7 Dirty Words - Exploring Constitutional Conflicts - Indecent Speech & the First Amendment
7 Dirty words performed by George Carlin


The following is a verbatim transcript of "Filthy Words" (the George Carlin monologue at issue in the Supreme Court case of FCC v. Pacifica Foundation) prepared by the Federal Communications Commission:
Aruba-du, ruba-tu, ruba-tu. I was thinking about the curse words and the swear words, the cuss words and the words that you can't say, that you're not supposed to say all the time, ['cause] words or people into words want to hear your words. Some guys like to record your words and sell them back to you if they can, (laughter) listen in on the telephone, write down what words you say. A guy who used to be in Washington knew that his phone was tapped, used to answer, Fuck Hoover, yes, go ahead. (laughter) Okay, I was thinking one night about the words you couldn't say on the public, ah, airwaves, um, the ones you definitely wouldn't say, ever, [']cause I heard a lady say bitch one night on television, and it was cool like she was talking about, you know, ah, well, the bitch is the first one to notice that in the litter Johnie right (murmur) Right. And, uh, bastard you can say, and hell and damn so I have to figure out which ones you couldn't and ever and it came down to seven but the list is open to amendment, and in fact, has been changed, uh, by now, ha, a lot of people pointed things out to me, and I noticed some myself. The original seven words were, shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the ones that will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and (laughter) maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor (laughter) um, and a bourbon. (laughter) And now the first thing that we noticed was that word fuck was really repeated in there because the word motherfucker is a compound word and it's another form of the word fuck. (laughter) You want to be a purist it doesn't really -- it can't be on the list of basic words. Also, cocksucker is a compound word and neither half of that is really dirty. The word -- the half sucker that's merely suggestive (laughter) and the word cock is a half-way dirty word, 50% dirty -- dirty half the time, depending on what you mean by it. (laughter) Uh, remember when you first heard it, like in 6th grade, you used to giggle. And the cock crowed three times, heh (laughter) the cock -- three times. It's in the Bible, cock in the Bible. (laughter) And the first time you heard about a cock-fight, remember -- What? Huh? naw. It ain't that, are you stupid? man. (laughter, clapping) It's chickens, you know, (laughter) Then you have the four letter words from the old Anglo-Saxon fame. Uh, shit and fuck. The word shit, uh, is an interesting kind of word in that the middle class has never really accepted it and approved it. They use it like, crazy but it's not really okay. It's still a rude, dirty, old kind of gushy word. (laughter) They don't like that, but they say it, like, they say it like, a lady now in a middle-class home, you'll hear most of the time she says it as an expletive, you know, it's out of her mouth before she knows. She says, Oh shit oh shit, (laughter) oh shit. If she drops something, Oh, the shit hurt the broccoli. Shit. Thank you. (footsteps fading away) (papers ruffling)

Read it! (from audience)

Shit! (laughter) I won the Grammy, man, for the comedy album. Isn't that groovy? (clapping, whistling) (murmur) That's true. Thank you. Thank you man. Yeah. (murmur) (continuous clapping) Thank you man. Thank you. Thank you very much, man. Thank, no, (end of continuous clapping) for that and for the Grammy, man, [']cause (laughter) that's based on people liking it man, yeh, that's ah, that's okay man. (laughter) Let's let that go, man. I got my Grammy. I can let my hair hang down now, shit. (laughter) Ha! So! Now the word shit is okay for the man. At work you can say it like crazy. Mostly figuratively, Get that shit out of here, will ya? I don't want to see that shit anymore. I can't cut that shit, buddy. I've had that shit up to here. I think you're full of shit myself. (laughter) He don't know shit from Shinola. (laughter) you know that? (laughter) Always wondered how the Shinola people feel about that (laughter) Hi, I'm the new man from Shinola. (laughter) Hi, how are ya? Nice to see ya. (laughter) How are ya? (laughter) Boy, I don't know whether to shit or wind my watch. (laughter) Guess, I'll shit on my watch. (laughter) Oh, the shit is going to hit de fan. (laughter) Built like a brick shit-house. (laughter) Up, he's up shit's creek. (laughter) He's had it. (laughter) He hit me, I'm sorry. (laughter) Hot shit, holy shit, tough shit, eat shit, (laughter) shit-eating grin. Uh, whoever thought of that was ill. (murmur laughter) He had a shit-eating grin! He had a what? (laughter) Shit on a stick. (laughter) Shit in a handbag. I always like that. He ain't worth shit in a handbag. (laughter) Shitty. He acted real shitty. (laughter) You know what I mean? (laughter) I got the money back, but a real shitty attitude. Heh, he had a shit-fit. (laughter) Wow! Shit-fit. Whew! Glad I wasn't there. (murmur, laughter) All the animals -- Bull shit, horse shit, cow shit, rat shit, bat shit. (laughter) First time I heard bat shit, I really came apart. A guy in Oklahoma, Boggs, said it, man. Aw! Bat shit. (laughter) Vera reminded me of that last night, ah (murmur). Snake shit, slicker than owl shit. (laughter) Get your shit together. Shit or get off the pot. (laughter) I got a shit-load full of them. (laughter) I got a shit-pot full, all right. Shit-head, shit-heel, shit in your heart, shit for brains, (laughter) shit-face, heh (laughter) I always try to think how that could have originated; the first guy that said that. Somebody got drunk and fell in some shit, you know. (laughter) Hey, I'm shit-face. (laughter) Shitface, today. (laughter) Anyway, enough of that shit. (laughter) The big one, the word fuck that's the one that hangs them up the most. [']Cause in a lot of cases that's the very act that hangs them up the most. So, it's natural that the word would, uh, have the same effect. It's a great word, fuck, nice word, easy word, cute word, kind of. Easy word to say. One syllable, short u. (laughter) Fuck. (Murmur) You know, it's easy. Starts with a nice soft sound fuh ends with a kuh. Right? (laughter) A little something for everyone. Fuck (laughter) Good word. Kind of a proud word, too. Who are you? I am FUCK. (laughter) FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. (laughter) Tune in again next week to FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. (laughter) It's an interesting word too, [']cause it's got a double kind of a life -- personality -- dual, you know, whatever the right phrase is. It leads a double life, the word fuck. First of all, it means, sometimes, most of the time, fuck. What does it mean? It means to make love. Right? We're going to make love, yeh, we're going to fuck, yeh, we're going to fuck, yeh, we're going to make love. (laughter) we're really going to fuck, yeah, we're going to make love. Right? And it also means the beginning of life, it's the act that begins life, so there's the word hanging around with words like love, and life, and yet on the other hand, it's also a word that we really use to hurt each other with, man. It's a heavy. It's one that you have toward the end of the argument. (laughter) Right? (laughter) You finally can't make out. Oh, fuck you man. I said, fuck you. (laughter, murmur) Stupid fuck. (laughter) Fuck you and everybody that looks like you. (laughter) man. It would be nice to change the movies that we already have and substitute the word fuck for the word kill, wherever we could, and some of those movie cliches would change a little bit. Madfuckers still on the loose. Stop me before I fuck again. Fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump. Easy on the clutch Bill, you'll fuck that engine again. (laughter) The other shit one was, I don't give a shit. Like it's worth something, you know? (laughter) I don't give a shit. Hey, well, I don't take no shit, (laughter) you know what I mean? You know why I don't take no shit? (laughter) [']Cause I don't give a shit. (laughter) If I give a shit, I would have to pack shit. (laughter) But I don't pack no shit cause I don't give a shit. (laughter) You wouldn't shit me, would you? (laughter) That's a joke when you're a kid with a worm looking out the bird's ass. You wouldn't shit me, would you? (laughter) It's an eight-year-old joke but a good one. (laughter) The additions to the list. I found three more words that had to be put on the list of words you could never say on television, and they were fart, turd and twat, those three. (laughter) Fart, we talked about, it's harmless It's like tits, it's a cutie word, no problem. Turd, you can't say but who wants to, you know? (laughter) The subject never comes up on the panel so I'm not worried about that one. Now the word twat is an interesting word. Twat! Yeh, right in the twat. (laughter) Twat is an interesting word because it's the only one I know of, the only slang word applying to the, a part of the sexual anatomy that doesn't have another meaning to it. Like, ah, snatch, box and pussy all have other meanings, man. Even in a Walt Disney movie, you can say, We're going to snatch that pussy and put him in a box and bring him on the airplane. (murmur, laughter) Everybody loves it. The twat stands alone, man, as it should. And two-way words. Ah, ass is okay providing you're riding into town on a religious feast day. (laughter) You can't say, up your ass. (laughter) You can say, stuff it! (murmur) There are certain things you can say its weird but you can just come so close. Before I cut, I, uh, want to, ah, thank you for listening to my words, man, fellow, uh space travelers. Thank you man for tonight and thank you also. (clapping whistling)

Mark Mayo's web spot

The Seven Dirty Words

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.
Wow! If you're American, according to the FCC guidelines you have just committed a federal crime, an act of civil disobedience that renders you (and me if I were American) liable to a $250,000 fine and a jail sentence for having transmitted "indecent" material over the Internet. Have a pleasant day.

Of course, I'm Canadian, so I can't go to jail for putting these 7 dirty words on a web page, although I guess the US government could charge me for exporting them into America, and the spineless Canadian government would probably not do much to prevent it...


Seven Dirty Words
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Ten things you may not know about images on Wikipedia •Jump to: navigation, search
The seven dirty words are seven English words comedian George Carlin listed in his monologue "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television", released in 1972 on his album Class Clown. At the time, the words were generally considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for use on the public airwaves in the United States, particularly on over-the-air television and AM/FM radio stations. Current practice is to allow the statement to stand but bleep - censor the actual word.

In many other western countries, such as Australia, and to a lesser extent Great Britain, this practice does not stand and these statements are allowed on air un-altered, but are instead subject to a system of self regulation, whereby the intended audience and timeslot of the program are taken into account when fomulating profanity policies. For example, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, one of the two public broadcasters in Australia) rarely broadcasts these words on its Classic FM radio station, where as on Triple J, its youth radio station, these words freely pass and are rarely censored.

On his next album, 1973's Occupation: Foole, Carlin did a similar routine titled "Filthy Words," dealing with the same list and many of the same themes. This version was broadcast by Pacifica radio station WBAI, which eventually led to a Supreme Court case, FCC v. Pacifica Foundation (1978), that helped define acceptable free speech limits on broadcast television and radio in the United States.

In 1972, comedian George Carlin was arrested for indecency when he performed the "Seven Dirty Words" at a show in Wisconsin. In 1973, Carlin recorded a monologue known as "Filthy Words" containing seven obscenities. The Pacifica radio station WBAI-FM broadcast it uncensored on October 30 of the same year. A man driving in the car with his son heard the broadcast and complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because he was unhappy his son had heard it.

Following the lodging of the complaint, the FCC proceeded to ask Pacifica for a response, then issued a declaratory order upholding the complaint. No specific sanctions were included in the order, but WBAI was put on notice that "in the event subsequent complaints are received, the Commission will then decide whether it should utilize any of the available sanctions it has been granted by Congress."

Pacifica appealed against this decision, which was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The FCC in turn appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the FCC, see: FCC v. Pacifica Foundation 438 U.S. 726 (1978) and First Amendment Library entry on the case.

This decision formally established indecency regulation in American broadcasting. In follow-up rulings, the Supreme Court clarified that the words might be acceptable under certain circumstances, particularly at times when children would not be expected to be in the audience.[1][2]

The words are:

As well as three "auxiliary" words:


In his comedy special Again!, Carlin commented that at one point, a man asked him to remove "motherfucker," since as a derivative of "fuck," it constituted a duplication.[3] He has since added it back, claiming the bit's rhythm doesn't work without it.[3] Carlin doesn't believe that "tits' should be on the list because it sounds like a nickname.

In 1983's Carlin at Carnegie comedy special, Carlin expanded the list even further, reading a newly compiled list of over 200 dirty words from an oversized scroll.

Those words on Carlin's original list that are not directly related to sexual intercourse or gender have since been used to some degree on broadcast television in the United States. The word "tits" was uttered on the first episode of The Trials of Rosie O'Neill in 1990, sparking some controversy. The word "piss" (usually used in the context of the phrase "pissed off") has been commonplace since the 1980s. The word "shit" has been heard on rare occasions, such as an episode of Chicago Hope, the season eight episode of ER in which Dr. Mark Greene dies, and, perhaps most prominently, in the South Park episode "It Hits the Fan". Producers have often implied the word "fuck", although usually obscuring the word with a background sound effect. One of Carlin's later additions to the list, "fart," is also used frequently. "Turd" is regularly used both on Network and Cable TV, though in performance Carlin explained you can say it "but who wants to?".

FCC regulations regarding obscenities on broadcast media
During the court case over Carlin's monologue, the Supreme Court established in the Pacifica decision the safe harbor provision that grants broadcasters the right to broadcast indecent (but not obscene) material between the hours of 10 PM and 6 AM, when children are thought not to be awake. Thus, the FCC has mainly been concerned with indecent content shown or heard between 6 AM and 10 PM. The FCC has never maintained a specific list of words prohibited from the airways during this time period, but has maintained general guidelines regarding obscenities.[4] The seven dirty words had been assumed to be likely to elicit indecency related action by the FCC if uttered on a TV or radio broadcast, and thus the broadcast networks generally censor themselves with regard to the many of the seven dirty words. While most of the original seven dirty words are still viewed as inappropriate for broadcast television and radio (based on previous actions by the FCC), the words "tits" and "piss" are generally no longer deemed unacceptable for broadcast over public airwaves during restricted hours in the United States.

The FCC has often looked at the context of the use of a word when judging whether it is objectionable. This has at times led to controversy, such as when a bureau of the FCC deemed the utterance of the word "fucking" (as an intensive) in January 2003 at the live Golden Globe Awards broadcast by Bono, the front man for the band U2, not indecent under its criteria since they said that under the context of its use, it was not intended to describe or depict sexual and excretory activities and organs.[5] The full FCC, however, later reversed the decision in early 2004, though a fine against Bono has not yet been levied.

The differentiation between indecent and obscene material is a particularly difficult one, and a contentious First Amendment issue that has not fully been settled. Similarly, the level of offense (if any) generated by a profane word or phrase depends on region, context, and audience.

In recent years, letter-writing campaigns engineered by American public interest groups have drawn attention to the issue of indecency in television. In some cases, thousands of complaints have been received by the FCC, particularly in situations in which children have been exposed to questionable material during restricted hours, at which time it is estimated children are watching.

The FCC does not directly target the networks. Only the stations carrying a network's programming are licensed. Since most of the networks own some of the stations that carry their programming, these stations can be fined, as a way of indirectly fining the network.

The seven dirty words and cable television
The FCC obscenity guidelines have never been applied to non-broadcast media such as cable television or satellite radio.[citation needed] It is widely held that the FCC's authorizing legislation (particularly the Communications Act of 1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996) does not enable the FCC to regulate content on subscription-based services, which include cable television, satellite television, and pay-per-view television. Whether the FCC or the Department of Justice could be empowered by Congress to restrict indecent content on cable television without such legislation violating the Constitution has never been settled by a court of law. Since cable television must be subscribed to in order to receive it legally, it has long been thought that ability of subscribers who object to the content being delivered to cancel their subscription creates an incentive for the cable operators to self-regulate. (Unlike broadcast television, cable television is not legally considered to be "pervasive," nor does it depend on a scarce, government-allocated electromagnetic spectrum; as such, neither of the arguments buttressing the case for broadcast regulation particularly apply to cable television.)

However, as of 2005, some living in the United States have begun to call for FCC regulation of subscription-based television and radio. One argument for such regulation is that in more rural areas of the United States, it may be impossible to receive more than a bare minimum of broadcast television stations "over the air," and as such not having a cable or satellite subscription is tantamount to having no television at all for residents of these areas. This and other arguments have been made (among others) by Randy Short of the American Family Association. (See also 'The Connection', National Public Radio, 2005-04-12)

Self-regulation by many basic cable networks is undertaken by Standards & Practices (S&P) departments which self-censor their programming due to the pressure put on them by advertisers – also meaning that any basic cable network willing to ignore such pressure could use any of the "seven dirty words." Some networks have already allowed the use of some of the words in shows such as Comedy Central's South Park episode "It Hits the Fan," during which shit is uttered 162 times in one half hour (a counter was provided at the bottom of the screen). The series also uses the words "tits," "turd," and "piss" on many occasions. Comedy Central also has established a "Secret Stash" timeslot after 1:00 AM ET on weekends, when it will air material such as the R-rated films South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) and Kevin Smith's Clerks. (1994), or performances by comedians, including Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, and Carlin himself, without censoring the language. However, despite their advertising that the broadcasts are "uncensored", images of nudity are blurred most of the time. (An exception was Rodney Carrington's 2007 Comedy Central special, which featured women flashing the camera unedited.)

Pop-culture references
Blink-182 made reference to the list in their song "Family Reunion," which is composed primarily using the words from Carlin's ten-word version of the list, and then ending with "I fucked your mom!"
The band Deftones have a song entitled "7 Words."
In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Sailor Mouth," SpongeBob and Patrick say #11 on a list of 13 swear words you should never use, which -- in a parody of audio censorship -- was the sound effect of a dolphin braying, Squidward asks, "Don't you mean there are only seven?" Mr. Krabs replies, "Not if you're a sailor, heh-heh." "#11" in this episode (the word that starts the commotion) is presumed to be fuck. But however, it should be noted that the dolphin-chirp censor sounded longer than required to censor fuck, meaning the word was most likely to be motherfuck with past tenses somehow being known to be used by the boys.
In an episode of The Simpsons, Krusty the Clown is threatened with legal action over the phone by somebody representing George Carlin, after using 'Seven words you can't say on TV' routine in his act. Krusty tries to defend himself by claiming that his list was "completely different" from Carlin's.
In the episode "It's All Over Now" of That '70s Show, Eric is seen listening to a George Carlin record and remarks on the list. Later in that episode, Eric refers to Donna's boss using numbers that refer to the list saying, "You sixing, sevening monkey fiver. You think your one don't stink, well three off you threein' three." (You motherfucking, cocksucking monkey tit. You think your shit don't stink, well fuck off you fuckin' fuck.) Also in this episode, Donna tricks a disc jockey into playing George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" routine on the air, to get her fired.[6]
In another episode of That '70s Show, the main characters go to an entertainment park called Funland, where Steven Hyde buys a t-shirt with the writing Fun University on the front side and the initials F.U. on the backside and Steven has to explain the joke to Fez.
On the Killer B's E.P., Anthrax makes use of—and renounce the banning of—seven allegedly offensive words in the song "Starting up a Posse." The words used to make up the list are shit, fuck, satan, death, sex, drugs, and rape.
In the South Park episode "It Hits the Fan," Stan, Eric, Kyle, and Kenny come across a set of eight rune stones, each devoted to fighting a curse word. (The list is not identical; included along with shit and fuck are asshole and mee krob, a Thai dish which Eric Cartman detests, saying, "God must hate it as much as I do.")
In Howard Stern's film Private Parts, a studio attorney cautions against the use of the seven dirty words. However, in Stern's list, "tits" and "piss" are replaced with "cock" and "pussy."
In an episode of Everybody Hates Chris, Mrs. Louise gives Chris' mother a dirty look, which the narration describes as meaning "all seven words you can't say on television". In a later episode, Chris finds and listens to Class Clown including the Seven Words. The audience, however, only sees Chris laughing with headphones on. For the remainder of that episode, the adult Chris Rock, heard in voiceover, uses Carlin´s numbers to refer to the words.
In the episode about profanity, Penn & Teller's Bullshit! brings up the Seven Dirty Words and the following battle with the FCC.
In the underground Razkals song "Hynotism to the Max" he makes references to the 7 dirty words. He also claims that sucking a penis should be illegal.

The word "piss" and the derivative "pisseth" is used numerous times in the King James Version of The Bible

See also
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
F.C.C. v. Pacifica FoundationCommunications Decency Act
George Carlin
Charles Rocket (fired from Saturday Night Live for his use of profanity on live television)

External Links
FCC explanation of indecent, obscene, and profane broadcasts

^ "Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on TV" – script
^ "Seven words you can never say on television"... but which are said on the Internet. A lot. - Survey on the prevalence of the "seven words" in political blogs
^ a b Carlin, George. On Location: George Carlin at Phoenix [DVD]. HBO Home Video.
^ http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2001/fcc01090.html
^ Urban Legends Reference Pages: FCC vs. F-Word
^ "It's All Over Now". Mark Hudis. That '70s Show. Fox Broadcasting Company. 2005-02-16. No. 15, season 7. 7 and 12 minutes in.
[hide]v • d • eSeven Dirty Words
Shit • Piss • Fuck • Cunt • Cocksucker • Motherfucker • Tits

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_dirty_words"
Categories: American media | Comedy sketches | Lists of English words | Obscenity controversies | Profanity
Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since February 2007

This page was last modified on 15 May 2008, at 02:54 at Wikapedia. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.)

Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.
Wikipedia is sustained by people like you. Please donate today.

Return To the Comedy Index

Return to the Website Home Page

Email Shlomoh