"The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization."
George Carlin is gone. One of the saddest things about this is that our grandkids will never quite understand what he did. We now live in a post-Carlin world where FCC regulations against thought and expression are largely irrelevant rather than central to how people can express outrage or whimsy. In fact, the very notion of words that you can never write in a blog seems absurd. It seems to me, the words that can never be written in a blog are quite different from the ones that you could never say on radio. They might include the following.
"My editor." We do this without assistance, in ways that might well make our high school English teachers cringe. We have no one to blame for or rely on for awkward language or poorly chosen words. And we cannot write, “my editor” on our blogs.
"My blog advance." All of the money I earn is being deposited to a secret Swiss Bank account. The problem is, the account particulars are also kept secret from me. There is money in the Internet – lots of money. Most of us simply don’t know where it is kept.
"Our sponsor." As in, "we'll be right back after a few words from our sponsor." We don't take commercial breaks in the blogosphere. (But we do take breaks. The bloggers' union may not have done much on wage or benefits negotiations but they have done a wonderful job of ensuring job security and flex time.)
At least in the blogosphere, we really are moving towards a world in which "adult" content is as likely to refer to conversations and topics that would bore a child as it is to the words and images that the FCC could once shield us from. It is a world in which each person gets to be his own censor. It is a world in which George Carlin's early humor now makes little sense.
And maybe that’s a measure of a social reformer’s impact: if they’ve made their outrage meaningless to the next generation, their work is done. Thank you George and farewell.