Cunt is not the most offensive word in English. That distinction goes to nigger. Cunt is perhaps a close second. But, that's subjective. I use either word rarely, but I use them. Sometimes the situation calls for such a slur.
For instance, a phone call amongst myself and a few cabbie buddies a few years ago. P told us that he took a black couple to some project in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn. They only paid half the fare and took off owing $20. He got out and demanded his money. The couple just walked away. P yelled, "Nigger, I should get my gun and shoot you in the back." The guy told him to go ahead and kept walking. P told us that he felt guilty using the slur. He felt he diminished a whole race because he was angry at one farebeater. The other drivers disagreed, saying that a thief deserves any insult available. I remained silent, just listening, when P asked me, "I bet you would never have called that guy a nigger no matter what. You're too much of a damn hippie. What would you have said to him?" I responded, "I wouldn't have said anything. I'd have just shot the nigger in the back."
I was being amusing. We all had a good laugh. If you think I'm racist or a bigot because of that conversation, you're retarded. Context matters.
Jen McCreight wrote a post the other day where she ignored context completely. Penn Jillette commented on a friend's Facebook post about a woman who wrote a rather shitty piece for MSNBC about the Super Bowl commercials. He said:
What a remarkably stupid cunt. Why did I read this? Strained comedy that does exactly what she’s busting. Horrible. How about not watching? This is just someone trying to hate people and be superior and having to work really hard at it. She does the same fucking joke 4 times and pats herself on the back for it. I’ve never seen any of these ads, and never will, but what a fucking talentless cunt.Jen provided no context to Penn's comment. She did not quote the original Facebook post or include any of the other comments. Yet, she was outraged that Penn called a writer a cunt. She went so far to say, "According to Penn Jillette, if a woman makes a joke he doesn’t find funny, she’s a stupid talentless cunt." Which is a bit of a leap; he only called a single woman a cunt. And not to her face, but on a private Facebook post.
I suspect that Jen did not have access to the context of Penn's comment. She got it from a tweet by the author that Penn referred to as a cunt. That author did not provide any further context. Perhaps she did not have any further context herself. I don't know and don't care.
What I do know, and care about, is that based on this one out-of-context Facebook comment, Jen has stated, "I’m done with Penn Jillette. We can come up with better skeptical role models and celebrities than this."
That's it. He's done. Fuck the misogynistic asshole. Based on the nearly 500 comments on her post so far, many folks agree with Jen. They are done with Penn. No further context needed.
This ostracization of prominent atheists and skeptics in this community because of perceived misogynistic slights has gotten completely out of hand. Watson is done with Dawkins. Christina is done with Grothe. Some are even done with Coyne just because someone posted a video by the same fag that called Benson a cunt onto his blog.
Enough is enough. Feminism is an important issue, but for some facets of feminism, there are no clear answers. People disagree. Men and women, many who claim to be feminists disagree. Orstacization is not helpful. It weakens the atheist movement. Debate, discussion, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness are key. This hate and anger is childish. We are atheists, dammit. We are not supposed to be dogmatic.