It is interesting that the only real support I have had from fellow bloggers in my defence of the 'C' word (note that I am coying down for the sake of other's sensibilities), comes from an Australian, and an Australian woman to boot.
Ozzies have brought the art of swearing to previously unreached heights, and it seems to be part and parcel of the overall armoury that they use so well in verbal humour. I think that the Ozzies are world leaders in vitriolic, put-down humour and I love them for it.
I had a friend (sadly now dead) who could not abide the use of the word 'bastard', because he was brought up as an orphan in a children's home and later adopted. It was difficult to remember not to use it in his presence.
The Australians have turned the word 'bastard' into an everyday one (even used by the prime minister) and it is also used as a term of endearment there. I have heard that there is an 'Easy Start' product for car engines there called 'Start Yer Bastard', but I haven't had that confirmed.
There is a famous and true story about the 'Body-Line' cricket tour of Australia in the 1930's (?) when the English captain goes to the Australian captain in the dressing room, to complain that one of the Australian team called one of his men a 'Bastard'. It went as follows:
English captain knocks at the door of the dressing room, and Ozzie captain opens it.
English: "One of your men called one of my men a 'bastard' on the pitch, and I demand an apology".
Australian turns toward the rest of the team in the dressing room:
"Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"