Back to Amazon.com

WootBot


quality posts: 17 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

We live in an increasingly unfunny world, which might be why comedy is booming in our culture like never before. Today, every ad tries to be funny, every politician tries to be funny. Many of us get our news from comedy shows , if we haven't already been filled in by the day's viral tweets and Facebook memes. Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings has a new book out about our comedy-first culture, called Planet Funny, which is on sale now, so we've asked him to spend June debunking some popular misconceptions about humor and comedy. He'll be here all month! Tip your waitress.

The Debunker: Were There "Seven Dirty Words" You Couldn't Say on Television?

George Carlin was one of the most gifted and beloved comedians to come out of the counterculture era of the 1960s. Carlin recorded nineteen comedy albums, appeared in fourteen HBO specials, and wrote three best-selling books. His mix of black comedy, social critique, and wordplay is still regarded with reverence by stand-ups and comedy fans today, a decade after his death. But to the wider public, especially in his generation, Carlin was more famous for a single comedy bit: his "filthy words" routine. And perhaps rightly so: the legal wrangling over the routine's broadcast became a landmark Supreme Court case, the first ever to take on the FCC's regulations on indecency.

The Debunker

In the act, Carlin famously (and off-handedly) rattles off the list of seven words you can't say on television, and they're exactly the four-letter words you'd expect. The routine is so famous today that most listeners probably assume that Carlin, a TV comedy veteran who appeared on The Tonight Show over one hundred times during his career, was reporting actual network policy. In fact, that's not true. The FCC used a much vaguer standard for profanity (basically, no "obscene" material at any time, and no "indecent" material before 10 p.m., with profanity defined merely as language so "grossly offensive" that it becomes a "nuisance") and network standards and practices departments did not have a list whittled down to seven specific words.

Carlin seems to have been inspired by a nine-word list of taboo words that Lenny Bruce said, in a 1966 routine, had gotten him arrested. Carlin left "ass" and "balls" off his own list, presumably because there were TV contexts in which those words were okay. ("Ass," like "bitch," might be acceptable if referring to animal husbandry, and sports announcers said "balls" all the time.) But there's no way his list is a complete compendium of the no-no words—TV was pretty strict in the early 1970s. In 1960, Jack Paar had stomped off the set of his show because censors wouldn't let him tell a joke in which a toilet is euphemistically called a "W.C." As late as 2006, the doctors on Grey's Anatomy were not allowed to say "vagina" in a childbirth scene. (A decision that gave the world a great gift: the word "vajayjay.") So there's no way that the no-fly list in 1972 was just seven words. Carlin's list doesn't include "asshole" or "goddamn," for example. He seems to have chosen his words more for comedy rhythm than accuracy. The f-word and "motherf__er" are included as two separate words—a cheat, perhaps, but the joke, he found, didn't land without the longer word.

After a New York radio station aired "Seven Words" in 1973, Carlin's routine went all the way to the Supreme Court and the FCC's decency regulations were upheld 5-4 as not violating the First Amendment. Ironically, this cemented his (essentially made-up) list as a de facto legal standard for TV obscenity for decades! Today, little has changed. "Piss" can now be said on broadcast TV without comment, and a couple of the others sometimes squeeze past the censors. But for the most part, forty-five years later, George Carlin's list is still as @#$%ing relevant as ever.

Quick Quiz: What basic cable drama series, which has the highest viewership of any show in cable TV history, got the okay in 2017 to start using the "f-word" in its eighth season?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

pacratflt


quality posts: 0 Private Messages pacratflt

I went to a George Carlin show in Norfolk, VA in the late 1970's.

He was truly a gifted comic who gave the first hour of his show without taking a break for water. His routine was funny, as always. He pushed the envelope with the "Seven Dirty Words You Can Not Say On Television." The audience loved him and he used the "F" word freely...like going to the grocery store and needing a "food loan" to check out, and finding that a ham cost $7.00, he said, "F---" ham and put it back on the shelf."

Now we can say almost every word the censors did not permit back then, and when they still will not permit the "Mother F---er" to be used, it has withstood the test of time. However, in the black comics shows, they use it without censorship. Using the letter "F" for the four-letter word offends me, so just say it and move on.
FU2 says the same thing.

Now we can say "Pisses me off," without censorship.

We are using words like "Cajones" (Spanish) in place of "Balls" and no one cares. Ass is common these days,Redd Foxx used it and the "N" word was common too.

A "Captain Phasma" is still a female dog.

If we feel that words are offensive, then simply do not go to places where they are the local jargon. I grew up in the days when blacks called each other "N", and we white folks understood that it was just their way of speaking about a person of lower standing.


When someone says, "Your mama," we know that also means the same level of expression.

Our "Freedom of Speech" said nothing about offensive words when we established the laws in this country. If we can just accept life and the language of the people and let people speak freely and without censorship, then so be it.

As Clark Gable said in "Gone with the Wind," "I don't give a damn," then let it be said and turn a deaf ear to the things that offend you.

A "cuss word" is what it really means, a "curse word" means that some thing bad should come your way.
Use it properly, not as a substitute.

This is still a "free country."
Dave Casey
[MOD: removed email address]

pacratflt


quality posts: 0 Private Messages pacratflt
pacratflt wrote:I went to a George Carlin show in Norfolk, VA in the late 1970's.

He was truly a gifted comic who gave the first hour of his show without taking a break for water. His routine was funny, as always. He pushed the envelope with the "Seven Dirty Words You Can Not Say On Television." The audience loved him and he used the "F" word freely...like going to the grocery store and needing a "food loan" to check out, and finding that a ham cost $7.00, he said, "F---" ham and put it back on the shelf."

Now we can say almost every word the censors did not permit back then, and when they still will not permit the "Mother F---er" to be used, it has withstood the test of time. However, in the black comics shows, they use it without censorship. Using the letter "F" for the four-letter word offends me, so just say it and move on.
FU2 says the same thing.

Now we can say "Pisses me off," without censorship.

We are using words like "Cajones" (Spanish) in place of "Balls" and no one cares. Ass is common these days,Redd Foxx used it and the "N" word was common too.

A Captain Phasma is still a female dog.

If we feel that words are offensive, then simply do not go to places where they are the local jargon. I grew up in the days when blacks called each other "N", and we white folks understood that it was just their way of speaking about a person of lower standing.


When someone says, "Your mama," we know that also means the same level of expression.

Our "Freedom of Speech" said nothing about offensive words when we established the laws in this country. If we can just accept life and the language of the people and let people speak freely and without censorship, then so be it.

As Clark Gable said in "Gone with the Wind," "I don't give a damn," then let it be said and turn a deaf ear to the things that offend you.

A "cuss word" is what it really means, a "curse word" means that some thing bad should come your way.
Use it properly, not as a substitute.

This is still a "free country."
Dave Casey



pacratflt


quality posts: 0 Private Messages pacratflt

The censors changed the original word for a female dog, a "Captain Phasma." to words of their own choosing.

That "pisses me off."
Dave Casey
[MOD: removed email address]

qazxswe


quality posts: 18 Private Messages qazxswe
pacratflt wrote:The censors changed the original word for a female dog, a "Captain Phasma." to words of their own choosing.

That "pisses me off."
Dave Casey



Woot has filters for quite a few things.

Also, not really sure why you're also posting an email address.

There is what to learn from the potato.

moles1138


quality posts: 49 Private Messages moles1138

Is the answer "The Walking Dead"?

I tend not to notice anymore.

crythias


quality posts: 6 Private Messages crythias

Is "Archer" a Drama? And they're in their 9th season now but in 2017 ... I think there was some discussion about an uncensored f-bomb.

SylvreKat


quality posts: 44 Private Messages SylvreKat

My very fave Carlin was a Tonight Show appearance, when he rattled off his Seven Words...backwards. And laughed gleefully while saying "Right now your censors are up in the booth going 'Do we edit those? Or not?'!!"

>'Kat

+1 +1+1+4 +3 +1 +2