Say All Seven? Sure, Why Not.

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.

 

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  1. 1
    Barb Ferrer says:

    George was absolutely amazing—to me, as much as his stand up comedy routines were a staple of my high school and college years (we all had Carlin CDs and watched his HBO specials) after I became a parent, I loved that he was enough of a kid himself to do things like be Mr. Conductor for Thomas the Tank Engine and voice characters like Fillmore in Cars.

    That way, it allowed me to share someone I really enjoyed with my kids and not feel like I was totally corrupting them doing so.

    Hope you’re crackin’ ‘em up in the afterlife, George.

  2. 2
    corrine says:

    My favorite was when he would talk about idiot drivers, and the one person who always has their turn signal on. Every time I see someone doing this, I always think “Driving left around the world,”

  3. 3
    MaryKate says:

    Well said, Miss Sarah, well said. I’ll miss George who could evoke a giant gut laugh out of me anytime.

    He’ll be missed.

  4. 4
    LeaF says:

    So sorry to hear about George Carlin’s passing. As you indicate Carlin was a comedy great. We have his book at home and a couple of his videos – enjoying his stand up routines again and again.

    Some 30 years ago, I lived and worked in Los Angeles and had the pleasure of seeing Carlin perform live. His irreverent, profane routine that night addressing issues that were outside what was considered “acceptable” for the times had us laughing until our sides hurt. Carlin really did enjoy “pushing the envelope”.

    “Thomas the Tank Engine”, was a daily ritual in our house when the kids were growing up. They still remember the show today now adults themselves.

    Carlin will be greatly missed.  I hope he has a “fucking” great time in the afterlife….

  5. 5
    Jenns says:

    I was so surprised and so sad when I heard the news this morning.
    I’ve been watching George Carlin since I was somewhere in my teens. I always looked forward to his specials. He was just so brilliant and unafraid.
    He’ll definitely be missed.

  6. 6
    Jan says:

    Carlin was not only laugh till you cry funny, but also one of the brightest minds around. He could see around corners and expose the small hidden agendas and idiosyncracies of life. He turned a blazing spotlight on the way we use and missuse words, loved exposing euphemisms, and pierced the big fat ego ballons of lots of our most public baffoons. He will truly be missed.

  7. 7
    Miri says:

    Bye George, you made me laugh even though time were tough. I owe you one.
    Shit
    Piss
    Fuck
    Cunt
    Cocksucker
    Motherfucker
    Tits

  8. 8
    Nathalie says:

    What Miri said.

    Man, I miss him already.

  9. 9
    Esri Rose says:

    I particularly liked his take on “tits.” How can that be a bad word? It sounds like a snack food. New, Nabisco Tits!

    Goodbye, George. We’ll miss you.

  10. 10
    ev says:

    I had to call my daughter this morning to wake her up for class. she was still half asleep and I knew that this news would be like a bucket of cold water on her. And it was. She adored Carlin. Her first comment after the “Holy Shit” was ” Well, there goes Willie Nelson and George in the election”.

    We spend every day watching Thomas with the grandkids. Too bad they don’t have the ones with him on them.

    Other than the dirty word sketch, he was a very clean comedian. He had so much insight into human nature and the stupid things we do and could show them to us in ways no one else ever did. And made us laugh and piss our pants at ourselves.

    I will be sure to watch Jay Leno tonight to see what he has to say.

    followed86- the 86+ that have followed him will never catch up.

  11. 11
    Annie Oortman says:

    I always think of George when I on the airplane and they say those famous words… “come to a complete stop” and “whatever your final destination.”

    Miss you, weatherman

  12. 12
    Wryhag says:

    This brilliant man made as great a contribution to language use and understanding as our best writers.  I’ve revered him for decades.  His insights and humor are irreplaceable, and I’m deeply saddened by his loss.

    Now, George, leave all that stuff behind and go fucking enjoy yourmotherfuckingself.

  13. 13
    CourtneyLee says:

    I was so sad to hear of his passing. His acerbic wit never failed to entertain and enlighten me. I’ll always remember one phrase of his that to this day is why I’m so uptight about language: “We speak in language and we think in language, so the quality of our thoughts can only be as high as the quality of our language.” That was said during his take on euphamisms, which was hilarious as well as apt.

    And I loved how he shrunk the ten commandments down to just two, especially “thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.”

  14. 14
    Melissa says:

    I’m too old to remember him as Mr. Conductor, but I still miss the Hippy Dippy Weatherman he used to play on the Flip Wilson Show.  Not to mention his HBO specials in the 80’s, and his role as Rufus in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    Rest in Peace, George.

  15. 15

    Sad news indeed! Seeing George Carlin live was definitely a highlight of my comedy experiences. The man was funny like so few are, and he was very much adored in this household.  And how I loved him in Jay and Bob Strike Back among so many other things. He really made that movie for me, though.

    That said, “tits” is a bad word!? The others I get, but I didn’t realize I have such a potty mouth. I mean I use “tits” all the time. I would always rather have tits than “boobs” or “boobies.”  “Boobs” just makes me sound like I have a couple of idiots strapped to my chest. “Hey, look at my boobs, they’re running for office!”

    Signore Carlin, go with grace and go with the tits!

  16. 16

    That should be Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

  17. 17
    KCfla says:

    If I may share a family memory-

    My father was not the type of guy that (literally) “LOL’ed”. He would smile if he thought things were funny. Laugh out loud? Nope, not very often.

    He LOL’d at Carlin.

    One of the last days spent together before he passed, we watched Mr. Carlin’s Carnegie Hall concert, in which he expanded his infamous ” 7 dirty words list”. Can you imagine – me a 19 yr. old girl being asked by her father what a “Mongolian Clusterf@ck” was?????? ( I was in college he said- he thought I’d know?!)

    Thank you Mr. Carlin, for giving me a last(ing) memory of my father that was both funny and touching.

    I’m sure Dad’s lining up for front row tickets for your first performance up there as we speak.

    R.I.P

  18. 18
    Terri_Molina says:

    Such a loss!!  George will definitely be missed!  He’s one of a very few comedians who I’ll stop everything to watch! 

    And, yeah, his routine about too much stuff is still one of my all time favorites!

  19. 19
    SonomaLass says:

    I

    <3 George Carlin, and so do all my kids. We will miss him so much! I lost count of the number of copies of

    Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? that were under the Christmas tree two years ago.

    Various lines from his comedy routines crop up in our daily conversation (“there is no blue food” is frequent, right up there with “Honey, is this good?” every time someone digs through the leftovers in the fridge).  We loved him as Mr. Conductor, and when they became teens and college students, they learned from and laughed at him just as I had done at that age.  I, too, learned to love Carlin from my father, and I gleefully shared him with my own kids.  We can (and do) chant the seven words, followed by the riff about tits and the list of words (balls, ass, prick) that depend on context.

    Remember, you can say “ass” if the redeemer is riding one into Jerusalem, and on network television, “you can prick your finger, but you can’t finger your prick”!  RIP, George.

  20. 20
    Chicklet says:

    When my stepdad married my mom (I was 11), he brought with him Carlin’s album An Evening with Wally Longo, which I proceeded to listen to approximately 173,362,904 times. In addition to an iteration of “Baseball vs. Football,” it contained this excellent line:

    A California scientist has won a Nobel Prize for discovering a new number. That number is bleen, which he claims belongs between six and seven.

    RIP, George.

  21. 21
    Jen C says:

    Shit!  I loved George Carlin for being awesome.  He was a proud and out atheist, which I respect, and he said many awesome things about the Bible that would probably get him arrested if Dubya could arrange it.

  22. 22
    amy lane says:

    I will always love Carlin for saying that “Swearing is playing with language.  If you do it right, it doesn’t mean you’re mentally deficient, it means you’re damned good with words.”  (May George forgive me for mangling that so horribly.) 

    He was right.  He’s been right about a big damn lot of stuff, and anything he was wrong about, he could have giving a flying monkey-shit.  What’s not to miss?

    Not a damned thing.

  23. 23
    ev says:

    We drove into Atlantic City today and there was a huge billboard advertising an upcoming show in July with George. I wanted to cry.

    then I wanted to take the picture of him on it home with me. Think they will notice it missing?

  24. 24

    His “stuff” routine was one of my favorites too. He will be missed.

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