Berkshire Hunt
June 25, 2019 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Can science explain why Jeremy Hunt, possible contender for the UK Prime Minister job, is constantly being called the rudest possible word by respectable broadcasters? It started on Radio 4 back in 2010, when James Naughtie did it live on air, before quickly apologizing. Since then it has happened again and again but even this compilation video doesn't have every instance.

Academic Leendert Plug claims that a psychological effect called "priming" is reponsible, because of the initial sound in Jeremy's job of Culture Secretary, primes them to start words with "Cu" but Hunt hasn't held that post for a long time and it keeps happening.

Alternatively, some say, that the more broadcasters try to avoid calling him a cunt, the more their brain fixates on the word.

Many maintain that it's a classic Freudian slip exposing peoples' true feelings on the politician.
posted by w0mbat (60 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
I always snicker when my Tuesday students call out "See you next Tuesday, Ms. Momochan!"
posted by momochan at 6:27 PM on June 25 [11 favorites]


*cough*
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:32 PM on June 25 [29 favorites]


Alternatively, some say, that the more broadcasters try to avoid calling him a cunt, the more their brain fixates on the word.

Think of anything except an elecunt.
posted by sjswitzer at 6:36 PM on June 25 [16 favorites]


Well, is he?
posted by hilberseimer at 6:42 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]




Well, is he?

Well, he's a Tory, so... yes.
posted by axiom at 6:57 PM on June 25 [21 favorites]


Jeremy Hunt tells broadcasters to ‘grow up’ and stop calling him ‘Jeremy C***’

Our next interviewee needs no introduction... Jeremy Anus.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:06 PM on June 25 [10 favorites]


Maybe they are that particular kind of Australian for whom calling someone a cunt can be a compliment.
posted by deadwax at 7:06 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


I feel that it may be because of Jeremy Corbyn, who's probably better known than Hunt. The broadcasters start saying "Jeremy C… ", and correct themselves partway through.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:13 PM on June 25 [33 favorites]


A weird but maybe illustrative almost-example has to be the Birmingham hustings the other day where Hunt himself was trying to be amusing, modern and down with the kids. He said something about going on Twitter asking for naming suggestions for whatever and said someone had suggested Hunty McHuntface. Out of his own mouth, to a self-selected conservative and Conservative audience, he stood there and called himself something indistinguishable to "M'Cuntface". Whhhhyyyyyy?!?!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:17 PM on June 25 [14 favorites]


Also, there's a slightly phlegmy "Hhc" sound one might use to emphasise the "H" which could easily come out as "hhK", yet I don't remember anyone ever calling e.g. Michael Howard "Michael hCoward" accidentally.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:37 PM on June 25


Tory, innit.
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on June 25 [8 favorites]


Or, y'know, possibly, like maybe, the majority of UK journalists are fucking assholes. Could be that. Just saying maybe, right?
posted by aramaic at 8:21 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


Is it because the desire to pun is the most powerful force in the universe?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:32 PM on June 25 [9 favorites]


I mean, he looks and acts like a Hunt.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on June 25 [11 favorites]


I believe cockney rhyming slang has moved from calling someone a 'right Helen' to 'Jeremy'...
posted by bumpkin at 9:18 PM on June 25 [6 favorites]


This would cease to be a problem if he changed his name to Jeremy Poopyhead.
posted by um at 9:22 PM on June 25 [9 favorites]


Or, y'know, possibly, like maybe, the majority of UK journalists are fucking assholes.

I mean maybe they are, maybe they aren't, but this seems like a data point against, not for.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:44 PM on June 25 [10 favorites]


Or, y'know, possibly, like maybe, the majority of UK journalists are fucking assholes. Could be that. Just saying maybe, right?

No, as a UK resident I can confirm it's the Tory thing.

(and tfa is about broadcasters, not journalists, feel free to reconfigure your The Press Is The Enemy Of The People take as necessary)
posted by ominous_paws at 10:54 PM on June 25 [27 favorites]


I half feel that I feel a shade of pity for the man as I would for anybody who's about to get this badly screwed by Boris - but then all the rest of us are next, aren't we?
posted by ominous_paws at 10:57 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


One of the two silver linings if Hunt becomes PM will be looking forward to Trump falling into this trap, if he manages to remember Hunt's name.

The other is that he's not Boris Johnson (this is a skill most people have but it's Hunt's only redeeming feature)
posted by BinaryApe at 11:16 PM on June 25 [15 favorites]


Late edit: "Redeeming" might be too strong, "slightly mitigating" would be better
posted by BinaryApe at 11:37 PM on June 25 [17 favorites]


I could understand it if his first name was Mike. (Mike Hunt has/had a car dealership near Brisbane). And then, of course, there's the swearing nun from the Sound of Music: https://youtu.be/M_a89fbwX3g
posted by b33j at 12:05 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Because he is?
posted by ellieBOA at 12:05 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


One of the two silver linings if Hunt becomes PM will be looking forward to Trump falling into this trap, ...

HUNT: Mr. President.
TRUMP: I don't get it, Jeremy -- every time I see you, I have this impulse to grab you!
posted by jamjam at 12:25 AM on June 26 [12 favorites]


It's only the rudest possible word because we've decided it should be - it's simply been nominated almost at random for Obscene status. There's nothing especially offensive about it (I believe you can call someone a twat - which has precisely the same anatomical meaning - before the watershed, should you wish to).

It is a tremendously gratifying word to say (with the hard C at the beginning and the T at the end - often pronounced clearly by people who would otherwise resort to glottal stops - it's very like gathering phlegm and spitting).

Given the trail of misery Hunt's stint as Health Minister has produced, I must say the inadvertent abuse really couldn't happen to a more deserving candidate.

Cunt versus Johnson. It really is a leadership contest at the basest level, isn't it?
posted by Grangousier at 12:51 AM on June 26 [22 favorites]


Jeremy Hunt tells broadcasters to ‘grow up’ and stop calling him ‘Jeremy C***’

If you try to boost your Scottish credibility by brandishing a can or Irn Bru - then you should be aware that cunt is just a term of term of affection we use for our best pals. "Sleekit cow'rin tim'rous beastie" - on the other hand...
posted by rongorongo at 1:38 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Grangousier: "Cunt versus Johnson spineless cunt . It really is a leadership contest at the basest level, isn't it?"

Indeed it is.
posted by chavenet at 1:49 AM on June 26


I'd mildly disagree rongorongo. I feel like cunt is a term for pals on the west side of Scotland, whereas on the east it's more of a general gender-neutral term for a person (to use an example quote from Trainspotting, "Ah thought that every cunt over twenty was a toss an no worth speakin tae, until ah hit twenty."). But it can also be used as an insult, albeit probably milder-feeling than in other areas of the UK.

For anyone interested, one may purchase "All Tories are cunts, not just this one" Jeremy C- Hunt t-shirts.

Also, James Blunt: I'm officially handing over my Cockney Rhyming title to @Jeremy_Hunt
posted by Vortisaur at 1:52 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I hadn't come across Joe in Australia's Jeremy Corbyn theory before, but I'm sure that's a contributing factor. Corbyn's been a consent presence in UK news for the past few years, so it's easy to see how broadcasters find themselves falling into this trap. If Hunt and Corbyn's prominence were reversed, I wonder if interviewers would be calling the Labour leader "Jeremy Whore-bin"?

[Cunts on Metafilter previously.]
posted by Paul Slade at 2:12 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


(Cunt versus Johnson - if I have to explain a joke, it's failed, obvs., but it was a reference to both of them being terms referring to genitalia.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:27 AM on June 26 [7 favorites]


Jeremy Hunt was Culture Secretary well before anyone but the most wonkish had heard of Corbyn and he was getting called that by accident then as well.

And no one's confusing the two of them.
posted by ambrosen at 2:34 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


It's only the rudest possible word in America. In the British Isles it's used mainly in reference to males and is about the level of 'asshole'.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:01 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


GallonOfAlan: "is about the level of 'asshole'."

I see what you did there.
posted by chavenet at 3:20 AM on June 26 [5 favorites]


It's only the rudest possible word because we've decided it should be

A mixture of Norman snobbery and misogyny IIRC

In the British Isles it's used mainly in reference to males and is about the level of 'asshole'.

Nope, it's still The Rudest Word, even in Britain. I'd swear occasionally in front of my mother, but I'd not use that word. The male vs female target thing is true though.

Well, is he?

No. He lacks the requisite warmth and depth (to coin a phrase).
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 3:36 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


...if I have to explain a joke, it's failed, obvs...

But, no. Pretty much every joke whizzes over somebody's head. If they say somrthing to demonstrate that, then it's not your joke's fault, because the joke is on them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:43 AM on June 26


For anyone interested, one may purchase "All Tories are cunts, not just this one" Jeremy C- Hunt t-shirts.

“Jeremy Hunt: Saying the quiet part out loud”
posted by acb at 4:08 AM on June 26


If I were Jeremy Hunt (ugh) I would just smile and say ‘well, you are what you eat’.
posted by Segundus at 4:42 AM on June 26


I thought that "cunt" meant "comrade who's mildly annoying me at the moment" in the UK.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:45 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Yeah, no, I believe it is still The Rudest Word in general society. It's certainly used by young people, especially from the west of Scotland (I used to use it a lot), but it's still very, very rude.
posted by alasdair at 5:08 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


ahem
posted by lalochezia at 5:08 AM on June 26


It's another example of the mental lapse illustrated by the apocryphal story of the funeral of the British actress Diana Dors - who was born Diana Fluck. She was buried in her home village - the vicar started the eulogy with "The world knew her as Diana Dors, but to us, her family and friends, she was and will always be Diana Clunt."

(Another vicar confessed to me that he always had the heebie-jeebies that he would mis-read Matthew 9:14 on the matter of fasting as "Why do the disciples of the Pharisees fart and your disciples fart not?" - and, of course, did.
posted by Devonian at 5:08 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


In the same vein, I remember years ago a BBC2 late night linkperson announcing highlights of the Open Golf Championshit.

Corpsing is a tradition behind the scenes in British broadcast media. You can bet there's someone off-screen, just within the newsreader's hearing range, whispering 'c**t! c**t!'
posted by Cardinal Fang at 5:19 AM on June 26


Yeah, no, I believe it is still The Rudest Word in general society. It's certainly used by young people, especially from the west of Scotland (I used to use it a lot), but it's still very, very rude.

This article on the way 'cunt' is developing into a fairly neutral indefinite pronoun in some usages, while still maintaining its derogatory and offensive use in others, is fairly interesting.
posted by dng at 5:59 AM on June 26 [5 favorites]


As the word's sexual/anatomical offensiveness fades, it is replaced by the offensiveness of the connotations of misogyny that using it pejoratively carries.

I've heard that some people make it more acceptable by suffixing it with something semantically unrelated, thus ending up with epithets like “cuntstack” or “cuntbrick”.
posted by acb at 6:28 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Look mate, it's like this right, Phil's a dopey cunt sometimes and Jake takes the piss but he's a funny old cunt, and it makes Dave and Jenny laugh their tits off and it drives him nuts but they're sound cunts too right, all good humour know what I mean, anyway we was down the park right and this old cunt walks up and starts 'avin a go at him, he was a proper posh cunt too, moanin' about this and that and we was all tryin to keep a straight face and then Bob shows up, he's a great cunt he is, proper has a go at him like, but he sounds just like his old man, the poor cunt, anyway yeah they're a good bunch of cunts round here, know what I mean? Not Jeremy though. He's a cunt.
posted by automatronic at 7:14 AM on June 26 [11 favorites]


It's another Grimm's Law transition, is all.
posted by biogeo at 7:39 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


"For anyone interested, one may purchase "All Tories are cunts, not just this one" Jeremy C- Hunt t-shirts."

Tories are the regressive/evil part of UK politics, right, equivalent to the regressive/evil party here in America? If so, I'm guessing the non-regressive's aren't as gung-ho about using "cunts" use as a pejorative being sexist. It does sound like the offensiveness of the term varies wildly depending on which country/state/region/brexpocalypse-camp in the UK it's used in.

Personally, I've always felt the only "bad" words are those that are bigoted or harmful to a peoples somehow. Cunt seems like it's, at best, disparaging of women, so I ain't a big user myself.
posted by GoblinHoney at 7:55 AM on June 26


“cuntstack”

fuck shit stack
posted by lazaruslong at 8:34 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I don't think it's because of Corbyn or Culture; I think it's because that's what everybody calls him inside their own head, for good and sufficient reason, and sometimes it leaks out.

Same thing happens to the Australian Minister for Health for the same reason, and has done since he was Minister Against the Environment.

Not Jeremy though. He's a cunt.

In fact he's a fucking cunt and so is Greg.
posted by flabdablet at 8:35 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Seriously, 50 comments and no one has brought up Lt. Broccoli Barclay from ST:TNG? I mean even Captain Picard slipped up. It's not their fault!
posted by Naberius at 9:22 AM on June 26




No. He lacks the requisite warmth and depth (to coin a phrase).

According to this piece, Amy Sedaris and her brother David each claim to have originated the insult "I’d call you a cunt, but you lack the warmth and depth". It certainly does look good as a book dedication.
posted by w0mbat at 9:57 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


"Ἡ γλῶσσ’ ἁμαρτάνουσα τἀληθῆ λέγει¨
"The sinning [alternatively: slipping] tongue speaks the truth"
-- Menander ~300BC
posted by talos at 10:04 AM on June 26


and is about the level of 'asshole'.

I find it bizarre that you can say "ass" on American television, but not "asshole." And if you do say "asshole," it's the "hole" part that gets bleeped out rather than the "ass."

I remember the first time I heard the word "ass" on American TV. It was in an episode of Quantum Leap sometime in the 1990s. Dean Stockwell's character referred to someone as "an ice-ass."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:08 AM on June 26


I find it bizarre that you can say "ass" on American television, but not "asshole." And if you do say "asshole," it's the "hole" part that gets bleeped out rather than the "ass."

It might be silly, but it does match the difference between a nude butt (not allowed) and a butt wearing a thong (allowed).
posted by straight at 10:37 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


The difference between “ass” and “asshole” is the difference between Shakespearean and scatological.
posted by acb at 11:38 AM on June 26


warmth and depth

apologies for the derail, but this phrase has been flogged SO hard to death, PLEASE can we let it die
posted by ominous_paws at 12:52 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


I always thought it was because his name might easily be followed by “...Conservative MP” and that’s where the rogue C came from.

That or, y’know, the fact that he’s a cunt.

Actually I don’t call people cunts as an insult. I try to stay away from gendered insults in general, but specifically because a lesbian friend once called someone a cunt and then said “Ah I shouldn’t call them that. Cunts are lovely things.” And so they are.

But I admit to being thrilled the time not long ago when I had a long weekend off and I was able to truthfully and cheerily email my boss - who was a Grade A asshole - “see you next Tuesday!”
posted by billiebee at 4:37 PM on June 26


Same thing happens to the Australian Minister for Health for the same reason, and has done since he was Minister Against the Environment.

Yes, but Greg Hunt is even easier.
posted by PollyWaffle at 10:28 PM on June 26


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