As I learned recently, you, or I, can say “bitch” on the radio and the FCC won’t come after you. But there are, as many fans of comedy know, seven words you can’t say. We Bitches are big fans of words you can’t say. From the mellifluous syllables of “cuntmonkey” to new and enjoyable derivatives of “shit” and “fuck,” we Bitches, we like the dirty language. I mean, come on. Our site title in and of itself is all about undermining the dominant assumptions about individual members of our lexicon. We love words, and we really, really love bad words.
So I’m sad this morning to learn that George Carlin, who was once arrested for disturbing the peace because of his routine about the “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television,” died Sunday of heart failure at age 71. Carlin’s case following the arrest in 1972 was ultimately heard before the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 that “the sketch was ‘indecent but not obscene,’” which created a solid foundation for the FCC to “determine what constituted indecency on the airwaves.” The FCC’s cause against indecency continues today – just ask Eric Idle. Of the case Carlin said,
So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of,” Carlin said. “In the context of that era, it was daring.”
“It just sounds like a very self-serving kind of word. I don’t want to go around describing myself as a ‘groundbreaker’ or a ‘difference-maker’ because I’m not and I wasn’t,” he said. “But I contributed to people who were saying things that weren’t supposed to be said.”
Aside from vocabulary and decency issues, I loved Carlin’s comedy routines, particularly the one where he talks about having too much stuff. I think about that and giggle every time I try to pack up the family and it takes an act of congress to move us around, what with all the crap we carry around.
So long, sir. Thanks for cracking me up.