What is the expression 'beyond the pale' on about? How do you express the absence of feeling? Does 'testify' have anything to do with testicles? Do avocados have anything to do with testicles? How does the phrase "It's all Greek to me" relate to food styling? Can you have a caper with capers? Are sharks misunderstood, etymologically and morally? And finally: where do allusions come from?Read More
CONTENT WARNING: there is swearing in this episode. But the happy news is: swearing is good for you!Read More
WARNING: this episode is full of FOUL PROFANE LANGUAGE. I suggest you don't listen to it through loudspeakers at a christening.
Today I'm trying to figure out why 'cunt' is considered to be a ruder swear word than others like 'twat' which mean the same thing, or male equivalents like 'dick' and 'knob'. A few hundred years ago, cunt was sufficiently not-rude that there were streets named Gropecunt Lane in most of Britain's major market towns; yet now, it is top tier of the hierarchy of offensiveness. But maybe in another few hundred years, it will have been supplanted by 'swear word' or 'Jeff'. Find out why: listen now via iTunes, SoundCloud, miscellaneous podcast directories, or RSS.
- If you enjoyed hearing about Gropecunt Lane, then I'm sure you'll like the triumphant tale of Tickle Cock Bridge.
- There's a very interesting discussion of 'bloody' and other religious swear words on episode 44 of the brilliant podcast No Such Thing As A Fish.
- Study TS Eliot's poem 'The Triumph of Bullshit'.
- See Eve Ensler perform The Vagina Monologues.
- Worried about whether to spell bellend 'bellend', 'bell-end' or 'bell end'? The editor of the Sunday Sport has the definitive answer.
MAILCHIMP RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD OF THE DAY:
This episode was sponsored by Squarespace.com. Use the code ALLUSION to get 10% off their website-hosting and -building services for a year. Perhaps you could run a store selling Bullshit Centenary memorabilia.
Presented and produced by Helen Zaltzman.
Leon Wilson helms such bawdy television shows as Celebrity Juice.
Jane Garvey uses only the most fragrant language when she presents Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. Her range of cockwipes will be in stores soon.
Thanks to all the people who contributed their rudest swear word, including the good people of Maximum Fun, but especially Tom Jenkinson's mum.