Monday, June 23, 2008

Cocksucker stands alone - RIP George Carlin

George Carlin was a descriptivist. He stood aside from the language and reminded us that it's an often misunderstood system. Misunderstood by speakers who don't realize how much is going on. And misunderstood by those who want to corral its use.

Enjoy his take on The Seven Dirty Words.


  1. descriptivist?

  2. Well of course I'm playing with the label.

    He was as guilty of peevolotry as anyone with many of his rants.

    It was his commentary of expletives that I'm thinking of explicitly. He admired their complexity. He didn't fear them. He saw their proscription as silly.

    But yes -- the whole "I'm tired of...mistakes" gets tedious.

    But you know even the folks at Language Log like to harp on misused terminology like the difference between words like acronym, initialism and abbreviation.

  3. The expletives lose their complexity if they're not proscribed, right? And Carlin sure wouldn't be getting the laughs without the proscription to make them "funny".

    This act reminded me of a bit Eddie Murphy did about Bill Cosby, who he says called him to complain about his bad language. Murphy was upset because he thought Cosby wasn't giving him credit for his material:

    "And I got mad. Because he thought that was my whole act. Like I just walked out on the stage and cursed, and left. And I managed to stick in some jokes between the curses. You couldn't give no curse show. Walk out and say, 'filth flarrum (?) motherfucker dick pussy snot and shit good night, good night, suck my dick, bye bye.'"

    Carlin gets pretty close to that curse show, though. Humor's subjective, of course, but I find Murphy hilarious and Carlin sort of a bore. I did like him in the first Bill and Ted though.


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