The Impact Of Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words

When George Carlin presented his “Seven Words” comedy bit to an audience in Monterey, CA back in 1972, he opened the eyes of many people.

In the bit, Carlin addresses the issue with pulling out seven words – shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits – of the 400,000-plus English lexicon and labelling the words as indecent and obscene.

Carlin poked fun at words that could have made the list, like the word “bitch.” He said that one minute a person could be talking about a female dog, which would be an acceptable use of the word, and the next refer to an angry woman as a “bitch,” making the word obscene to some.

His mentor, Lenny Bruce, had been arrested in the 60s for saying two of the seven words (Ott, 2020), and just a few months after premiering the bit, Carlin was arrested in Milwaukee for saying all seven words in a public performance.

According to an article about how Carlin’s comedy sketch impacted the legality of the Federal Communications Commission for punishing those who say any of the seven words on the air (Ott, 2020), Carlin’s bit was played on the radio, when a CBS executive was with his son. The two listened to the bit, then the father filed a complaint with the FCC. The FCC filed charges against Pacifica, the company that owned the radio station that aired the bit, and the case would become the standard when it came to the FCC’s regulatory powers.

The courts ruled in favor of Pacifica, saying the FCC overreached, at which point it was sent to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decision resulted in a decision that favored the FCC, saying the federal agency has the power to regulate airwaves that are listened to by the public.

Justice John Paul Stevens cited a need for such regulations due to broadcast media’s “Uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of all Americans.”

Justice William Brenner slammed the misappropriation of the first amendment principals, saying, “another of the dominant culture’s inevitable efforts to force those groups who do not share its mores to conform to its way of thinking, acting, and speaking.”

The decision was not the end. In fact, the FCC revised its regulations in the early 2000s, when the rise of the internet paved the way for more indecent material to be made available to the public.

Fox News Network filed a lawsuit against the FCC for the revisions, as the television networks were under high scrutiny. Ultimately, the FCC won the suit, but when a lower court investigated the vagueness of the regulations, the court determined the FCC did not give media companies like Fox enough time to conform to the regulations.

In all fairness, the regulations are in place to prevent virgin ears from being exposed to adult language.

For example, the word “shit,” can be offensive and obscene to some people.

The word has various meanings and uses. For example, as a verb it could mean to release themselves, and as a noun, “shit” can mean feces, an act of defecation, nonsense, foolishness, crap, and something of little value, according to the webster dictionary.

When said, the word can turn a lot of eyes and ears. If the word is said on the air, a radio station could be fined, which is why discussing words like this should be best aired on a podcast.

Before jumping in and starting a podcast, it is probably a good idea to see if you have any equipment that you could use to record the show. Maybe you have microphones like the Tonor BM-700, which is for sale on Amazon for under $50. Or maybe you have a Zoom H4n handy recorder.

These two items, used in conjunction, could be enough for a podcast. The H4N can power the BM-700 condenser microphones. The recorder can also be used as an audio interface on the computer.

If you need more, you may want to consider pop filters to eliminate pops and s-sounds, wind screens, or a dynamic microphone.

While the Audio Technica ATR-2100x is highly recommended, $100 may be expensive, so the Behringer XM8500 is a good alternative at less than $50.

According to an article from NPR about starting a podcast, “You do not need fancy equipment (NPR,2018).

Another article by BuzzSprout goes through all the steps of starting a podcast. First start out with a concept, plan the show, write a script, test the equipment, use an outline, record the show, edit the show, publish the cast, and then promote the new show.

If there are ever questions about starting a podcast, check out online sources to help you walk through a case from start to finish.



Directo-Meston, D. (2020) The Best Podcast Microphones 2020: Top USB Recording Mics for Vocals – Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 24, 2020, from

Entries. (2020) Shit | Definition of Shit by Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from

NPR. (2018) Starting Your Podcast: A Guide For Students : NPR. Retrieved October 24, 2020, from

Ott, T. (2020) How George Carlin’s ‘Seven Words’ Changed Legal History – Biography. Retrieved October 24, 2020, from

Podcastage. (2016) Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 Review/Test – YouTube. Retrieved November 06, 2020, from

The Philip Lief. (2020) Shit Synonyms, Shit Antonyms | Retrieved November 05, 2020, from

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