Jun 25, 2008

Cursing in His Honor

Fck The Movie George Carlin once said “So my name is a footnote in American history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of”.

He was obviously talking about FCC v. Pacifica, the 1978 case in which the Court decided that FCC sanctions could be invoked against a radio broadcast of words dealing with sex and execration, even if those words aren’t obscene.

For those who are not from the the US, the case arose out of a Carlin monologue, played at 2:00 p.m. on a weekday afternoon by Pacifica’s FM licensee in New York, that discussed at length the words shit and fuck. When upholding the constitutionality of the sanctions, the court expressed that : “Patently offensive, indecent material presented over the airwaves confronts the citizen, not only in public, but also in the privacy of the home, where the individual’s right to be left alone plainly outweighs the First Amendment rights of an intruder.” Since then, some words are restricted to a specific time slot and he had a whole special about the 7 words that you can't say in radio or TV.

Now that he passed away, I hope that we can remember him by his lessons, rather than by his legal issues. From my point of view, he tried to teach us something that goes beyond "bad" words, being that lesson "do not be afraid of words".

Me, I am a natural curser. Ninety nine percent of the time I use those words against myself, when I forget about something important, when I make a mistake or something really frustrates me. I rarely use them against someone, mainly because if I want to really offend someone "bad words" are meaningless for me. If I want to offend you or hurt you, I will call you an ignorant, an idiot or a liar, probably because those are the words that would really offend me. So I find cursing a healthy habit: I vent, I get rid of my frustration, I move on.

Words are what you made of them. By themselves they mean very little, maybe what is in the dicationary, but their real meaning is given by the context, the intention and your interpretation.

The right words can enrich any description and a poor use of words can dim any good idea. Your ability with words also says a lot about you (think Bush!) but the truth is that there are no "good" or "bad" words. There are good and bad intentions and good or bad interpretations. Great comedians and good copywriters know about that more than anyone and Carlin was a master in his usage of words. No matter what words he was using, good or bad ones, his main intention was always a good one: he was compelling us to think by ourselves, to analyze things from a different point of view.

And in his honor, I have to say that when I learnt about his death, my first thought was "Shit, why him and not O´Reilly instead?". It really pissed me off because it is so fucking unfair! (sigh) He was a good and bright man. I will surely miss the motherfucker...

You may not like my words but I know he would appreciate my sincerity.

PS: The image at the top is from the "four letter film" a documentary around the f-word in case you are interested.

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