Many of you are familiar with George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words.”
A brief recap fromWikipedia:
The seven dirty words are seven English-language words that comedian George Carlin first listed in 1972 in his monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”. At the time, the words were considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for broadcast on the public airwaves in the United States, whether radio or television. As such, they were avoided in scripted material, and bleep-censored in the rare cases in which they were used; broadcast standards differ in different parts of the world, then and now, although most of the words on Carlin’s original list remain taboo on American broadcast television as of 2010. The list was not an official enumeration of forbidden words, but rather was compiled by Carlin. Nonetheless, a radio broadcast featuring these words led to a Supreme Court decision that helped establish the extent to which the federal government could regulate speech on broadcast television and radio in the United States.
I will not elaborate on what the specific words referred to are, but rather let you investigate on your own. Now, I am aware of the fact that I drop the “F”-bomb occasionally, and sprinkle in a few other less than savory nouns and adjectives. The other day, however, my son informed me that he knew a lot of “bad” words. Now, in our house we don’t say “son of a bitch” — we say “son of a boosky.” My son knows that bitch is a bad word (we haven’t taught him yet that it can refer to a female dog). I asked my son to write down all of the so-called “bad” words that he knows, with the proviso that it won’t get him in trouble, we just want to see which ones are on his radar.
Well, folks, it was pretty funny. My husband wasn’t aware that I had made this request, so I was the first to see the list. It included the following (list incomplete and spelled exactly as given to me): stupid, lame, dickhead, dishwrag, poophead, peehead. Well, I’m not sure what I expected to see, but I thought I’d be witness to something more akin to Mr. Carlin’s list. I am happy to report that I explained that these were, indeed, bad words and that he should not use them. What I also realize is that as each year goes by his list will inch closer and closer to Mr. Carlin’s list. For now, I am relieved that it has only reached this level. To think that he would know no bad words is unrealistic. Hopefully going to a Quaker school, where they instill respect for others, kindness, and tolerance, will lead him on a path towards gentler words.
And while this honeymoon phase of language development may be reassuring to me now, I have no doubt that at some point during his teen years (hopefully not sooner) he will get mad at me or my husband and tell us both to go to hell. Until then, we’re enjoying his relative innocence and will try to protect him from potty mouth. But, as we all know, it doesn’t take a curse word to cause harm. Choose your words carefully.