The Null Device

The fascinating (if somewhat politicised, in a Freudian-Marxist way) history of a taboo word, and the evolution and decline of linguistic taboos in English. (via Found)
(in c1230) in the Stews area of Southwark there was a street called Gropecuntelane... [which] may have been later shortened to Grope Lane, and a similar example can be found in York, where a Grope Lane was "renamed [to Grape Lane] by staid Victorians who found the original Grope - historically related to prostitution - too blatant"
While Victorian social codes and public conventions were conservative and repressive, private perversion and pornography were commonplace. Indeed, the Victorians were the most prolific producers and consumers of pornography in history.
The French Connection `fuck' campaign centred around the acronym "fcuk" (`French Connection United Kingdom'), and it bears a striking similarity to `Cnut', an arcane spelling of the name of Viking invader King Canute. `Fcuk' and `Cnut' are both taboo words with their respective middle letters reversed, the difference being that `fcuk' was a deliberate reference to `fuck' whereas `Cnut' was an accidental reference to `cunt'. This accidental reference may, however, explain why `Canute' has replaced `Cnut'. Similarly, "It is a likely speculation that the Norman French title Count was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic Earl, precisely because of the uncomfortable phonetic proximity to cunt"

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