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EAST-WEST-RESEARCH  November 2005

EAST-WEST-RESEARCH November 2005

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Subject:

A” for “Alcohol,” “B” is for “Baccy,” as in “Tobacco,” and “C” is for...:Taking a stand on the 'C' word (KyivPost)

From:

"Serguei Alex. Oushakine" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Serguei Alex. Oushakine

Date:

Thu, 17 Nov 2005 10:08:33 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (72 lines)

http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/23466/

Taking a stand on the 'C' word

KyivPost
Nov 09 2005, 22:57

The “C” word: it’s a word that, even in the West, where everyday language 
(especially in the movies) is often laced with profanity, is just too much. 
Hearing that degrading term for the female anatomy doesn’t just make people 
flinch; it makes the people who hear it used think lower of those who use 
it.

In English, the “C” word is way over the line, in the same way that swearing 
of any kind is in Ukraine. So recently when a colleague from our 
Russian-language sister publication Afisha came over to ask what the “C” 
word meant, we all raised our eyebrows. Who wanted to know, and why?

As it turns out, this journalist needed to write about a new club that 
opened recently in ritzy Passage, the little alleyway off Khreshchatyk that’s 
home to Nouvelle, Mokko and other higher-end establishments. A 
long-established club in town, Docker Pub, had opened a new location there 
called Docker ABC, where “A” stands for “Alcohol,” “B” is for “Baccy,” as in 
“Tobacco,” and “C” is for... well, if you don’t know what it stands for, ask 
a native English speaker who isn’t too shy to repeat the word.

What upsets me most about the name of this club is how brazenly and 
flippantly the word has been used, as if a similar word in Ukrainian (if one 
even exists) or in Russian (if anyone dared utter it) would just as 
nonchalantly be accepted by Kyiv’s carefree social elite. It’s one thing to 
embrace other cultures, as Ukraine is most certainly doing these days, but 
it’s completely another to cast a blind eye towards those elements that you 
wish to adopt and the meaning behind them. Ukrainian society is already seen 
by many as one that treats women as second-class citizens despite their 
rights enshrined in Ukraine’s Constitution.

This weird, non-sensical use of a degrading, sexist word in the signage of a 
Ukrainian business is not an achievement to be celebrated, but a step 
backward that should be addressed – not in any legislative fashion, mind 
you, but by ordinary people, would-be customers, who should leave the place 
out of fashion. Fascist symbols, examples of anti-Semitic behavior and 
ignorance of the forced famine of 1932-33 stir emotions and generate 
headlines in this country, but a word that every woman – English, Ukrainian, 
Jewish or otherwise – should find deeply offensive and insulting has so far 
only found positive press.

I am, of course, in favor of free speech. Am I a hypocrite, working as I do 
for a newspaper that publishes escort ads, to come out so strongly against 
Docker ABC? After all, I have not yet written any words to express my 
feelings about these ads. However, these ads do not use sexually explicit, 
degrading or repugnant language – not a one. Technically, they don’t 
advertise sex, and their language isn’t as patently abrasive as Docker ABC’s 
slogan is.

Docker ABC seems to suggest that alcohol, tobacco and the female anatomy 
together can be used towards a fun, rocking good time. If that’s the case, I 
should expect that the club should have all three for sale, to be used 
cheaply and easily, as the name suggests. Is “C” on the menu there, too? 
What’s the going rate for “C” these days, anyway?

Recently I received a notice from the French Cultural Center about a concert 
to be held at Docker ABC. The person there with whom I correspond did not 
know the meaning behind the name until I told her, and she was somewhat 
taken aback when she found out. I have told friends about the name and I 
will continue to share my feelings about the name until either it goes or I 
go. I hope people with respect for equal rights and good taste will join me 
in ignoring any such business that treats women with such disregard.



Paul Miazga is the Post’s senior editor.

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