“He who controls the language, controls the masses.” —Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals
Back in 1972, the comic genius George Carlin came up with a bit that was featured on his classic album Class Clown. It was titled, The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television and featured five four letter words and two multi-syllable words. I won’t spell them out for you, as the video is easily accessible on YouTube. What George didn’t realize is, although the seven words were banned from television at the time, they are now commonly heard on television, the radio, in movies, in the boardrooms, the backrooms, the kitchen, the classroom, the bedroom, seemingly everywhere. In fact, the f—word is as common in today’s culture as l-i-k-e is to a Millennial (“like i was going to the store and like I saw this dude and he like gave me a dirty look and like I was pissed and like he got in my face and like…). Ralphie probably wouldn’t have had his mouth washed out with soap if he would have waited a few decades: “Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!.”
In order to come up with a new list, just in case George returns from the grave and is looking for new material, I’ve put together a few words that are at best out of fashion and at worst words that will cause you much backlash if you dare use them. I wonder who it is who decides which words are no longer acceptable. Is it some Word Czar who resides in Washington D.C. who scans the New Oxford Dictionary for words that offend and then scrubs all evidence of them in future printings? I don’t know, but somehow the message gets out. Use these words at your peril.
Stupid: 1. lacking intelligence or common sense– I was in my car with my wife and five-year old grandson when I nonchalantly referenced something I had seen as stupid. From the child safety seat in the back of the car I heard, “You can’t say stupid Pops.”
I said, “Excuse me.”
Jake said again, “You can’t say that Pops.”
I, while still keeping my eyes firmly on the road said, “And who said I can’t say stupid?”
Jake said, “My teacher said we can’t say stupid. It’s mean.”
I turned to my wife Julie and said under my breath so I wouldn’t hurt little Jake’s feelings, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Words have meanings. If a guy borrows money from a loan shark at thirty percent interest, what do you call it?”
Julie said, “Ill advised?”
I said, “Yeah it’s ill-advised and it’s dumb. But it’s also stupid. Even Forrest Gump knew the truth when he said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Fat: 1. having too much flabby tissue; corpulent; obese– On the same car ride I saw a man who was walking beside the road and I said under my breath, “Man, that guy’s fat.” Julie turned to me and said, “Shhh! You can’t say fat either.”
I said, “What? Why not? That guy was obviously fat. He could barely make it down the sidewalk.”
“Jake’s teacher says it’s mean.”
I said, “Words have meanings. Fat is fat. So, when I’m getting ready to eat a rib eye or pork steak, what then am I to call that juicy white stuff around the edges? Or what is that roll that hangs out of my pants and over my belt buckle? Corpulence?”
Julie rolled her eyes and I shook my head and kept driving, occasionally looking in the rear view mirror at Jake and thinking how difficult it’s going to be for him to grow up.
Black: 2. of any human group having dark-colored skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal ancestry– This one is very confusing to me. The terms are constantly shifting, like the winds around Chicago. The correct term is Negro, but that was changed at one time to colored, which is what my Mom’s generation used. Try that today and you may be arrested, although one of the largest and most influential black political organizations in the country is self-titled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Odd that. And you will occasionally hear a good liberal, when speaking of Negroes or other minorities, refer to them as “people of color”. But that’s only allowed if you’re in the club.
Black was acceptable at one time, but somehow was replaced by African-American. But that term is a misnomer in many respects. Not all black people are from Africa and how many so-called African-American families haven’t seen the shores of Africa in generations? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to just refer to them as Americans? And what about black? A powerful voting block in Congress calls itself the Congressional Black Caucus. Why not the Congressional African-American Caucus? And what about the network BET, Black Entertainment Television? Why not African-American Entertainment Television? And if all blacks are African-American, why are not all whites referred to as Polish-American, Italian-American, or in my case, Scotch Irish-English-American? It gets so confusing. I wish that the lot of them would vote en masse for a one size fits all moniker; as if one size fits all black people and all black people think the same.
And then there’s the dreaded N word. Now there’s a word that can never be uttered on television. Unless of course you’re a member of the tribe. If you are a rap artist you can use the word with impunity. Or if you’re a black comedian at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, you can refer to the half-black President as your “nigga” and no one bats an eye (“Yo, Barry, you did it, my nigga!”). I’ll stick with the one that fits the definition and refer to them as black people. And they can call me white.
Earn: 1. to receive as return for effort and especially for work done or services rendered– This word is absolutely out of fashion today because it isn’t fair; it elicits thoughts of work and perseverance; and it lends itself to the ideas of waiting and patience. No, today everyone is entitled and deserves whatever it is they desire. The thought of earning something is anathema to pop culture sensibilities. You don’t have to earn a living, that’s what your fellow tax payer is for.
Abortion: 1. the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy– Even the definition is vague. This word has been replaced by the term “woman’s choice”. The choice is to kill an unborn baby while it is still in the womb. Oh, and in this instance, you can’t say baby either. That word has been replaced by fetus or fetal tissue. The truth is, the choice was made when he dropped his drawers and she spread her legs. The consequences of that choice are what leads to the abortion.
Thug: 1. a violent person, especially a criminal- It isn’t thugs who are running around the inner cities shooting one another at random (9 killed and 41 wounded in Chicago over Mother’s Day weekend). No, these are misguided youths. Or victims of society. Or troubled young men who just need an outlet for their aggression. The fact that innocent people are dying as collateral damage in their shooting sprees is apparently of no consequence. I think thug is apropos and I highly recommend its use.
Is it just me, or do others find it ironic that the same cabal that advocated using the seven dirty words in George Carlin’s day are the same group now banning common, everyday words because they find them offensive?
I could go on and on, as the word police are always on the prowl, searching for words that in their meanings hit too close to the truth and cannot be tolerated. My advice to you is, be careful what you say around a kindergartener and you never know when big brother will be listening.