Thursday, November 29, 2012

George Carlin’s 7 Words Revisited

Photo by Bonnie from Kendall Park, N.J.
George Carlin did a famous routine in which he talked about “Seven Words You Could Never Say on Television." They were “shit, piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits.” Tout ca change, tout c’est la meme chose. That was back in l972 and you can hear all of them on public access and on  cable, but maybe only one on the networks or anywhere else for that matter--the lonely “piss.” You’d be hard put to find much push back about a cop telling his partner he has to take a piss on Law and Order: SVU. Motherfucker is not popular amongst classicists since what Oedipus did is still a touchy subject. Proctologists find shit offensive since it’s dismissive of an activity they’ve spend a lifetime studying, defecation. Cocksucker is disliked by its practitioners since it takes an activity, fellatio, which is considered to be an expression of love, and turns it into an expletive. Fuck is still a hard one to sell. How many times have we heard “is all he or she does is want to fuck?” as if he or she are doing something bad. It’s rare to hear a male or female complaining about their partner and saying “is all he or she does is want to have sexual intercourse.” Tits is another one. “Sweetie, you have really nice tits” is offensive to some woman who find tit to be a fetishistic objectification of the word breast which they deem more noble. Naturally the best is saved for last. Cunt is still the mother of all offensive words, despite its superiority to the often wrongly used vagina. Cunt encompasses the whole female genitalia while vagina, for example, really just refers to the inside. Even though pussy was not on Carlin’s list for the obvious reason that the networks could never have taken a word referring to an infant cat off the air, only pussy creates as much controversy. Prick didn’t make Carlin’s list for the same reason, but you’re better off calling a guy a cunt rather than a prick, if you really want to be insulting.

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