This has been an election season of words: “bigly” (or is it “big league?”) “basket of deplorables” — and you can’t forget “nasty.” But post-election, one word has recently caught a lot of people's attention: "cuck."
WARNING: This podcast contains explicit language and sexual content.
It’s a slur being used by white nationalists and white supremacists — the so-called "alt right” — people like Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute. The deceptively generic-sounding organization espouses white nationalist ideology. During their conference in Washington, DC right after the presidential election, Spencer made headlines by using the phrase “Hail Trump” in his speech.
In the same speech he also used the word “cuck.”
But long before white supremacists grabbed hold of it, the word, which has roots in the ancient insult “cuckold,” took some interesting turns in its modern usage.
This week on The World in Words podcast we focus on the word "cuck." What does it mean? Who uses it? And how did it become the slur of choice for white supremacists? We'll hear from linguist Michael Adams, sex columnist Dan Savage and white nationalist Richard Spencer.
00:00 Another warning. There is explicit language and sexual content in this podcast.
00:24 This has been an election season of words: bigly, big league, deplorable, nasty and cuck
1:08 Richard Spencer at the National Policy Institute Convention in Washington, DC
2:15 Joe Rogan explains the word “cuck”
2:52 Gavin McInnes explaining the meaning of the portmanteau "cuckservative" on "The Blaze"
4:10 Actor Kumail Nanjiani and Thomas Middleditch were verbally assaulted at a bar in LA and called “cucks”:
Was at a bar last night with @Middleditch. At the end of the night, 2 white dudes, 20's, who'd been there for hours came up to us.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 12, 2016
"We're big fans of you guys. (To Thomas) I trolled you on twitter yesterday." He goes on to say how we're wrong about Trump.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 12, 2016
I go "Hey we don't wanna discuss politics right now." His friends goes "oh they're cucks." Then starts yelling at us. "CUCKS CUCKS CUCKS!"— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 12, 2016
He starts getting in my face. Thomas puts his hand on the dude's chest to stop him. "Don't touch me you cuck. Wanna go outside?"— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 12, 2016
At this point, the bouncer runs over, grabs them, kicks them out. The bartender is awesome & apologetic. Thomas & I are stunned.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) November 12, 2016
Out with @kumailn; for no reason two dudes came at us with Trump right wing shit, calling us "cucks". Never in my life. I hate this. Week 1.— Thomas Middleditch (@Middleditch) November 12, 2016
5:30 The origins of the very ancient insult cuckold
5:55 Michael Adams is a professor of language and literature at Indiana University, Bloomington. He studies slang. He recently wrote a book called "In Praise of Profanity."
7:35 The sound of a curse word does matter. Speaking is really gesturing inside of your mouth says Adams
8:55 What’s the difference between “cuck” and “pussy”?
10:17 In modern times the word “cuck” has appeared in surprising niches in some video gamer circles and in kink/fetish communities
10:53 Dan Savage is an international syndicated sex columnist and podcaster. You can listen to him on the Savage Lovecast
11:30 Ten to fifteen years ago the term “cuckold” was adopted by certain members of the kink/fetish community
12:19 Is the term a pejorative for the kink community?
13:22 Is there a racialized aspect of “cuckolding”?
18:15 White nationalists or the “alt right” seem to be re-re-appropriating the term from the cuckold community, says Savage
21:01 Has “cuck” become the new “fag”?
22:30 Calling up Richard Spencer. What is he thinking when he uses the term “cuck”?
24:53 Why use a slur?
26:20 Spencer’s feelings on being called slurs himself
27:35 How Spencer feels about the evolution of the derisive word
29:37 Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you. Really?
30:11 Thomas Middleditch embraces “cuck”
Know what? Now that I think about it, I'm totally cuck. Proud of it. Cuck as fuck -- wouldn't want it any other way.— Thomas Middleditch (@Middleditch) November 13, 2016
30:35 You can now purchase a "Cuck AF" t-shirt.
30:42 Comedian Tim Heidecker’s political parody song, “I am a Cuck”
32:00 Bonus appearance by Patrick Cox to discuss green hats in China