SATIRE/Rosie Sorenson

Roll Over, George Carlin

On the heels of an inadvertent homage to George Carlin and his riff on the “seven dirty words” you cannot say on television, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued a new set of seven forbidden words its staff cannot utter: “science-based,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “fetus,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” and “evidence-based.’

According to the Washington Post, DHHS recently issued a report to the Centers for Disease Control barring its staff from using those seven words in agency budget documents. In its missive, the rigid, reptilian brains of the GOP-run DHHS told the CDC that instead of using the words “science-based” or “evidenced based” in its budget requests, they suggested the following: “The C.D.C. bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.’’

Unfortunately, there are too few communities in possession of intelligent standards and too many whose wishes can best be described as Stone Age, where men were men and women were, well, a nuisance. Roy Moore, anyone?

As bad and stupid as the list of “forbidden words” is, however, I doubt anyone was prepared for President Trump to go all nuclear and let fly with the “s**t-hole” heard round the world.

Imagine, if you will, the late George Carlin, tuning in to NPR and hearing one of its esteemed journalists quote President Trump by saying “s**t-hole” during a broadcast. I’m sure George would thrust his fist into the air and cry, “Holy c***sucker of Goddamn, I never saw this coming! That mother-f*****g bastard has stolen my lines! What a f*****g a**hole!”

Can you also imagine what had to happen in a meeting at NPR before the decision could be made to allow its journalists to use that term? Jarl Mohn, CEO of NPR, probably assembled a focus group to help him make the decision.

It might have gone something like this. Sitting at a round table with much back-and-forthing among his assembled staff, Mr. Mohn straightens his tie and says, “Well, as I see it, it’s never OK to use the word “s**t” unless it’s attached to the word “hole.” That mitigates the negativity. It’s not just saying s**t for s**t’s sake, but rather to make a point by quoting the president. The word “hole” by itself will continue to be acceptable to use in any context. I say we proceed.”

Whereupon Steve Inskeep stands up and says, “Most of our listeners are old and they probably won’t like it. But on the other hand, young people will think we’re cool, so let’s do it. We need a new audience and we need new donations. Let’s test it out at 3:00 a.m. on Morning Edition.” And, thus, broadcasting history was made.

Pity the ghost of Walter Cronkite pacing the halls of the White House, his head buried in his hands, murmuring, “All my work, all those years of maintaining my integrity, gone to s**t.”

What’s next? Kindergarteners marching into school in the morning, shouting, “What are we doing in this s**t-hole?” Melania Trump screaming, “I can’t take this s**t-hole any longer?” We’d never know if she was referring to the White House or to her husband.

Now that s**t-hole has been loosed upon the land, I can’t wait for the 2020 presidential debates. Who among Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, John Kasich and Joe Biden will be first to go nuclear on their opponents?

Stay tuned.

Rosie Sorenson is a humor writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can contact her at:

From The Progressive Populist, Febuary 15, 2018

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