One of the overarching elements of bourgeois society is a hypocrisy born of the contradiction between the “rights of property” and the reality of wage slavery. It infects all things big and small. Nowhere is this more true than language.
As I write these lines some of my tax dollars are being used to destroy the third wedding party of the day in Afghanistan. There are scattered limbs, broken bodies, children; the dead and those left alive who will have to live with the terror wrought in the name of “freedom” and “human rights”.
Undoubtedly there are body fluids mixing with the dirt for those unfortunate enough to have experienced, at least temporarily, their “liberation” at the hands of the United States. There are heaps of bodies lying in their shit, blood and piss thanks to the US government, but you can’t say those words on television (and you won’t see the photos either).
The killing is fine, in fact it’s policy, but there are words that cannot be used to describe these horrific scenes because they are deemed “offensive”.
Now on this blog I choose to go after the class enemy. I have lots of opinions on the ins and outs of the revolutionary movement and can match any comrade anywhere tendency for tendency in my appreciation of sectariana. See me at a meeting or hanging out and we’ll talk. That is not the purpose of this blog, though it is impossible to be a revolutionary and evade some questions publicly so it will happen as events warrant.
Today I am making a small exception to ask the folks at Socialist Appeal if they were courting irony or they really are so stodgy as to expurgate the words of George Carlin in their obituary of him? Since when did they start paper sales outside of Mormon Temples?
Are there some FCC rules for socialist publications that I am unaware of? I don’t even think that USA Today censors “bullshit” anymore. Do workers not cuss? Where I work those seven words that Carlin goes on about is the language of Sunday morning; you ought to hear Saturday night. What’s up, comrades? It’s George Fucking Carlin for fuck’s sake!
Some of the seven words Carlin roasted don’t usually find their way into my normal speech, some are regulars. They are: shit, piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker (I am pretty sure that’s one word), motherfucker (is that one word or two?) and tits.
Trotsky wrote a lot about offensive language being a reflection of oppression and such. That might have been true when you still had aristocrats running around Europe wearing white gloves, addressing each other with words like “thouest” while workers were mostly illiterate, but we’ve had 35 years since Meanstreets came out and we are all the better for it. Is the WIL”s Trotskyism that orthodox?
Carlin’s was a needed voice, one that I and many will miss. He got more radical, and more cynical, as he got older. Here he is on The American Dream just a year or two ago. And Socialist Appeal couldn’t have said it better.