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.

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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