Clint and the silly King Cnut
Clint, as in Eastwood, the actor, film director and producer, is the abbreviation of the first name Clinton, like Dick is for Richard.
A dick, as a male appendage, can be used as an insult. Dickhead! Clint goes the other way by mistake – that cinema billboard that misspelt it by leaving out the ’n’ and a printing error that conjoined the L and I into a ‘U.’
One way of swearing at someone is to call him a Silly Cnut, after the 11th Century English king who attempted to command the mighty tides of the sea not to come in up along the shore. King Cnut is the short form of King Canute.
According to academics cnut is undergoing a revival among feminists who want to own up to it, want it to no longer be a shocker and are using it more and more.
Anthropologist James Campbell says it had been commonly used as long ago as in the Stone Age to denote female allure and power. This changed when olden-day cultures became more patriarchal and preferred the macho word vagina, originating from Roman Latin for “the sheath of a sword.”
The Women’s Encyclopaedia of Myths and Secrets says kunti in old Sanskrit was not frowned upon. “Indelicacy was not in the eye of the ancient beholder, only in that of the modern scholar,” writes Barbara Walker.
It appeared in spelling and interpretation variations in Norse and Germanic folklore and in medieval England in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. “Is it for ye wolde have my queynte allone?” asks Chaucer’s Wife of Bath.
But over the ages it went from a good or neutral word to a bad one because ‘woman power,’ as described by Campbell, was beaten down by men, say the feminists.
The feminists want it back because vagina only means the passage from the vulva to the uterus while the alternative is everything else – labia, vulva, pudendum, vagina and clitoris – to denote their own sexual powers and power over men.
An illusionist’s depiction of male and female dancers: