George Carlin

The New York Times reports on the passing of George Carlin, George Carlin, 71, Irreverent Standup Comedian: “Mr. Carlin was hailed for his poignant observations on the absurdities of everyday life in routines like ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.'”
A broadcast of the “Seven Words” routine brought to the Supreme Court the question of whether the First Amendment allows the FCC to regulate broadcasts of speech that is merely indecent. FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978).

David Oxenford, Broadcast Law Blog, George Carlin – Writing the Indeceny Rules the FCC Never Did: “Perhaps the greatest misimpression of the Carlin routine is the widely held belief that there are in fact Seven Dirty Words that you can never say on the air. In fact, that is not and has never been the FCC’s holding. In fact, until recently, there were no words that were specifically banned on the air – all had to be evaluated by context.”
New York Times, The Feisty Station That Defended Carlin’s ‘Seven Words’ Looks Back: “In a 1978 milestone in the station’s contentious and unruly history, WBAI lost a 5-to-4 Supreme Court decision that to this day has defined the power of the government over broadcast material it calls indecent.”

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