What the heck did you say?
If George Carlin had seven dirty words you could never say on television, my kids must think we have seven thousand.
I admit I’m a little tough with vocabulary restrictions. Most of the banned words in our house are hand- and mouth-me-downs from my mother (former English teacher, Scrabble addict and advocate of words everywhere -- even those vowel-ly challenged) who wouldn’t be caught with her participles dangling let alone one that included a four-letter word. So I know I might not be the most impartial judge on this delicate issue, but Carlin’s orignal list surprised me a little. (The list is linked for you here, but please don't tell my mom).
He devised this in 1972 so it reflects the times, but I would have thought there would be many, many more than those particular seven. Obviously, those are seven words your children wouldn’t even think about saying, but I’m curious about all of the others they have to think twice about.
I, for instance, despise that four letter f-word for flatulence and the b-word body part it originates from, and those do not get uttered in this house by anyone regardless of age or dinner choice. But I know in some of their friend’s households, these particular words are perfectly acceptable. But, again, I must have been beaten with prepositional phrases as a child, so I’m a little sensitive to synonyms.
If television acceptance was the threshold in 1972, then what is it in 2009? We’ve got cable and The Sopranos, so what is the modern standard? Is it those words that don’t auto-complete when texting? Anything Microsoft Word flags as a misspelling? Anything on the Internet that requires a parental control override? Maybe Mr. Krabs' 13 dirty words?
What makes you see red when you hear a child work blue?
[Photo: That's Ralphie from A Christmas Story after making the mistake of saying the mother of all bad words]