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In the news: Free speech probed at IC


Laughter pealed through Illinois College’s Sibert Theatre as students listened to a recording of comedian George Carlin rattling off the seven dirty words you can never say on television.

The message was quite serious, though.

Carlin, who died in 2008, first spoke out about “the filthy words” in May 1972 during a seven-minute routine he delivered onstage in Santa Monica, Calif. Two months later he was arrested on obscenity charges after performing the same skit in Milwaukee.
A lawsuit resulting from a radio station airing a modified version of the “Seven Dirty Words” bit made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which by a majority decision ruled in 1978 that the act was indecent, but not obscene. However, because the broadcast occurred during the daytime when a child could accidentally be exposed to profanity the Court said the Federal Communications Commission could regulate offensive content on broadcasts between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.


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