25 June 2008

7 Words You Can Never Write in a Blog

"The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization."
Sigmund Freud

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.


Jennifer H said...

It's hard to raise my glass and applaud at the same time, but I feel like doing both.

(P.S. I think my secret blog money is in the Caymans. Also impossible to trace.)

Anonymous said...

I have the album where he performs his "7 words" routine, and the reaction of the audience is priceless: a mix of horror and glee. They had never heard such a thing before.

You couldn't get that reaction today. There aren't really any lines left to cross.

Suzanne said...

Loved your twist on the 7 words topic. And so on target...what did we all do before blogs? And how many of our 'real life' friends actually read our blogs? Does this mean we have created parallel universes for ourselves...our real life friends and our blogging friends?

Poetikat said...

Most of the people I know, don't know I have a blog and those who do, don't take it seriously in the slightest. I don't get paid a cent and yet, it is like breathing to me now. It's as if I only started living for real just a year ago when I began this adventure. I am now consumed to the exclusion of many things (if my husband weren't a UK football fanatic, I'd feel guilty of neglect).
I have never used any of the words you mention, for obvious reasons (although I do dally with editors). I had a good laugh though.



HRH said...


Does anyone have the number of the Cayman Blog Account?

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but: have you ever seen the movie Waking Life? I saw it today for the first time (it actually came out several years ago) and as I was watching it I was thinking, "This is the sort of thing I bet Ron would really enjoy."

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