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Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, RIP



Back in the 1970s, when Pacifica radio (where I got my start in journalism in 1978) aired Carlin's "Seven Filthy Words" routine, a lot of people thought it was just about talking dirty. But it really was about freedom of speech, and resulted in a close, 5-4 Supreme Court decision in FCC v Pacifica. The Court upheld the right of the FCC to brand the routine "indecent" even if it wasn't "obscene," but that hasn't stopped it from becoming a comedy classic.

You can read Carlin's New York Times obituary here, a Los Angeles Times piece here, and of course there will be many other retrospectives to come (here are lengthy and informative ones from blogger pals Marc Cooper and Andrew Hunt.)

My favorite Carlin routine is the one about the difference between baseball and football, true brilliance:

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