Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

June 23, 2008
George's 'filthy words'

Associated Press

With comedian George Carlin's passing on Sunday, I couldn't help but try to recall - from memory - his famous seven dirty words.

I couldn't.

I was still in high school when the whole hoopla about what you could and couldn't say on radio and TV was up for debate. There were no computers, no "Google" and no one in Martinsville, Va., would be caught dead saying those "words."


I heard at least three of them on a routine basis from the members of the football team!

Well, the whole debate eventually made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, and those judges decided in 1978 (five to four) that, yes, the seven "filthy words" were indeed pretty filthy.

As Carlin so famously uttered after the verdict: "They made up a whole new category of filth for me. It wasn't obscene -- indecent. And they said you can't play it when kids might listen."

Today, just an hour's worth of reality competition shows (on cable, of course) will expose viewers to the same three words I heard often in high school. At least one of the words has appeared in The Bee in reference to someone being upset with something or someone else. In its adjective form, it translates to P.O.'ed. Not quite the same word as Carlin had in mind, but close enough.

The other four words are still incredibly offensive, even to someone who has been known to drop a few foul utterances - under intolerable circumstances, of course.

So, even as we've progressed in our desire to maintain decorum and good taste, it was George Carlin who gave us some choice words to ponder a generation ago.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives