“I am grateful for the comments that were made in the New York Times about the Cowardcrawler’s use of the word ‘coward.’ I respect the comments of other people,” Ms. Hardwick responded. She claimed that she had used the name “covid” to describe male politicians, with the phrase “the cowardcrawler” adding to a female moniker with a feminine twist.
What Ms. Hardwick did not mention is the fact that, thanks to rules implemented by the U.K. and England, the term cowardcrawler has an implied quotation mark, a serious linguistic breach that raised a public outcry earlier this week in its home country. With England’s passing in 1588 of the notorious head of Parliament, Henry VIII, the new Canton Council – the original body that granted citizens their freedom of speech – initially deemed that the phrase “cowardcrawler” was an insult; it was updated in 1869 to “cowardcrawler” and again in 1983 to “cowardcrawler of the Cowardcrawler.”
Britain has made somewhat of a hash of its attempts to take charge of language as it has attempted to establish itself as an official English-speaking nation. By the time the revolution began, in 1775, New Hanover and Cumberland counties had both won their right to be U.K. counties with their own local government and all the financial and procedural power of a country. But, in the wake of a successful short-lived rebellion against a federal constitution, James I threatened to cut off the “queers of American” from the U.K. by vetoing their official adoption into the English language.
Several Congressmen on both sides of the Atlantic tried their best to help British scholars and authors with a language that would be coherent, useful, and true to the melting pot image that the fledgling Union had been striving for. One of the first to publicly assuage British concerns was James Clavell, an Australian physician. In a July 1824 address addressed to the members of the governing United States Congress, as the Smithsonian’s American Heritage and Linguistics blog has noted, he proffered that the new language would be published as an official national compendium of English, with the authors having “properly honored the title of the word.”
If you Google “cowardcrawler” you’ll get near 1,000,000 results.