Friday, July 8, 2011


Back in 1972, George Carlin first performed his signature skit "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television."  It was a milestone at the time, because it formally expressed which words there were; and especially the thinking that there were only seven.

What were these taboo words?  Shit, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, piss, and tits.  These are still the deplorable seven; but may be further revised to only five.

It's notable what didn't make the cut on George's list: dick, suck, boob, dork, and so forth.

And crap.

I can remember when it was a no-no word.

Never mind the popularity of the game of craps.  This dice game was called craps originally because it was played by the French in old Louisiana.  The French were, you see, called frogs.  So it became Johnny Crapaud's game.  Or simply craps.

Anyway, Bernard de Marigny developed a faubourg in New Orleans in the early 1800's; and one of the street names was Rue du Craps.

Transfer to a later time: 1968.  The summer after the Summer of Love.

I was then employed as a counselor in a therapeutic summer camp for children with behavioral problems.  I was one of the counselors for the smallest group of boys.

One issue that came up in group discussion was the promiscuous use of profanity by group members, including the counselors.  To quote one eight-year-old:  "Yeah, we use cuss words; but Big Jerry and Big Don use them a lot; Big Merry does too.  And Big Ed uses them most of all!"


Anyway, we had a discussion which lasted maybe a half-hour; and we unanimously decided that certain words were not to be used: shit and damn being the most notorious.  Another prominent word, crap, was unanimously voted non-profane.

Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, would have been proud.

Or maybe not.  Somehow, a former minister (one of the counselors)  telling one and all that he needed some peace in the john so he could take a crap may not have been impressive.

But I will say that the fucks and damns stopped.

[I wonder if Prohibition would have been more successful if they continued to allow the consumption of beer.]

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