Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jane Fonda Utters the "C" Word...and Peoria Lies Supine on its Floor and Turns Blue...

Once again, a "naughty" word was uttered on national. This time, Jane Fonda and NBC offered mea culpas for Jane uttering the word "cunt" during an interview on the Today show when she appeared aside Eve Ensler to promote a upcoming production of Ensler's play "The Vagina Monologues"

It took Amanda Marcotte, co-author of the Pandangon blog, to finally put everything it its proper perspective on the AlterNet web site:

Ah, I love moments like this. Grown adults scrambling around, getting completely offended over something that's got no logical reason to offend you. If you've seen the play, you know the piece she's talking about, and the whole point of it is to make the audience face up to the irrational fear caused by the sound of the word and realize how silly they're being.

Something so simple and yet so hard for so many people to understand: A word's meaning derives from its context. So many people want so badly for the sound of words to have this magical power, like there's something inherent about the sound [kuhnt] that should give offense. Do we blanch to hear someone say "country", even though that sound is in there? No. It's hard for me to respect taboos about words.
Calling someone a cunt is pretty offensive, but again, that's based on context. This was about the least offensive use of the word imaginable. I can't help but think that the fact that irrationality so easily wins this round is just a symptom of a greater sickness of our society (maybe all societies, to be fair)--this epidemic of having rules that are inexplicable but must be followed, leading people to base their morality more on T-crossing and I-dotting rather than actually developing a philosophy that makes sense. Which then leads people to think rules are less about right and wrong than about getting caught or not. If you think about it, a lot of social problems can be traced back to this conundrum.

Now doesn't all this take you back to early Fifties, when Francis Cardinal Spelling was standing on his bully pulpit inside the Church attacking the film The Moon is Blue because it contained the words "virgin" and "pregnant?"

Virgin? Pregnant?

Can you guess why an episode of "I Love Lucy" was titled "Lucy is Enciente?"

Perhaps, people don't believe there are any cunts anymore.

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