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Hullabaloo


Monday, June 23, 2008

 
Seven Dirty Wordsmith

by digby


I'm sure there are many great obituaries being written about George Carlin and I won't bother to try to compete. Suffice to say that he was one of the original DFH's and proud of it. I used to run into him at the local Starbucks from time. Very natty dresser, low key, fun to chat with.

He was a politically incorrect iconoclast, though, no kumbaaya, "can't we call get along" peace and love stuff. He was a fighter from the beginning. For instance, he was a hardcore, upfront atheist who made no bones about his beliefs (or lack thereof.) And it led to some great bits in recent years, my favorite being when he said that if he went into a hospital and they asked him to sign one of those living wills, he would scream "Hell no! I want you to hook me up to every last machine, every last drug, I want it all!" Funny, but poignant, considering this sad news today.

Carlin was also a First Amendment hero:



Carlin constantly breached the accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the "Seven Words" — all of which are taboo on broadcast TV to this day.

When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail and exonerated when a Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying it was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance.

When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.


George Carlin was a brave, honest, hilarious social observer and there are never enough of those types around. I'll miss him.


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