Friday, October 19, 2007

Some Speech Is More Free Than Others

Warning: This post contains filthy words
This week almost went by without me knowing it was National Freedom of Speech Week. This week we're supposed to sit back and really appreciate just how free our words are. NFSW has been in existence since 2005. Used to be that you could appreciate your rights all year round. So, in case you forgot:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
That means you can worship anything you want. Your tongue scraper is your god? Fine. Any form of religion is all right. But no atheists. It does say "In God We Trust" after all. You non-believers can rot in hell. And don't give me that "I don't believe in hell" hullabaloo. But aside from atheism, you're free to believe in whatever you want. Unless it's Islam. There's a war on you know. And Judaism is a little too meshuggeneh. Those Far East religions are a little too far out. Not sure about the Satanists. None of that sacred cow stuff. Nor sacred chao. Tribal religions are kind of cute in an absolutely-not-that's-just-bonkers kind of way. And we don't let no commies ride in our car. No Christians either.

But this week isn't for the appreciating of your religious freedom. That week is at the end of December. And don't even think about getting your friends together to re-dress your grievances. No, this week is all about the words. I remember the day I thought, Man, words are rad! This was in the late 1980s when "rad" was a trendy adjective. Things were often rad. When something was particularly rad, you could go polysyllabic and say it was radical. But let's not get ahead of myself.

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. That's what the law says. We're all free to say whatever cockamamie thing that comes to mind. All words are good words. Except the bad words, of course. You can't say those. In the late 1980s, I discovered George Carlin, who taught me how to cuss -- and that some words are better than others.
"No bad words, bad thoughts, bad intentions, and words. You know the seven, don't you, that you can't say on television? Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that'll infect your soul, curve your spine, and keep the country from winning the war. Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Wow! And Tits doesn't even belong on the list. That is such a friendly sounding word. It sounds like a nickname, right? Hey, Tits, come here, man. Hey Tits, meet Toots. Toots, Tits. Tits, Toots. It sounds like a snack, doesn't it? Yes, I know, it is a snack. I don't mean your sexist snack. I mean New Nabisco Tits! And new Cheese Tits, Corn Tits, Pizza Tits, Sesame Tits, Onion Tits, Tater Tits ..." -- George Carlin, "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV"
But wait! There's more! Carlin recored this monologue in 1972. Since then, he's added 2,436 new and improved words to the list. And as a society, we've certainly tightened our legs on what's allowed in the parlance of our times. The Politically Correct movement helped us forget about censorship and learn to love the FCC. The Patriot Act taught us how to avoid words that might land us in Guantanamo. We have to be careful what we say or the terrorists might win. But not too careful, or the terrorists might win. Thankfully, we have a solution. One glorious week when we can truly celebrate our freedom of speech and really stick it to the sleeper cells.

This weekend, for the grand finale of NFSW, I think I'll go for a short run. Hopefully, my hip feels fine and doesn't make me scream -- "Shit ... piss ... fuck ... cunt ... cocksucker ... motherfucker ... tits" -- with each step. But if I want to, I totally can. What's up, al-Qaida? Feeling jealous?

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