If George Carlin was still alive, he and Governor Christie would be fast friends.
Carlin, author of the famous stand-up skit - “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV,” might be busy this weekend revamping his hilarious routine now that Christie has thrown in with him.
For those who need a reminder, Carlin spat the words out so fast and clear they sounded like one word.
By now everyone with a television, newspaper subscription or smart phone knows that the governor didn’t mince words once again during a press conference when he referred to a state assemblyman as “numbnuts.”
Just about the time that flap cooled, he dropped another verbal gem, calling legislation by Democrats ‘‘a pile of crap.”
If this keeps up, by later this week he might get a call from the producers of “Jersey Shore” for a cameo.
Despite what it sounds like, the “numbnuts” term officially has no relation to the lower regions of the male species. It rather refers to a severe lack of intelligence by a person, usually a male. At least that is the straight definition. Dig into the urban dictionary for slang terms and “numbnuts” draws a few synonyms that would have newspaper editors running for the policy book.
In general, papers traditionally have steered clear of swear words, words that will offend readers, pejorative terms, racial slurs and generally all words that if uttered in your house, your mother would have stuck a bar of Ivory so far down your throat, you’d be singing Don Ho’s trademark song for days to come.
Clearly standards have changed on all fronts in the last decade, spurred on by raucous television shows that push the boundaries and radio stations that play more explicit lyrics than a prison yard. One episode of “Jersey Shore” would be enough to send newspaper editors to the ER. Prime time shows now need a governor, so to speak, at the ready.
Editors still stiffen and fret over many of the words Carlin, and before him, Lenny Bruce, deemed unutterable on television. And some will just never see the printed page. When those words do present themselves for a ruling in the newsroom, they most always come in via quotes gathered in the normal course of business.
To get around the issue, we devised weak disguises for these words and if you came upon them in a news story, the paragraph might look something like this.
“I would have kicked the s--- out of that (one who has relations with his own mother) and (urinated) on his ….” well, you get the idea. It made us feel better, but the reader got the message without the stick in the eye.