Some thoughts on dumbing down language

I like language. I hate what the alt-right does to language.

I’ve always liked language. Majored in linguistics for a brief time in my misspent university years, and today I make my living as a writer, so I suppose it’s not too surprising, really.

But man, watching the violence perpetrated on language by the American right is painful. It’s a travesty, what those people do.

Take the word “cuck,” for instance. It’s a favorite insult amongst the knuckle-draggers of the alt-right, most of whom likely have no idea what it actually means, just like they have no idea what “socialism” means.

It’s been fascinating to me to watch how the word “cuckold” has become politicized by the sex-negative contingent on the alt right; in only a few short years, the meaning of the word has been distorted, in a weird sex-hating Orwellian newspeak kind of way, almost beyond recognition.

Image: Markus Spiske

The latest idiocy? Calling men who watch porn “cucks,” because—get this—you’re watching another man have sex with the woman you fancy.

In the strictest definition, a “cuckold” is a married man whose wife has a child by another man, without his knowledge, which he believes to be his.

The word comes from the behavior of the cuckoo bird, which lays its eggs in nests belonging to other birds. The other birds don’t know the egg was left by an intruder; when it hatches, they feed and care for the chick, believing it to be their own.

In the fetish sense a cuckold is a man whose partner has sex with other men, specifically for the purpose of dominance and submission or erotic humiliation play, with his knowledge and often in front of him. (A woman whose partner has sex with other women specifically for the purpose of erotic humiliation is a cuckquean.)

Cuckolding as a fetish is not just any form of non-monogamy. Swinging is not cuckolding. Polyamory is not (necessarily) cuckolding. Cuckolding is a specific form of non-monogamy, in a D/s context, for the purpose of humiliation play.

What’s weird is how the alt right has co-opted the word in some frankly rather bizarre ways.

Parts of the alt right, especially the weird sex-negative “fapping is bad, homosexuality is bad, but we fuck each other and it like totally isn’t gay” Proud Boys, have done some deeply weird reinterpretation of “cuckolding” to make it mean:

  • If your girlfriend wasn’t a virgin when you started dating, you’re a cuckold, because she slept with other men before you met.
  • If your girlfriend has sex with other people after you break up, you’re a cuckold, because…well, I’m not exactly sure why. Because you own her vagina and another man is using your property, I, um, guess? Or something.
  • If you wank to porn, you’re a cuckold, because you’re playing Willy Wonka’s Whacky Adventure while another man is putting the salami in the woman who gets you hot.
  • If you allow your woman to have male friends, you’re a cuckold, because reasons.
  • If you allow your woman to gain the upper hand in a relationship, or do what your female partner tells you to do, you’re a cuck, because even more vague reasons.

So we go from a very specific sexual fetish to any situation where any woman has sex with any man except you to a situation where a woman has any social power whatsoever even if it has nothing to do with sex…

…which, I mean, not to get too Freudian, but if that doesn’t lay bare the insecurities and fears of the men saying this, I don’t know what does.

tl;dr: You cannot by definition be cuckolded by a woman who is not your partner.

The connection between the alt-right, and the way sex negativity plays into alt-right ideology, is fascinating. The NoFap movement, for example, has become a doorway to alt-right and neo-Fascist ideology…but that’s a blog post (or maybe a podcast) for another time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.