Monday, June 23, 2008

The man who helped defined censorship in the US, dies

George Carlin never meant to become the centre of a court case on freedom of speech in the USA, but he did with his famous "seven dirty words" which wikipedia summarises rather well (and yes the words are there). In fact the whole famous monologue is in a transcript here (at a law school website no less).

They form the basis of the seven words that are prohibited from US BROADCAST television (i.e. over the airwaves, not cable) and even today two of those words are not an issue during "adult" broadcast hours.

However, George was about being funny, and provocative. He sought to highlight the absurdity of offence being drawn purely about words, rather than context. I heard him often in the 1980s on Radio Active's (in Wellington) comedy show on Thursday evenings (back when regulated radio offered few choices), and he was sometimes shocking but more often just hilarious. Yes he was leftwing, he was no objectivist at all. However his challenge on free speech, he deserves some applause and besides, if all anyone with leftwing inclinations did was make jokes we would all be in a better world. He passed away yesterday of a heart attack.

If you are easily offended then don't read further, for below is a segment of his famous monologue - it's about the word that really isn't the most obscene in the English language, but isn't far short. Yes it is childish, yes it is unnecessary, but I really don't care.... you have been warned, don't read any further....


The big one, the word fuck that's the one that hangs them up the most. Cause in a lot of cases that's the very act that hangs them up the most. So, it's natural that the word would, uh, have the same effect. It's a great word, fuck, nice word, easy word, cute word, kind of. Easy word to say. One syllable, short u..... Fuck.... You know, it's easy. Starts with a nice soft sound fuh ends with a kuh. Right?....A little something for everyone. Fuck. Good word. Kind of a proud word, too. Who are you? I am FUCK. FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. Tune in again next week to FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. It's an interesting word too, cause it's got a double kind of a life -- personality -- dual, you know, whatever the right phrase is. It leads a double life, the word fuck. First of all, it means, sometimes, most of the time, fuck. What does it mean? It means to make love. Right? We're going to make love, yeh, we're going to fuck, yeh, we're going to fuck, yeh, we're going to make love. we're really going to fuck, yeah, we're going to make love. Right? And it also means the beginning of life, it's the act that begins life, so there's the word hanging around with words like love, and life, and yet on the other hand, it's also a word that we really use to hurt each other with, man. It's a heavy. It's one that you have toward the end of the argument. Right? You finally can't make out. Oh, fuck you man. I said, fuck you... Stupid fuck....Fuck you and everybody that looks like you..... man. It would be nice to change the movies that we already have and substitute the word fuck for the word kill, wherever we could, and some of those movie cliches would change a little bit. Madfuckers still on the loose. Stop me before I fuck again. Fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump. Easy on the clutch Bill, you'll fuck that engine again.

and for those of you for whom this isn't enough, here is 2443 dirty words.

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