This month the Supreme Court weighed in on whether or not the "F" word and the "S" word could be said on TV. But I learned a few years ago that there are several non-swear words you can't say on radio, including one that approximately half of all Americans have - a penis.
I discovered this while promoting some tasteless tomes I wrote pseudonymously as Greta Garbage. On "shock jock shows" throughout the country I would start by discussing "Who's Hung in Hollywood and History," the most popular chapters in my "That's Disgusting" and "Greta Garbage's Outrageous Bathroom Book."
I would tell stories of people like Dillinger (who actually wasn't as big as rumored) and Milton Berle (who was). I'd also toss in other legends, like Errol Flynn, who used his incredible organ to play the piano at parties. ("You are my Sunshine" was his favorite piece if you must know.)
I would also mention Napoleon Bonaparte's "separation from his boner part" after his death, an ahem, item later auctioned at Christie's and described as a "dried shriveled object" which measured less than an inch. Which probably explains why it didn't sell at first. ("Not tonight Josephine.")
But I would run out of euphemisms and double entrendres by the time I got around to discussing the extraordinary anatomy of certain contemporary movie and rock stars. I had to tread carefully to avoid a boner on my part, and before I even went on the air, would ask the producers what their policy on the "P" word was.
With the exception of Howard Stern, most wouldn't allow it, one suggesting I say "firetruck," and another, "Shwanstucker" instead. Even the supposedly raunchiest shows chickened out, one literally by playing a "cock-a-doodle-do" recording when I needed to say the first part of that word.
This cowardliness then left me with a foul taste, as does the absurdity of the Supreme Court today wasting time considering whether or not one can say the "F" word" or "S" word on TV.
In this Internet age, can we really "protect" children from a few curse or anatomical words that they're going to see anyway in chat rooms and comment sections? (Can't fool them with "shiat") And why bother?
I wish the Supreme Court would just stick to important issues, and stop going off half-cocked on ones like these.