In this case, I’d say similar – without quite accusing Messrs Whittingdale and Harrow of resorting to violence. If women hate this term: if I see the female moral madge getting up on its high heels and complaining, I’ll listen.
Meanwhile, though, forgive me if I feel very much entitled to ignore a couple of blokes getting indignant and putting the boot into the Beeb on behalf of womankind.
Get over it, boys!