the '7 dirty words' turn 40, but they're still dirty

Four decades after George Carlin's legendary monologue, the law still can't decide how to handle publicly broadcast swearing

May 24, 2012

by Timothy Bella

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

Now that that's out of the way, let's start from the beginning. On May 27, 1972, George Carlin took to the stage for a show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to record his Class Clown album, which was scheduled to come out that fall. Carlin—a comedic champion of the counterculture with long hair, a thick beard, earrings, and a propensity for recreational drugs—was writing material that was going to upset some people. He didn't think much of what kind of influence a seven-minute routine on those seven words would have on the culture at large. He was aware, however, that what he was going to say that night could put his career in jeopardy.