Twenty-somethings, George Carlin and Offensive Words on Medium

In the 70s, George Carlin’s breakthrough happened with the “7 Words You Can’t Say on TV.” If you did, the network censors, Billy Graham and the prudes of America would nail you to the barn door.

George Carlin is dead now; we can say the 7 words. And boy how we say them.

But what is “offensive” has morphed. It’s changed. Words that used to be whispered in back alleys are now shouted from the rooftops — or at least scattered freely by twenty-somethings on Medium and other sites.

The inability to write without cussing is even being encouraged in writing “courses” like MatadorU. Read some of the travel pieces on the site and it becomes apparent that a twenty-something can’t tell you about their favorite town in Austria without tossing in some unneeded language.

If you don’t believe me, “13 Ways to Piss Off a Greek” was the #1 post on Matador in 2015.

Medium has a set of rules of what can and can’t be said. A person cannot write about their issues with anorexia, bulimia, cutting, suicide or latest problems with mental health, but they can use five of the seven forbidden words — heck, they can use all seven and no one is supposed to raise an objection. If you do, then you’re violating their right to “freedom of speech.”

What has me on this jag this morning?

You can find the whole story here. Read it sometime. The short version is:

Someone got their panties in a wad when I called them a “whiny little twit.”

And it was game-on.

Why am I still harping on this a week later?

I find it offensive that twenty-somethings can be as loud and crude as they like and no one better say anything to them. Yet if someone says something that “hurts their widdle feelings” they go scurrying off to their “safe zone” calling on the Medium police to stop the bad man from calling it as he sees it.

I wonder what is another word for “hypocrisy”?

Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer and photojournalist and is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @ Journey_America.