Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Being a palliative medicine blog, you might think we would post an obituary here every once in a while, but there would be too much to say about too many wonderful people that we may never get back to the regular programming. One notable exception is the recent death of George Carlin, the stand-up comic who died this week, most famous for his "Seven Words You Can't Say On TV." If you looked closely, one of his constant philosophical/comedic themes was the use of words and how we use 'soft language' to make us feel better about very tough situations.
Palliative Care professionals understand the power of words; they are our tools like a surgeon's scalpel. The words we use must be discussed, studied, understood, re-examined and respected. That is why seeming pet peeves such as 'opioid vs. narcotic' are really about demonstrating knowledge, revealing potential biases, and a reflection of what our culture admires and despises. And for that I am glad for George Carlin's profanity laced comedic examination of what words can do.
The following 7 minute clip has words some may find offensive, and it won't get you the promotion at work if you play it on '10' in your cubicle. Go to 6:00 for an examination of euphemisms for death.