I’ve never understood why people are so afraid of words. I remember my first exposure to George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words routine and feeling how ridiculous it was that government felt a need to regulate what can be spoken (see FCC v Pacifica Foundation ). Throughout the years I was able to hear more of Carlin’s various rants on language (I was lucky enough to see him live), and each time I felt more strongly about the stupidity of regulating speech.
As the Information Age appeared, the ability (and effectiveness) of regulating speech/information began to approach zero. But we do still live in a sanitized world, a world where certain words are erased all around us as if they never existed.
This came up this morning as I was watching War Games on AMC and realized how much editing was done to the dialog. I only realized the missing dialog because the movie is etched into my brain, almost word-for-word. I remember seeing this movie when I was about 15 … and I loved it. It didn’t warp me or turn me into an obscenity-screaming lunatic.
While I expect (but don’t agree with) the standard editing of four-letter words, I was surprised words like “God” and “Christ” had been cut out. Even silly editing like turning “Jesus Christ” into “Jesus”, and “God Damnit” into “Damnit”.
I know (or maybe hope?) that the editing is done to appeal to the largest audience, since they just want as many viewers as possible, but there is also something to be said for showing movies in their original form. I guess that’s why I buy movies.