Monday, June 23, 2008

Rest Peacefully, George Carlin

image copyright New York Times

Comic George Carlin passed away this weekend at the age of 71. I think he was one of those few comics that appealed to both parents and their teenagers in the 70’s. His obituary is here.

Below is part of his classic bit on “The Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television.” The first time I heard it I laughed so hard I almost peed in my pants.

I love words. I thank you for hearing my words.

I want to tell you something about words that I think is important. They're my work, they're my play, they're my passion. Words are all we have, really. We have thoughts but thoughts are fluid. Then we assign a word to a thought and we're stuck with that word for that thought, so be careful with words. I like to think that the same words that hurt can heal. It is a matter of how you pick them.

There are some people that are not into all the words.

There are some that would have you not use certain words.

There are 400,000 words in the English language and there are 7of them you can't say on television. What a ratio that is. 399,993 to 7. They must really be bad. They'd have to be outrageous to be separated from a group that large. All of you over here, you 7 Bad Words. That's what they told us they were, remember?

"That's a bad word!" No bad words, bad thoughts, bad intentions, and words. You know the 7—don't you?—that you can't say on television?

"Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits"

Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that'll infect your soul, curve your spine, and keep the country from winning the war. "Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits" Wow!

...and Tits doesn't even belong on the list. That is such a friendly sounding word. It sounds like a nickname, right? "Hey, Tits, come here, man. Hey Tits, meet Toots. Toots, Tits. Tits, Toots." It sounds like a snack, doesn't it? Yes, I know, it is a snack. I don't mean your sexist snack. I mean New Nabisco Tits!, and new Cheese Tits, Corn Tits, Pizza Tits, Sesame Tits, Onion Tits, Tater Tits. "Betcha Can't Eat Just One." That's true. I usually switch off. But I mean, that word does not belong on the list.

Actually none of the words belong on the list, but you can understand why some of them are there. I'm not completely insensitive to people's feelings. I can understand why some of those words got on the list, like Cocksucker and Motherfucker. Those are heavyweight words. There is a lot going on there. Besides the literal translation and the emotional feeling. I mean, they're just busy words. There's a lot of syllables to contend with. And those Ks, those are aggressive sounds. They just jump out at you like "coCKsuCKer, motherfuCKer. coCKsuCKer, motherfuCKer."

It's like an assault on you. We mentioned Shit earlier, and 2 of the other 4-letter Anglo-Saxon words are Piss and Cunt, which go together of course. A little accidental humor there. The reason that Piss and Cunt are on the list is because a long time ago, there were certain ladies that said "Those are the 2 I am not going to say. I don't mind Fuck and Shit but 'P' and 'C' are out.", which led to such stupid sentences as "Okay you fuckers, I'm going to tinckle now."

And, of course, the word Fuck. I don't really, well that's more accidental humor, I don't wanna get into that now because I think it takes to long. But I do mean that. I think the word Fuck is a very important word. It is the beginning of life, yet it is a word we use to hurt one another quite often. People much wiser than I am said, "I'd rather have my son watch a film with 2 people making love than 2 people trying to kill one another. I, of course, can agree. It is a great sentence. I wish I knew who said it first. I agree with that but I like to take it a step further. I'd like to substitute the word Fuck for the word Kill in all of those movie clichés we grew up with. "Okay, Sherriff, we're gonna Fuck you now, but we're gonna Fuck you slow."


Evil Gay Lawyer said...

My favorite semi-quote (since I don't know the exact) of George's was, "People wash their hands too much they don't want to get germs. I don't mind germs, I have an immune system and my immune system is strong. Therefore I only wash my hands when I shit on them, which only happens three-four times a day!"

He will be missed. Especially for the time he spent doing Thomas and Friends on tv!

Michele said...

Awesome post, Chris, thanks. I hear so much about the "seven words" but had forgotten what they were. Does anyone even say "cocksucker" anymore? I never hear that one.

I was so surprised by the news of George's death. He certainly will be missed.

Chris said...

I love the word "cocksucker"! My personal favorite right now is "douche-bag". (Rolls off the tongue!)