Arguing from insult


Oy.

Sexism among politicians in Ireland. Again.

Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty was accused of “talking through her fanny” by Senator David Norris over the abolition of the Seanad.

Note for US readers: “fanny” over there doesn’t mean bum, it means cunt.

THE FINE Gael TD accused of “talking through her fanny” by David Norris is to lodge a formal complaint about the Trinity senator over his “sexist” remarks.

Regina Doherty is the Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, but Mr Norris also dismissed her opinions as “The Regina Monologues”. In a statement, Ms Doherty said she was “upset” by the comments.

“I have to admit that I was upset by the personal nature of the remarks that Senator Norris made about me in the Seanad earlier today,” the Meath East TD said.

“They were contrived and intentional. I will be making a formal complaint to the Leader of the Seanad in relation to Senator Norris’ comments.

“Senator Norris’ sexist and deeply inappropriate language certainly brought public attention to the Seanad today. But his comments have done absolutely nothing to strengthen his claim that the superior level of debate in the Seanad means the Upper House is worth saving.”

Seriously. This crap has got to stop.

Comments

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Incredible how even the supposed leaders of a nation can’t behave like grown-ups.

    A small point of order though, Ophelia, if I may.
    Although the two words tecnically refer to the same thing, there is a whole world of difference between the use of ‘cunt’ and ‘fanny’ over here (especially as Fanny is also a girl’s name). When it comes to both shock- and insult value, ‘fanny’ is right down there (no pun intended) with ‘bugger’ and ‘cock’ and ‘arse’.
    He still shouldn’t have said it, the bloke is clearly not fit to hold the position he does (but then, in a Catholic country….); I just wanted the non-UK readers know the two words are most emphatically not interchangeable in normal discourse.

  2. says

    Acolyte, but people are always insisting that “cunt” has no shock-value or insult-value over there either.

    However – I take your point, and I didn’t literally mean they were the same. I suppose I was adopting Kate Smurthwaite’s practice (and I’m sure she’s not the only one) of using the word as the normal word for the female genitalia, as opposed to as an epithet.

  3. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Damn, posted before I was done…

    Acolyte, but people are always insisting that “cunt” has no shock-value or insult-value over there either.

    Oh, I can assure you it has. I still remember the time when, as a teenager (and there’s memory for you!) I used the word in front of my mother for the first – and last time. I think it took me a week just to come round.

  4. octopod says

    So are Fanny and Dick, both being names, approximately equal on the shock-value scale?

  5. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Pretty much, yes, probably because they are names. The biggest reaction to either word as a curse is no more than a raised eyebrow and a tut or two. In fact, both ‘dicking about’ and ‘fannying about’ are very common slang expressions for messing around, and as such in that context have actually lost their genitalia – and therefore their gender specific – conatations. Quie why the words came to mean that I have no idea.

  6. says

    English pedant weighing in….

    The term “cunt” is generally considered the most offensive profanity in the UK however it is used quite differently, I think, than in the US. It is not specifically directed at women and is more frequently, in fact, directed at men. ( Eg. “He’s a total cunt”)
    That said, the fact that a word for the female genitalia is considered the worst thing that you can call someone speaks for itself!

  7. Nomit says

    “So are Fanny and Dick, both being names, approximately equal on the shock-value scale?”

    No, not really. ‘Fannny’ can’t be used as an insult, but ‘dick’ can. At least I have never heard someone call someone a ‘fannny’. I suppose it could be done, but it would be intended to sound funny and unexpected.

  8. Sili says

    I suppose I was adopting Kate Smurthwaite’s practice (and I’m sure she’s not the only one) of using the word as the normal word for the female genitalia, as opposed to as an epithet.

    I much prefer it that way as well.

  9. says

    David Norris is the first openly homosexual person ever elected to office in Ireland and he is credited with helping to reform Ireland’s anti-homosexual laws. He is also bankrupt and recently announced he was fighting cancer.

    Where does David Norris rank on the privilege checking scale? He is sufficiently underprivileged to make such comments?

  10. He11cat81 says

    Fanny is quite a casual insult in Scotland, but less used in England. People are often called fannies if they are acting silly, or did something dumb, whereas being a dick is more used when you’ve done something mean or bad (similar to arsehole). Cunt is widely used in scotland both as an insult/swear word, and very often as a term of endearment, but not used quite as often in England as a term of endearment – i.e. ‘I love that cunt’ (often uttered under the influence of alcohol in Scotland.

    There is a huge regional and for that matter class distinction in the use of fanny and cunt, and swear words in general in the UK. While in the local pub in a lower class estate in scotland, use of the word cunt wouldn’t be shocking whether used as an insult or term of endearment, but I dare say if uttered at a ladies lunch in middle england it would cause quite the stir.

    TL;DR: Fanny, dick & cunt: sometimes shocking, sometimes not, sometimes endearment sometimes insult but highly regional and class dependent in the UK anyway.

    Also a hilarious example of why fanny has fallen out of favour as a name (a totally serious ad BTW, search for other Irn Bru ads to see their often hilarious portrayal of scottishness) – Naming a new baby – Irn Bru advert

  11. says

    #9

    “Fannny’ can’t be used as an insult, but ‘dick’ can. At least I have never heard someone call someone a ‘fannny’. I suppose it could be done, but it would be intended to sound funny and unexpected.”

    In the North East of England it’s not uncommon to call someone a ‘fanny’. It is usually directed at someone who is considered ineffectual, fussy and/or indecisive..

  12. says

    David Norris called his autobiography “A Kick Against the Pricks”. It seems he is quite fond of genital based swear words.

  13. medivh says

    English-descended Australian weighing in here: I’ve always considered “fanny” to be somewhat on par with “wee-wee”. I haven’t heard either of them uttered by any Australian over 10, and at 10 the kid saying fanny tends to get insulted for being immature for their age. Clearly the Celtic cultures have held onto the word a bit more tightly than English ones have.

    As a side note, it’s always amused me that there exists a product called a fanny pack in the US. Of course, the Australian name is no better; we call them bum bags.

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