Earlier this week George Carlin (1937-2008), a noted counter-culture comedian passed away. For fans of stand up comedy Carlin’s career needs no introduction but Carlin is, perhaps, best known for his Seven Words you will never hear on television.
For law types George Carlin’s career wound it’s way through the U.S. Supreme Court and he became known as free speech icon. In October of 1973 a New York City radio station played the entire length of Carlin’s standup routine “Filthy Words” which was heard by a father driving in his car with his son. The father in question complained to the FCC and the odyssey had begun. I had intended on chronicling the entire ordeal here, but I think it is more fitting to redirect you George Carlin’s own website where, if you select the 70’s timeline you can read it as chronicled by George Carlin himself. There are specific dates but read the entire decade for a bit of fun. In short this case established the FCC’s right to ban certain words from broadcast on public airwaves during hours when children might be listening and established a definition of indecent, but not obscene, material. In a certain sense Carlin could be viewed as the godfather of cable TV.
The Seven Words (in bold, transcript of what was played on the air).