Pussy, female genitals, Donald Trump news, Trump news, Frank Stallone, Sylvester Stallone, David Hogg, Parkland school shooting, Parkland survivor, American news

© Africa Studio

The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: “Pussy,” the Unprintable Word

Ever since the release of the Hollywood Access tape in which Trump boasted about how he would “grab ‘em by the pussy,” US media have had to decide how to print what is considered an “offensive word.”

US culture has a serious problem with the vocabulary of the language it borrowed in a distant past from England. Americans appear to believe that words are more than names for things, concepts, actions and qualities. They not only carry a “meaning”; they also reveal the moral status of the person who utters them. They are, in some sense, magical entities in themselves, some too sacred to mention or print, others too “dirty” or salacious.

This explains the convention that many publications observe of printing p*ssy or p—y for the word “pussy,” even when it is used as a synonym for wimp or wuss. The original meaning of the word is, of course, simply a cat.

Weighing in on the debate following the Parkland school shooting, Frank Stallone, Sylvester’s younger brother and a minor celebrity, attacked David Hogg, the courageous student who has been leading a growing campaign against US gun culture. Stallone tweeted, “This David Hogg pussy is getting a little big for his britches.” The Wrap and some other media outlets substituted “p—y” for the original word.

Here is today’s 3D definition:

Pussy:

A person easily frightened and lacking the qualities and aggressive attitude of self-respecting males. The image of sub-masculine weakness is compounded by the possible association with the female sex organ (presumably at the back of everyone’s mind when they hear the word).

Contextual note

Mediaite posted this title to its article, removing only a single letter from the word: “Sylvester Stallone’s Brother Calls David Hogg a ‘P*ssy’, Wants Classmates to ‘Sucker Punch’ Him.” Newsweek, on the other hand, dares to print the word in full when citing the text of Frank Stallone’s tweet, but maintains its respectability by referring to it as “vulgar language.”

The two meanings of the word — “coward” and “female genitals” — are only coincidentally related but appear to be more closely associated in people’s minds. This association reinforces the meme, “women are weak, men are strong.” But it goes much further, as Stallone himself suggests when he calls for someone to “sucker punch the bitch.” Strength alone serves no purpose unless you are also ready to intimidate, humiliate or injure the other while displaying one’s Rambo style muscles: “Watch him run home like the coward he is,” the manly Stallone intones.

This language perfectly encapsulates the ethos of the Trump era. But don’t blame Donald Trump. It has always been present in US culture. Think back to 2003 and George W. Bush’s “Bring ‘em on,” for example. Just this past week, Trump boasted in one his immortal tweets: “Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way.”

In late March, The Independent reports, Trump boasted to Vladimir Putin, “If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I’ll win.” Notice that he didn’t say, “we’ll win,” but “I’ll win.” That’s what a man with true grit would say!

Trump’s friends and allies have caught the same fever. Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince and dictator, seems to have assimilated that part of US culture that emphasizes threatening war by accusing your adversary of being a wimp. Here is how he boasted in his recent 60 Minutes interview on CBS: “Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia. Its army is not among the top five armies in the Muslim world. The Saudi economy is larger than the Iranian economy. Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.”

Historical note

Ever since the release in October 2016 of the notorious Hollywood Access tape in which Trump boasted about how he would “grab ‘em by the pussy,” American media have had to decide how to print what is considered an “offensive word,” even when it doesn’t refer to the female anatomy. The New York Times used paraphrase to describe Trump’s language (“grabbing them by the genitals”) but printed an unedited version of the full conversation.

The Puritan heritage of the US has always been sensitive to the sin of “swearing,” which originally meant an abusive invocation of the deity (“taking the Lord’s name in vain”). They somehow extended the shame attached to it to include common scatology before another creative group of people, late in the 20th century, managed to invent the category of political correctness to brand certain words as a proof of moral failure. Speaking one word can thus translate into an eternity of shame.

*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com