Thursday, December 1, 2022

Almost All in the Family

Freedom of speech is sacred. Needless to say it's one of the key elements of democracy. George Carlin gave his “Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television Monologue” comprised of “shit,” “piss,” “fuck,” “cunt,” “cucksucker” and “motherfucker.” Carlin pushed the limits in his own time. If he were alive today, he would undoubtedly have been #MeTooed. Like Roe Wade, the freedoms won by comedians like Carlin, Dick Gregory and Lenny Bruce now are under attack by the thought police. But so-called "free speech" does propose problems that might not have been foreseen by the likes of Henry Miller, Hubert Selby, or Charles Bukowski. Elon Musk is currently defying the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes decision about “crying fire.” Trump has been reinstated, along with numerous banned for their hate speech. Can one believe in free speech and still address the question of limits? When Archie Bunker referred to his wife Edith as a “dingbat,” he was plainly not being lionized for the freedom of insult. Still proliferating certain words gives them a currency. Archie was a sexist, but he was also Carroll O’Connor. If Carroll O’Connor is allowed  to call his leading lady a "dingbat" then a Pandora’s Box of possibilities opens up. You call someone a “dingbat” time after time, even in jest, and you begin to think, it's OK--or even true.

read "The Absence of Presence" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "7 Words You Can't Say on TV" by George Carlin

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