F— G-d

Doing some research for a Reliable Sources segment I’m supposed to do this Sunday about George Carlin and his dirty words, I went to Google Trends and found this fascinating tidbit:

* Google searches for “fuck” and “God” are consistently equivalent.


When news of George Carlin’s death came out, however, searches for “Carlin” beat both by a factor of three.

* Search Google for his dirty words and you’ll find 31 million references for “bullshit,” 237 for “fuck,” and 671 million for “God.”

I’ll remind you that “bullshit” is political speech. And the internet is the First Amendment. George Carlin will die but his seven dirty words never will.

  • What does “indecent” mean? Why is the government involved in deciding what is indecent and whether it can be broadcast over the public’s airwaves?

    I think this mindset can be traced back to the idea of blasphemy. Just saying certain things can bring down the ire of the gods and must be prohibited for the safety of society.

    Like much public policy the basis of behavioral norms comes from unexamined beliefs that stem from religious precepts. Why can one say “n-word” on TV, but not the word itself? Is the word magic?

    Carlin understood this and that’s why much of his ire was directed at organized religion, an aspect of his work that isn’t getting as much notice.

    There is a discussion going on in Europe right now about the right of speech to offend the sensibilities of people – this was sparked by the Danish cartoons, but other cases come up frequently. In the US (so far) free speech means the ability to offend someone, the issue is not so clear elsewhere.

    Blasphemy is punishable by death (at least in principle) in parts of the Muslim world. Censoring speech leads to suppressing thought, and we all know how that turns out.

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  • Great research!

    It gets even more mesmerising if you observe it on a 30-day scale: http://tinyurl.com/5c77hc

    googling for both increases regularly in the weekends. May I suggest there’s a probable co-variation with blood alcohol levels?

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