Five and Change: Seven Dirty Words


Today is December 12, 2008, and this is Five and Change.

Today’s episode is a bit different; this isn’t so much a current event.  This year, 2008, a great performer passed away.  His name was George Carlin.  He’s best known for one of his comic routines, known as the Seven Words.

I’m not going to repeat the words for you, because if I’ve done my job as a parent, you know it’s not nice to say those words in polite company.  Hopefully, though, I have also taught you that there is a time and a place to use those words.  I know that whether or not you exercise them carefully, you’ll definitely find occasion to use them.

Part of the idea of this act was to highlight the silliness of the existence of the words.  To this day, the seven words he refers to are not allowed to be broadcast on network television, or radio.  They are considered obscene and offensive speech, and as such, are not protected in those mediums.

This act, to me, meant that not only was Carlin a comic, he was something of a thinker and artist as well.  I’m not going to play for you a part of his act, though.  Instead, I’m going to play a piece of an interview he did with the Archive of American Television.  He’s fairly aged at this point – the interview was done in 2007.  It’s interesting because he elaborates on his process, and his thinking as he still develops.

So I’ll leave you with Carlin.  This has been Five and Change, I’m Paul DeLeeuw, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.

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