“Rat Shit, Bat Shit, Dirty Old Twat, 69 Assholes Tied in a Knot…”

That is the beginning of another infamous George Carlin line that continues on with swear after swear, as many people are already familiar with most of his work, we know that much of his humor either relies, or to put it kindlier feeds off of obscenities such as these. He often talks about things that could be considered taboo but generally uses words and vocabulary to emphasize his points and while sort of making a commentary on the language itself and the restrictions on it, as is obvious in his ‘7 words’ bit. There is a time and a place for the type of vulgar language that George Carlin has become famous for in his acts, and oddly enough, George Carlin himself helps to prove this point by appearing as a regular cast member of a once popular children’s show named Shining Time Station in which he plays a happy-go-lucky conductor who is always happy to lend a hand or give sound advice. It’s only ironic because Carlin is known as a vulgar comedian, not just a comedian who sometimes uses unfavorable language. It is similar to the paradox that is Bob Sagat who really gained most of his fame and celebrity by playing the character of Danny Tanner in the family sit-com Full House who is basically the polar opposite of Sagat’s stand-up routine. Without going on too much of a tangent, these actors/comedians prove that poor language and vulgarity/obscenity can find their way into a successful act, yet they have the presence of mind to realize that they can expand their repertoire of work by simply not using this type of language or acting in a more publicly accepted manor.

            ‘Publicly accepted’ is a notion that has changed a great deal since the media has had to deal with the repercussions of bad language or inappropriate behavior/situations being broadcast to a vast and varied public audience. Some situations and language should not be seen by people of all ages and even if it was late enough to assume that young children would be either sleeping or under the supervision of their parents at such a late hour, one can never assume that what is being broadcast to the public is not being seen or heard by an audience that should not be tuned in. Public television, even most basic cable stations go to great measures to warn parents of impending content that may be considered either offensive or inappropriate for children. Some of these measures include the rating that appears on the top corner of the screen, as well as a warning that takes up the entire screen with text and voice over warnings. Even these are not enough to keep children away from programming that they shouldn’t be viewing, but again, after the repeated warnings from the television station and the fact that the more explicit content is not allowed to air until after a certain time later in the evening, like internet pornography, the responsibility lies with the parents or guardians. However, even the most controlling and attentive parents cannot shield their children from everything that may be deemed inappropriate and often unknowingly allow their children to view content that they feel is not suitable for children of their age because the standards of what is considered tolerable language and content have been lowered. Basic television stations such as NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX have allowed their evening sitcom lineup to use words such as ass, bitch, damn, etc. as well as several others in shows that air as early as 8pm, which although is considered primetime, is early enough for children to view it with ease. Some shows particularly those on FOX are cartoons, which can be argued are not catered specifically towards children, but still innately attract children simply because it is a cartoon, and parents can often be equally as naive to a show’s content because it is drawn. Not only have the standards changed from what is allowable on television, but perhaps the likely reason for this change in standards was the gradual softening of standards in our society in general. If it is becoming more acceptable to use a particular vocabulary among members of our society and culture, why then should it be regulated? Obviously certain words and behavior would not have been tolerated 40-50 years ago on television, but then again one would be hard-pressed to find a 10 year old saying these words 40-50 years ago and not nearly as difficult to find it now. This could also be a result of the media’s gradual lowering of the bar, but at this point it seems like an endless circle. Society continues to accept and tolerate behavior and language that was once unheard of, and either as a result of or naturally, the television continues to push the limits of what is acceptable, because the more controversial the product is, the more ratings it is bound to receive.

            There are indeed rules and regulations enforced by the FCC which trickles down to censors that work for each station, however if the limits are pushed, the station risks a loss of sponsors or advertising support/revenue, and face a potential fine depending on the degree of the offense. Though these risks are real and potentially damaging to the stations reputation and financial gain, there is high reward for programming that is innovative and edgy even if it pushes moral or socially acceptable limits. For example, South Park must be looked at as a pioneer in the wave of television shows that have attempt to push limits or be controversial to produce ratings. Their first episode featured crude language (which can be argued was truly started with the wise cracking mouth of Bart Simpson) and a fight between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. In addition

South
Park
also included a level of gore that was unmatched in television, particularly in cartoons. As we all know South Park has become very popular and made a lot of money for Comedy Central over the years that it has been broadcast. As a result of South Park’s success we have seen many shows attempt to replicate its edgy nature and controversy that made it so popular, there is perhaps no more obvious of an example than Comedy Central’s latest cartoon Drawn Together, which lacks in writing and quality characters, but is full of gore and content and conversation that seems have a place in the episode only to shock the audience. Hopefully it is not too late, but without sounding too much like a television show critic, this example shows us how standards have been lowered and they are likely to continue on this path as a result of money hungry television executives and a continued degradation of social standards as we have observed over time. 

            There was a time when we thought we would never hear the word asshole on television that was not premium cable, and today we would probably scoff at the idea of the word fuck being used on television but not before long I would not be surprised to hear this, as I already have been surprised enough by what has already been allowed. And though I say that I am surprised, I enjoy the humor and content that I feel I am entitled to enjoy as an adult, and am glad that it is available to me without having to pay a premium price. In fact, I sometimes wish that there was even more leniency in what the FCC will allow on television, with the understanding that there must be some limits because of what children would be potentially exposed to. Though the task of parenting is probably more daunting than it seems, I would like to think that I can effectively keep my child away from inappropriate content and raise them well enough to not be influenced simply by something that they see on television since there is truly no way to control every aspect of a child’s life nor would it be healthy for the child to do so.

 

Good attentive and caring parenting is the key element in effectively and properly raising a child in a very influential, technology and media-run society.

2 Responses to ““Rat Shit, Bat Shit, Dirty Old Twat, 69 Assholes Tied in a Knot…””

  1. Jamie Says:

    I have definitely used that very rhyme in at least one of my own entries. George Carlin, man.

  2. celebs with out makeup Says:

    celebs with out makeup…

    [...]“Rat Shit, Bat Shit, Dirty Old Twat, 69 Assholes Tied in a Knot…” « Buster Bluth[...]…

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