The Carlin Seven
Back in the day on July 21st, 1972, comedian George Carlin was arrested during a performance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for allegedly violating obscenity laws. Launching into his notorious routine, Carlin uttered the “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” during the city’s outdoor “Summerfest.” Apparently those seven words, which Carlin said were so heavy that they would “infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war,” were also so heinous they couldn’t be spoken onstage either. The routine was played as part of the subsequent trial and elicited laughter! Free on bail, Carlin finally beat the rap when the judge in the case called the words the comedian had dubbed “The Milwaukee Seven,” indecent, but protected under free speech.
The controversy over the routine quieted for just all of one year until it aired on Pacifica station WBAI in New York in 1973, causing the landmark lawsuit, Pacifica vs. the FCC. As a result, I can’t tell you what the seven words are over the air. If I did, we would get fined. And if we got fined, we’d have to have another fund drive. And nobody wants that!