Created By: TheBST on July 24, 2008
Nuked

The C Unmentionable

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You know what I mean: cunt

Specifically, how, in American and Canadian works, it's still the one thing no-one says unless they want to do serious damage.

In countries UK, Australia etc, while still being very offensive, the word is generally used as unisex term of offence, and is more likely to be used with fewer dramatics.. See Trainspotting where it's not a word, it's a punctuation mark.

Examples (Of it being not cool at all):

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm has an episode where Larry David's use of it during a poker game causes an effeminate acquaintance to have a slow motion nervous breakdown.
  • The Sopranos, series 2, has a scene where Tony applies it to Big Pussy's wife, causing Carmella to stop him mid-sentence and shut him up.
  • The Wire has a scene where it's use causes Stringer Bell, a drug dealer and multiple murderer to stop in his tracks and look shocked. The full line included here, just for the full poetry of it's offensiveness: "Oh fuck the meet! You harder to get at than my fat wife's cunt, nigger!"
  • In an episode of PennAndTellerBullshit on Profanity, it's the only word even the anti-censorship commentators are hesitant to say.
  • Truth in Television: John Mc Cain was lambasted for using it to refer to his wife. He may have been joking with her at the time, but...
  • Averted: Caprice Bourret used it live on daytime television while discussing The Vagina Monologues without any uproar at all.

Any other examples of media where it's a social-life destroying utterance or the one censored or uncool phrase in a normally foul-mouthed piece?
Community Feedback Replies: 77
  • July 23, 2008
    Duncan
    I don't know about Bourret, but there was a big uproar when Fonda said it on TV- it was in the papers, and she later issued an apology.
  • July 23, 2008
    TheBST
    ^And with that, the example has been Minitruth'd away.
  • July 23, 2008
    Citizen
  • July 23, 2008
    TheBST
    YES
  • July 23, 2008
    DocumentN
  • July 23, 2008
    BobbyG
    Really not a fan of that title. It's more crass than actually funny.
  • July 23, 2008
    Citizen
    Well that's just an accidental bonus, then, now isn't it? =P
  • Paradoxically, the taboo on the word is so great, that I was never actually aware of its existance until a fairly late age--and by the time I first heard it, it could only come off as meaningless and nonsensical to me. So I guess it's so insulting, it goes right back to being uninsulting...? I don't know.
  • July 23, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Its inclusion in Lady Chatterley's Lover was a major issue in the Penguin Books obscenity trial of 1963. A much more recent BBC play about the trial included an uncensored reading of the passages in question. Post-watershed, naturally.
  • July 23, 2008
    alliterator
    We have to call this See You Next Tuesday.
  • 30 Rock: an episode appropriately titled "The C Word" centered around Liz being called this and freaking out
  • July 23, 2008
    Kinitawowi
    Oh yes it does apply in the UK - I got fired from my job for looking it up on Wikipedia. (Seriously.) Ironically, I was curious about exactly why it's seen as the last uncensored word, but the managers wanted rid of me anyway and I'm drifting.

    On the trope front... The BBC had to be astonishingly careful when discussing the word on the Oxford English Dictionary Word Hunt show Balderdash And Piffle, including Content Warnings both before and during the show.
  • July 23, 2008
    DocumentN
    The word was one of the first to be filtered on the Dinosaur Comics forum, for what that's worth; it became "sandwich". See also this post.
  • July 23, 2008
    Seanette
    Pretty much a Berserk Button for Stephanie Plum.
  • July 23, 2008
    RealSlimShadowen
    A Something Positive strip had this as the next-to-last line of hostility Mike crosses with regards to PeeJee. He even stammers when he says it. The last line? Physical threats. Which of course results in pain from her many friends.
  • July 24, 2008
    Iphigenia
    Yeah, it's still pretty taboo in the UK (though possibly not to the same extent as in the US). I remember being shocked when I heard it in an episode of The Archers.
  • July 24, 2008
    Clerval
    They used it in THE ARCHERS??!! The world is ending.
  • July 24, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    I was going to be, like, the bajillionth person to point out that its still damn taboo over here in the UK, but... now I just want state my surprise that The Archers used a word like that, also. What???!!?!?!
  • July 24, 2008
    JustinCognito
    There's a Y The Last Man comic where the leader of the Amazons gets called the C-word and calmly explains the origins of the word and how it's come to be used as the most offensive swear in the English language... and then orders Hero to kill the girl who used it.
  • July 24, 2008
    TheBST
    Your complaints have been heard, but I stand by the word being less offensive in conversation in Britian and especially Australia.

    ...

    The frigging Archers?!

    • Parodied in Kevin Bloody Wilson 's song You Can't C**t In Canada
    • It's use was a major part of the 1971 Obscenity Trial against Oz Magazine.
  • July 24, 2008
    Meems
    I have an urge to call this Country Matters, because Shaksperian in-jokes are fun.
  • July 24, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    When was it used in The Archers? They caused enough of an uproar when someone said "shag".
  • July 24, 2008
    RobertBingham
    The first time this troper heard the C-Word, it was in a Mike Tyson movie on HBO (the one that covered the infamous rape case) in which Mike ended up using it with his girlfriend. As the next scene shows, she is Not Happy, and as Don King says, "You must have called her the C Word."
  • July 24, 2008
    BobbyG
    Are you sure it was used on The Archers? When? I don't think they can even say "fuck", and the c-word is considered far worse.

    Country Matters is a great title. Yay Shakespeare!
  • July 24, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    The only other Archers swearing controversy I recall was continuity announcer Charlotte Green's unscripted remark after the show that the then-current baddie (think it was Simon Pemberton) was a shit.
  • July 24, 2008
    Iphigenia
    I could have sworn I heard it in The Archers, precisely because I was so surprised by it. Unfortunately, it was so long ago that I don't remember the context, or even who was speaking.
  • July 24, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    The only time I've heard it on TV was Six Feet Under, and my mother refused to tell me what it meant. I was fourteen at the time, and I'd known what fuck meant for at least three years.
  • July 24, 2008
    Clerval
    There's a rather lovely story about telling/not telling his eight-year-old from Jon Ronson which probably gives an idea of how taboo it is over here.
  • July 24, 2008
    colin
    There was a long discussion about whether or not it was ok to have the word in the title of the Torettes Syndrome article (what the name ended up being escapes me).
  • July 24, 2008
    DomaDoma
    In the Penn and Teller: Bullshit! profanity episode, the C-word was the only one anyone was shown refusing to say.
  • July 24, 2008
    BobbyG
  • July 24, 2008
    Sir Psycho Sexy
    Agreed with See You Next Tuesday.
  • July 24, 2008
    Micah
    Country Matters is awesome.
  • July 24, 2008
    TheBST
    I'm now tempted to call it Country Member:

    There was an MP in Parliament who, during a speech about the countryside said "I am a Country Member", to which another Mp shouted "We remember!", and got a standing ovation.

    Try saying it slowly.

  • July 24, 2008
    Valentine
    "Countryside: The murder of Piers Morgan." - from Have I Got News For You, I think?
  • July 24, 2008
    alliterator
    In Arrested Development, Tobias was interrupted when arguing with his wife by his daughter: "You count...ry music lover!"
  • July 25, 2008
    Meiriona
    Country Matters for the win, and maybe a note about that Family Guy episode.... "Doesn't country have a 'o'?" (Brian) "Nope!" (Quagmire)
  • July 25, 2008
    JethroQWalrustitty
    See You Next Tuesday for the win.
  • July 25, 2008
    Clerval
    I vote for Country Matters.

  • July 25, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    That MP is Made Of Win. :D
  • July 25, 2008
    twelfth
    Good lord, it took me forever to understand See You Next Tuesday, but it's not bad. I'll support it.
  • July 25, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Damn it, I was going to suggest Country Matters.
  • July 25, 2008
    clarabell
    It shows up a few times in Queer As Folk.
  • July 25, 2008
    TheBST
    Country Matters it is.

    Going to split the article into two parts
    • Instances where it's used and causes all kinds of ruckus
    and

    Gonna launch tomorrow morning while I nurse a hangover.
  • July 25, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    If this isn't called Cunt Spit It Out, that will mean that TV Tropes endorses the overreaction to this word by Media Watchdogs.
  • July 25, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Some words are just inappropriate- this one and pretty much no others. Live with it.
  • July 25, 2008
    RobertBingham
    Country Matters and See You Next Tuesday both get my vote, though I generally like See You Next Tuesday for its "sneak up on you" factor.
  • November 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Bump, you cunts!
  • November 14, 2008
    Bighoggi14
    Christopher Titus- Norman Rockwell is Bleeding: (Talking about a fight with his girlfriend/future wife) "And she took everything I threw at her man! She even took the 'C' word! I know! ...she's perfect!"
  • November 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    In Arrested Development, the name of the family yacht was the Sea Ward.
  • November 14, 2008
    alliterator
    And later, in fact, it was called "The C Word."

  • November 14, 2008
    Ialdabaoth
    I once heard some kids singing the following ditty to the tune of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, first movement:

    A-ssol, a-ssol, a soldier went to war / Two piss, two piss, two pistols by his side / Fuh cyu, fuh cyu, fuh curiosity / To fight for the queen's count-, fight for the queen's count-, / Fight for the queen's country
  • November 15, 2008
    JustinCognito
    There's an episode of CSI where the B-plot involves the victim being killed in a case of "road rage" after striking back at the driver who used "that word." The word is, of course, muted in the flashback depicting the incident. As Catherine and Sara are the ones going over the case, they don't use it themselves; Sara just says, "I hate that word."
  • November 15, 2008
    Chariset
    I've seen this one called "the seaward" on Television Without Pity
  • November 15, 2008
    JustinCognito
    There's an episode of South Park where Wendy dumps Stan. Stan asks Jimmy (the stutterer) to tell her that's she "a continuing influence in my life." Unfortunately, Jimmy ends up telling Wendy, "Stan says that you're a c- a cont - a c-c-cont..."
  • November 15, 2008
    Doug S. Machina
    @Valentine: "Countryside: The murder of Piers Morgan." - from Have I Got News For You, I think?

    No, I think it was ''I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue.

    One of the many quotable lines from Withnail And I: "Monty, you terrible clot! ... What are doing prowling around in the middle of the flipping night?"
  • November 15, 2008
    JustinCognito
    God, my day is full of these things (er...). Dexter, "An Inconvenient Lie." Dexter has a serial rapist car salesman bound up on his table; the killer's trying to buy time by picking through Dexter's mind, eventually calling his girlfriend, Rita, the C-word. Dexter, who claims to be completely emotionless, responds by driving a knife into the guy's chest with great force and saying, "Don't call my girlfriend that word."
  • November 15, 2008
    alliterator
    Funny story: I was at Souplantation today and saw one of their menu things had "See You Next Thyme!" on it. And then I said, "Oh, that's not right."
  • November 15, 2008
    aperson
    There is a movement in feminism to reclaim the word cunt. There's a piece in The Vagina Monologues called (what else?) Reclaiming Cunt. (seriously, it culminates in loud, repeated exclamations of CUNT!!! It is pretty awesome to behold), and there's Inga Muscio's book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Hasn't quite been reclaimed on the level that "queer" has been for gays, but it's still something to note.
  • November 15, 2008
    Andygal
    @ Ialdabaoth There is a flash video somewhere on the web about the Iraq war which begins "my cunt, my cunt, my country's calling me" and continues with several other similar sentences.
  • November 15, 2008
    L-chan
    Maybe I'm pushing the envelope, but for an awful coincidence, the Spanish equivalent to the C-word also begins with C: coño. Its uses are relatively more lenient than the English Equivalents, but the Spanish C-word is more used as an expletive than as an insult or a word for the respective body part, and even in the first case its media apparitions varies wildly depending of the country. Spain's TV and cinema seems to be relatively open to its use as an expletive or as a sexual descriptive word, but rarely as an insult; in most Latin American countries the word rarely appears in TV except in shows aiming to be "risqué" (and the dubs of South Park and Drawn Together), and its apparition in movies depends on how often the word is used in Real Life in the respective country, all of those mostly in the expletive way since the sexual meaning was lost or substituted by other words. Still, if you are aiming to uses the Spanish C-word as an insult, you must add a reference to your mother to it as in "coño de tu madre"; that use is mostly banned de facto in almost all Spanish-speaking media no matter what the laws can say about it, so when it's used its because they are aiming to made an insult really shocking, or because its used in a stealth way who unvariably becomes controversial. This venezuelan troper remembers when a Sketch Show ("Radio Rochela") made a couple of sketches about a man named Antonio (who in RL is often shortened to "Toño") whose excessive amiability always damaged the ones who received it, and the punchline was the damage-inflicted screaming "¡es todo culpa tuya, Toño el Amable!". It was so transparent that the sketch didn't last. (Ironically, there is a chain of car-mechanic workshops who are named "Toño el Amable". I Am Not Making This Up.)
  • November 16, 2008
    Nyperold
    The source of one manifestation of the Scunthorpe Problem; in fact, it's the word that blocked the eponymous town's residents from creating AOL accounts.
  • November 16, 2008
    Nits
    If this isn't called Cunt Spit It Out, that will mean that TV Tropes endorses the overreaction to this word by Media Watchdogs.

    Or maybe it just means that it's not a very good name. (I'm voting for Country Matters.)
  • November 16, 2008
    ctrlbuild
  • November 16, 2008
    TheFedoraPirate
    Strangely, (and perhaps it's because I was ignorant of its existence for so long), I don't find cunt all that offensive ... I mean, it's a four-letter word for vagina. How is it any worse than dick?

    Stranger when you consider the history of women and the fact it essentially means "breeder dog" that "bitch" is thrown around so casually.

    So, of course, I'm voting "Cunt Spit It Out". ;)
  • November 16, 2008
    Frank75
    When did McCain ever say that?
  • November 16, 2008
    Joysweeper
    I think one of the tropes here mentioned an author who used realistic teenager-speak, complete with swearing. He only had to censor one word to make press, and so he always typed it as cnut. Think we can use that instead of the word itself? An interesting thing about your brain is that if you know the word and it's scrambled, but the first and last letter are intact, you can usalluy stlil read it.

    It just... urgh. I have the worst association with the word. Seriously. "Dick" is slang. There are still people around who are nicknamed "Dick", so it's only meant penis fairly recently. I've known both meanings since I was six. This word, though - I didn't hear it until I was thirteen, and damn does this trope apply to me, it provokes so much revulsion. Not as much as the yet stupider version which leaves out the T, adds a second n, and ends with a y (Really bad porn is like that), but still.
  • November 16, 2008
    Ridicumouse
    There is a strong North-South divide within Britain over its use. Southern England tends to skew more towards the American interpretation that it's in a class of its own and particularly misogynistic. Scotland tends to treat it as a swear word on a par with fuck and to be used in the same circumstances.

    (I'm just waiting for the Troper Tales page, so I can relate the story of a couple I knew at university. She was from Newcastle, he was from the Home Counties. On a visit home, she took him to the pub to meet her friends and - as was their habit - one of them greeted her as she walked in by shouting across the pub at her "Alright, cunt?" Southern boyfriend had to be physically restrained to prevent a fistfight.)

    And it was Stephen Fry who first made the Piers Morgan crack, but it's been repeated widely by Ian Hislop and many others.
  • November 16, 2008
    Ialdabaoth
    @Joysweeper: Thank you; your "cnut" reference reminded me of the following:

    In the Smith and Jones book based on the 1980s British comedy series, there's a mock front page of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in the style of a modern British tabloid, which includes a correction notice apologizing for the misspelling of King Cnut's name and assuring readers that the editor responsible has been fired. "Stupid cnut."
  • December 5, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Will someone please launch this one already?
  • December 5, 2008
    Unknown%20Troper
    No quote from Ulysses?

    If You See Kay Tell him to-day See you in tea Tell him from me
  • December 5, 2008
    Unknown%20Troper
    Well, I can't edit and something went wrong, but the above is "If you see Kay / Tell him to-day / See you in tea / tell him from me"
  • December 5, 2008
    SomeSortOfTroper
    Hold on, before we launch, I would point out that for the Getting Crap Past The Radar angle we all ready have Get Thee To A Nunnery. So we can just link to that and use this trope to explain the controversy.

    I like Country Matter BTW.
  • December 5, 2008
    TheJoker
    One of the few words South Park censored (in its second season, mind) when Randy Marsh called it his wife. I like See You In Tea or Country Matters.
  • April 1, 2009
    InsanityPrelude
    Salvage bump.
  • April 1, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    The Internet attributes the "country member" remark to Winton Turnbull and the rejoinder to a fellow called Gough, both Australian.
  • April 2, 2009
    Frank75
    Also from South Park: "Balzac was a writer, he lived with Allen Funt / Mrs. Roberts didn't like him, but that's 'cause she's a / C[o]nt-aminated water can really make you sick..." ("Something You Can Do With Your Finger")

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qinpd3kf2lf0vx0of3cl7ran