Leighton Smith on Marama Davidson’s wish to reclaim c*nt

Marama ‘ C**t Davidson co-leader of the Greens

Leighton Smith was all fired up over Marama Davidson’s desire to reclaim the word c*nt: Quote:

There was a story on TV last night about the most objectionable word on the broadcasting control list.

We are issued with lists of words that are unacceptable, that if I used, any of the top four or five, certainly, I would be taken off air and correctly and I might not finish the year, just don’t know. That’s how unacceptable these words are.

All be it, that this particular word, the one that has been at the top of the list for a long time, has dropped from I think 73 per cent unacceptability to something like 60, it dropped a few points.

Now the story was there because the Green Party co-leader, Marama Davidson, says New Zealand must reclaim this word.

What does she mean, I’m not interested in her opinion.

I could say something right here that might get me into a bit of trouble. How on earth she got elected as the deputy leader of the Green Party is beyond me, well it’s not really because it’s a reflection on the Green Party itself.
Enough said.  End quote.

I too found it strange but for a different reason.

We hear constantly about Maori being upset that someone or other is partaking in “cultural appropriation“, usually for profit, but often times just because.

What we have here now is an attempt by a Maori wahine, to claim back the word c*nt. Who would have thought we’d ever hear a Maori wahine want to claim a word from Middle English that is derived from Germanic and Scandinavian words and was first used in 1230AD: Quote:

Cunt has been attested in its anatomical meaning since at least the 13th century. While Francis Grose’s 1785 A Classical Dictionary of The Vulgar Tongue listed the word as “C**T: a nasty name for a nasty thing”, it did not appear in any major English dictionary from 1795 to 1961, when it was included in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary with the comment “usu. considered obscene”. Its first appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1972, which cites the word as having been in use from 1230 in what was supposedly a London street name of “Gropecunte Lane”. It was, however, also used before 1230, having been brought over by the Anglo-Saxons, originally not an obscenity but rather an ordinary name for the vulva or vagina. Gropecunt Lane was originally a street of prostitution, a red light district. It was normal in the Middle Ages for streets to be named after the goods available for sale therein, hence the prevalence in cities having a medieval history of names such as “Silver Street” and “Fish Street.” In some locations, the former name has been bowdlerised, as in the City of York, to the more acceptable “Grape Lane.”  End quote.

Further the etymology of the word make it rather strange that a Maori wahine would want to claim such a word: Quote:

The etymology of cunt is a matter of debate, but most sources consider the word to have derived from a Germanic word (Proto-Germanic *kuntō, stem *kuntōn-), which appeared as kunta in Old Norse. Scholars are uncertain of the origin of the Proto-Germanic form itself.[7] There are cognates in most Germanic languages, such as the Swedish, Faroese and Nynorsk kunta; West Frisian and Middle Low German kunte; Middle Dutch conte; Dutch kut and kont; Middle Low German kutte; Middle High German kotze (“prostitute“); German kott, and perhaps Old English cot. The etymology of the Proto-Germanic term is disputed. It may have arisen by Grimm’s law operating on the Proto-Indo-European root *gen/gon “create, become” seen in gonads, genital, gamete, genetics, gene, or the Proto-Indo-European root *gʷneh₂/guneh₂ “woman” (Greek: gunê, seen in gynaecology). Relationships to similar-sounding words such as the Latin cunnus (“vulva“), and its derivatives French con, Spanish coño, and Portuguese cona, or in Persian kun (کون), have not been conclusively demonstrated. Other Latin words related to cunnus are cuneus (“wedge“) and its derivative cunēre (“to fasten with a wedge“, (figurative) “to squeeze in“), leading to English words such as cuneiform (“wedge-shaped“). In Middle English, cunt appeared with many spellings, such as coyntecunte and queynte, which did not always reflect the actual pronunciation of the word. End quote.

So, media aren’t allowed to use the word, as Leighton Smith points out, but Marama Davidson wants to claim the word back…from where exactly? Will she try a Treaty claim for the word? It would seem forlorn since if derives from Germanic and Scandinavian words…or indeed Latin, all of which are somewhat older than Maori “civilisation”.

It seems to me that Marama Davidson seems guilty of cultural appropriation.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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