June 23, 2008

George Carlin died.

What a terrible loss. You know I thought he was the best living comedian. We were just talking about that here — last April. I've loved him since the 1970s. There are decades-old routines that spring to mind immediately as the most brilliant comic riffs I've ever heard — the one about all our "stuff" and the comparison between football and baseball (and golf).

"That's the whole meaning of life: trying to find a place for your stuff."



And here's the football/baseball one:



When someone dies, maybe you think about religion and the afterlife. Here's what George Carlin thought of such things:



Now, George Carlin has a special place among comedians because he's got a Supreme Court case about him — FCC v. Pacifica Foundation. You can read the case, and you can watch his 7 Dirty Words routine:



He elaborated on that over the years:



The text of the Supreme Court case includes the FCC's transcript of the version that got played on the radio:
The big one, the word fuck that's the one that hangs them up the most. [']Cause in a lot of cases that's the very act that hangs them up the most. So, it's natural that the word would, uh, have the same effect. It's a great word, fuck, nice word, easy word, cute word, kind of. Easy word to say. One syllable, short u. (laughter) Fuck. (Murmur) You know, it's easy. Starts with a nice soft sound fuh ends with a kuh. Right? (laughter) A little something for everyone. Fuck (laughter) Good word. Kind of a proud word, too. Who are you? I am FUCK. (laughter) FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. (laughter) Tune in again next week to FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN. (laughter) It's an interesting word too, [']cause it's got a double kind of a life - personality - dual, you know, whatever the right phrase is. It leads a double life, the word fuck. First of all, it means, sometimes, most of the time, fuck. What does it mean? It means to make love. Right? We're going to make love, yeh, we're going to fuck, yeh, we're going to fuck, yeh, we're going to make love. (laughter) we're really going to fuck, yeh, we're going to make love. Right? And it also means the beginning of life, it's the act that begins life, so there's the word hanging around with words like love, and life, and yet on the other hand, it's also a word that we really use to hurt each other with, man. It's a heavy. It's one that you have toward the end of the argument. (laughter) Right? (laughter) You finally can't make out. Oh, fuck you man. I said, fuck you. (laughter, murmur) Stupid fuck. (laughter) Fuck you and everybody that looks like you. (laughter) man. It would be nice to change the movies that we already have and substitute the word fuck for the word kill, wherever we could, and some of those movie cliches would change a little bit. Madfuckers still on the loose. Stop me before I fuck again. Fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump, fuck the ump. Easy on the clutch Bill, you'll fuck that engine again.
Hey, I love the "[']." Try to do a Carlinesque riff on [']. Not easy, is it?

And God bless Justice Brennan, who dissented in Pacifica:
My Brother STEVENS, in reaching a result apologetically described as narrow, ante, at 750, takes comfort in his observation that "[a] requirement that indecent language be avoided will have its primary effect on the form, rather than the content, of serious communication," ante, at 743 n. 18, and finds solace in his conviction that "[t]here are few, if any, thoughts that cannot be expressed by the use of less offensive language." Ibid. The idea that the content of a message and its potential impact on any who might receive it can be divorced from the words that are the vehicle for its expression is transparently fallacious. A given word may have a unique capacity to capsule an idea, evoke an emotion, or conjure up an image. Indeed, for those of us who place an appropriately high value on our cherished First Amendment rights, the word "censor" is such a word. Mr. Justice Harlan, speaking for the Court, recognized the truism that a speaker's choice of words cannot surgically be separated from the ideas he desires to express when he warned that "we cannot indulge the facile assumption that one can forbid particular words without also running a substantial risk of suppressing ideas in the process." Cohen v. California, 403 U.S., at 26.
They don't write them like that anymore. They don't even say "My Brother Stevens" anymore. They couldn't bring themselves to say "My Sister O'Connor," I guess, so they had to stop saying "My Brother Stevens."

Was Carlin political? Here's what he said back in 2004 when Tim Russert (of all people) asked him "Do you vote?":
No, I don't. No. I voted up to McGovern. I feel, actually, a little purer, a little more detached emotionally from it. I really have no stake. If you dropped me from an airplane, I would come down left of center, because I believe more in humans than I do in property. But in terms of the minor machinations and the way they put these things together, I've no interest.
He was on Russert's show promoting his book "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" On the longest 1-day solo drive I ever took — from Austin, Texas to Madison, Wisconsin — I listened to Carlin read "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?"
I have a problem with the Ten Commandments. Here it is: Why are there ten? We don't need that many. I think the list of commandments was deliberately and artificially inflated to get it up to ten. It's clearly a padded list...

When these guys were sittin' around the tent makin' all this up, why did they pick ten? Why ten? Why not nine, or eleven? I'll tell you why. Because ten sounds important. Ten sounds official. They knew if they tried eleven, people wouldn't take them seriously. People would say, "What're you kiddin' me? The Eleven Commandments? Get the fuck outta here!"
I'm really sorry to see this man go. He worked long and hard so many years, making us laugh, bringing us enlightenment:
Mr. Carlin is constantly scribbling notions down in a notebook or recording them on a small voice recorder, and he spends most of his time typing, organizing and reorganizing his ideas in a library of 2,300 files he keeps on his computer — raw material he may someday forge into actual jokes, monologues or material for his books. And as soon as he has recorded a new HBO routine, he begins cycling in fresh material, so that over the course of two years, his entire routine is replaced, and he's ready to record another.

"It's like a sock," Mr. Carlin said. "I darn the sock so much that none of the original material is left. It's the same sock — it's my show — but the old material is gone."

"I have no hobbies and I have no leisure activities," Mr. Carlin added. "My greatest joy is working at the computer with my ideas."
RIP.

71 comments:

Ger said...

Bummer.

Didn't really need to wake up to this news. There aren't many entertainers whose passing I would mourn but George Carlin is certainly one of them.

Like you I have been a huge fan of George for nearly 40 years. One of the things I admired most about him was he was about more than just the money. He wanted to entertain but also prod people to think and care about the issues of the day.

RIP.

peter hoh said...

Made me laugh. Made me think. And so I'll raise a glass and drink.

D said...

I loved him for years. His stuff was brilliant and brilliantly irreverent. Lately though he had just turned into an old liberal ranting against conservatives. But even that he did like no one else could. He will be missed.

Bob said...

D: I loved him for years. His stuff was brilliant and brilliantly irreverent. Lately though he had just turned into an old liberal ranting against conservatives. But even that he did like no one else could. He will be missed.

I agree with this. Carlin grew misanthropic in the last 20 years or so, and made a conscious decision to chuck the conservative part of his audience, openly ridiculing conservative politicians and cultural leaders. Thus I have less regard for his passing than I would otherwise. He was brilliant at manipulating the English language, but I think he coarsened American culture with his most famous work.

Roger Sweeny said...

Reading Brennan's opinion made me nostalgic for the time when free speech was a progressive cause.

rhhardin said...

Too much fuck and shit in his YouTube performances, there for no reason. I don't know what year they are, in the oeurve.

His stuff cleaned up for Imus was good.

It's good he lived to see 900 missing in a Philippine ferry capsizing, up from 700.

Meade said...

First got to know him as the Hippy Dippy Weatherman. Sorry to lose him.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

The baby boom is literally dying. First the guys somewhat older than them, the ones that made them laugh and cry and sing. But then their own, sometimes unexpectedly, but not really uncommon to older age.

Each advancing year they will tick off those from their high school and college years who have died. This number will swell to the extent that an entire news segment can be dedicated to that topic alone, maybe even garnering a channel of its own.


"He who has a powerful desire for posthumous fame does not consider that every one of those who remember him will himself also die very soon; then again also they who have succeeded them, until the whole remembrance shall have been extinguished as it is transmitted through men who foolishly admire and then perish. But suppose that those who will remember are even immortal, and that the remembrance will be immortal, what good will this do you?

Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too."

Marcus Aurelius: The Meditations, Book Four

George said...

So what is Steve Martin? Chopped liver?

Meade said...

rhhardin said...
"[...] fuck and shit [...]"

heh

Skeptical said...

My dad is 71, I'm 39, and we agree that Carlin is the best. This is bad news.

I have the same reaction to his stuff on abortion and religion — his views on these are massively different from my own — that I have when I listen to Bill Hicks on the same things. I go from laughing my ass off to thinking 'boy, if I shared the views behind the jokes, I would find this really, really funny.'

bill said...

tater tits

K T Cat said...

Most of his stuff was pretty funny and thoughtful, but a lot of it, like Bob said above, simply coarsened American culture to no payoff at all. The 7 dirty words routine was funny when I was 12. Now it's just kind of sad.

Simon said...

The first time I came to America, I was played his "traveling on the airlines" skit, mocking the argot of air travel. I'd just been in transit through that system for fourteen hours, so it really resonated. He was sometimes off-key, usually off-color, but often absolutely hilarious.

He and I had something in common that made me like him and pulled me along even when the material was sometimes mediocre (some of his more recent work was not his best). It's something that's evident in the airline skit, but he talked about it often and sometimes explicitly: Carlin had a love affair with words and with the English language; he was interested in how they're put together and how they get freighted with extralexical meaning. Some of my favorite sketches of his mine this seam.

Ann noted-
"They don't even say 'My Brother Stevens' anymore. They couldn't bring themselves to say 'My Sister O'Connor,' I guess, so they had to stop saying "My Brother Stevens."

I guess that did stop at more or less the time that O'Connor arrived. Surely that can't be the reason, though. Perhaps they simply felt less and less like brothers? There had been a sense of common cause among the Warren Court -- "he who fights with me today shall be my brother; we nine, we happy few" (with apologies to the bard) -- that had largely evaporated in the 1970s.

SteveR said...

Yeah he was a very funny guy and was very much my generation's comedian. In concert there was too much "bad" language. I'm no prude but an hour gets tiresome.

The "stuff" routine was classic.

John Burgess said...

Pogo: Picking a little nit, but Carlin wasn't a Baby Boomer. He was born at least nine years too early.

The cutting edge of the Boomer generation is now 62/63, born in 1946. Carlin was a kid during WWII; Boomers were, by definition, born after it.

John Burgess said...

Pogo: Picking a little nit, but Carlin wasn't a Baby Boomer. He was born at least nine years too early.

The cutting edge of the Boomer generation is now 62/63, born in 1946. Carlin was a kid during WWII; Boomers were, by definition, born after it.

John Burgess said...

Pogo: Picking a little nit, but Carlin wasn't a Baby Boomer. He was born at least nine years too early.

The cutting edge of the Boomer generation is now 62/63, born in 1946. Carlin was a kid during WWII; Boomers were, by definition, born after it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In concert there was too much "bad" language. I'm no prude but an hour gets tiresome.

I agree. That's why I never liked Richard Pryor either.

I'll take a guy like Cosby who I think demonstrates real comedic genius and doesn't have to drop the f-bomb to get a laugh.

EDH said...

While Carlin did become more misanthropic in his last 20 years, his critiques of right versus left also became lazy.

His criticisms of conservatives were often trite stereotypes meant for a receptive audience. He still had to take risks and use his own powers of observation to deliver criticisms of liberals, especially baby boomer liberals who he felt were false liberals.

former law student said...

The button-down Wunderful WINO Carlin eventually picked up the free speech torch that Lenny Bruce dropped when he OD'd in the toilet. Here's my favorite bit (substitute LB for the word "people"):

Fuck is a very important word. It is the beginning of life, yet it is a word we use to hurt one another quite often. People much wiser than I am said, "I'd rather have my son watch a film with 2 people making love than 2 people trying to kill one another. I, of course, can agree. It is a great sentence. I wish I knew who said it first. I agree with that but I like to take it a step further. I'd like to substitute the word Fuck for the word Kill in all of those movie cliches we grew up with: "Okay, Sheriff, we're gonna Fuck you now, but we're gonna Fuck you slow."

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

Yes, Steve Martin IS chopped liver.
A semi-funny prop comic who now fancies himself to be a "serious" actor.

George Carlin was probably the best comic since Lenny Bruce. Although he got away from stream of consciousness commentary and went to doing canned "bits", he was great every time.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: "Surely that can't be the reason, though. Perhaps they simply felt less and less like brothers?"

Oh, I'm nearly sure it's the reason. In anticipation of the first female justice, they dropped the usage "Mr. Justice Stevens" too. I remember when that happened, and it seems that the use "brother" ended at the same time.

Feeling less like brothers would be a reason to say "brothers," not a reason to drop it.

former law student said...

Carlin wasn't a Baby Boomer.

Quite right, to paraphrase pogo he was a Baby Boomer icon, not a baby boomer. The only baby boomer icons who were themselves baby boomers were people like Billy Mumy, the Cartwright sisters, and David Cassidy. (Even the luscious Annette Funicello was a WW II baby.)

Rick Lee said...

Carlin was by any definition a great comedian. His influence was massive. But at some point I got tired of him. I think it was the day he went off on golf. It was a very long rant and he basically said golf was evil because it took up all this precious land for the enjoyment of a few rich guys. That's an opinion that only a New Yorker could come up with. Out here in the sticks, golf is an egalitarian sport. My dad, the Greyhound bus driver loved golf like nothing else in the world. My uncle the steelworker plays golf when he's not fly fishing. Tiger Woods didn't grow up rich.

He could still make me laugh, and he will go down in history as a great innovator, but about half of what he said made me cringe.

Triangle Man said...

I saw the headline this morning and said "Oh fuck.".

Pogo said...

Picking a little nit, but Carlin wasn't a Baby Boomer. He was born at least nine years too early.

Yes; my phrase 'First the guys somewhat older than them' meant to convey that issue, though that seems to have failed.

Boomers will not go gently into that good night. But they will go, all the while thinking the sand they wrote on saying "I was here" will remain for others to remark upon.

john said...

Pogo, regarding being lost to a new generation, I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned Carlin's stint as conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine. Very memorable, until that unfortunate accident on stage when he left his foot on the rail and Thomas rolled over it. The string of "fuckshitpisscuntcocksuckermotherfuckertits" resulted in him quickly being replaced by Ringo in that role.

Thanks for including that great Marcus Aurelius quote.

William said...

The dirty words have changed but they are still dirty and, now, even more toxic. Carlin's dirty words made him a cause celebre and did no harm to his career. Richards-Kramer said some dirty words out loud and now his career is finito...C.S. Lewis said that we pray to God not to change God's mind about us but to change our mind about God. I was thinking about that quote during Carlin's rant against God. God was the inspiration of Donne's poetry and Carlin's ire. That's not proof of God's existence, but it is proof of his presence.

rcocean said...

Humor is subjective and I always thought Carlin was just a good B+ comedian. He was a rebel in the 70s. Too bad he played it safe the last 20 years and kept on attacking conservatives and other easy targets.

As for Bruce - never found him funny at all. Nor "Thought provoking" - guess you have to be over 55 to enjoy him.

Pryor on the hand is very funny.

Zeb Quinn said...

The George Carlin I knew was circa 1972, the FM & AM album particularly, and there was no mistaking its design to be listened to in an altered state of consciousness. I moved on in life and other than the fact that the Pacifica case was topical when I was in law school, I never thought much about George Carlin much after that.

rcocean said...

BTW, Brennan's opinion struck me as bunch of crap. I'm glad he's off the court.

K T Cat said...

Ann - To a great extent, Carlin made a living being a cutting edge comedian attacking moral prudery. Now that we have song lyrics filled with obscenities and misogyny, 16 year old girls making pregnancy pacts and Section 8 housing exporting the social pathologies that comes along with the sexual libertine lifestyle that Carlin laughed about, how does his humor hold up?

Were those 7 dirty words just words that didn't mean anything? How about if we all go enjoy some gangsta rap now? After all, we wouldn't want to be prudes.

I liked much of his stuff, but he has a lot to answer for.

William said...

According to the Times obituary, Carlin struggled with addiction problems all his life. Like Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor drugs reduced his life span. Has any comedian ever presented a killer routine about how fatuous it is for comedians to seek a drug that if taken in just the right dose will lead to endless happiness and creativity? Perhaps a riff about how the sheer toxic bullshit embedded in such a belief dwarfs anything learned in the Baltimore Catechism. Maybe a further riff about how addicts who view their own lives with infinite self loathing are apt to project that loathing onto the society in which they live....There comes a point when the froth of youth freezes over and becomes cheap styrofoam packaging.. At the end most of the sacred cows that Carlin attacked were dead steers. The fatuities of Billy Graham and the Pope had little pull on his listeners. As far as I know he never belittled jerks like Abbie Hoffman. A manic depressive high on LSD preaching instant Utopia--now that's rich.

Chip Ahoy said...

I imagined him younger than that. Sorry to hear about this.

ends with a kuh. Right?

No, it doesn't, actually, you have that backwards, it ends with uk.

I love that word, and therefore save it for special occasions; a voiced guttural vowel connecting a labio dental fricative with a uvular plosive, pure and expressive, a simple thing of beauty!

It's the envy of the sweariness of all other languages that must beat around the bushes insulting your sister, your mother, your uncle, pretty much your whole family, goats, and blaspheme your religion, to get at what that single word in English does so effectively in a single syllable. In an age of globalization, it reigns supreme and absolute among all other sweary words.

BJK said...

While Carlin did become more misanthropic in his last 20 years, his critiques of right versus left also became lazy.

His criticisms of conservatives were often trite stereotypes meant for a receptive audience.


That pretty much sums up the show that I saw last year in Wisconsin Dells (about an hour outside of Madison, for those not familiar). I really wish I could say that I enjoyed that performance more, but he just seemed so very outdated in 2007. (Cosby, who I also saw live last year, is still a vibrant storyteller.)

The lines and Social Norms that Carlin established decades ago have eroded so far that his words lost their shock value. He could still be funny and poignant on topics, make no doubt about it, but the material had started to wear thin.

For a guy who wasn't religious, he played the role of Cardinal Glick perfectly in "Dogma" (I think he had found a kindred spirit in Kevin Smith, having appeared in 3 of Smith's movies).


Angels and Ministers of grace preserve him; he's in Joe Pesci's hands now...

Lawgiver said...

Well, the funny fuck is dead. I wonder how many cunts mourn his passing? Did the motherfucker piss away all his stuff or did he leave any shit for his daughter Kelly? His cocksucking wife died several years ago, I bet he really missed her. I hear she had fablulous tits back in the day.

Funny stuff, I can never get enough of it.

LarsPorsena said...

He was as funny as Bill Maher.
Even though Maher is extant, you can still use the past tense for both.

sonicfrog said...

7 Dirty Words will always be a favourite.

And for those bummed because GC was too hard on conservatives, Waaaa! He was Hard On Everybody. Deal with it.

WOW! I sound bitter this morning.

sonicfrog said...

Who was it that said "Comedy - if you're not pissing people off, you're probably not doing it right!"?

K T Cat said...

sonic frog - I don't think it was Laurel and Hardy.

senor dee said...

"He coarsened American culture." / "I didn't like him making fun of golf." / "He ranted against conservatives."

Some of you should realize that all of your criticisms of him are exactly what made him great! He made you a little uncomfortable within your own personal boundaries and comfort zones, but just enough to question whether or not he had a point.

I mean, you're damn right he coarsened American culture! We're way too stuck up and stuffy in this country. So what? He said "fuck" a lot. How is that offensive? It's just a word. If it's offensive to you, maybe you need to loosen up.

I love golf too, but he's right about it taking up too much space. Even if you're in the Midwest and have plenty of land NOW, eventually it's going to be taking up too much space. I have nothing else to say about that.

He ranted against conservatives because they're so damn conservative! They always want to tell you what you should do with your body, how to be a good American, and generally have a rigid view on how you should live your life. How could that NOT piss off a guy like George, who was pro-individual?

So if you're a conservative who doesn't curse and loves golf, I can see how George would aggravate you, but didn't he make you question your ways and your beliefs just a little bit? And isn't that an amazing thing that so few people in history have been able to do?

George Carlin was one of the best things to happen to our country in the past century and we're all better off for his contributions. Even the swear-hating conservative golfers.

Roger Sweeny said...

He ranted against conservatives because they're so damn conservative! They always want to tell you what you should do with your body, how to be a good American, and generally have a rigid view on how you should live your life. How could that NOT piss off a guy like George, who was pro-individual?

I do a lot of reading and most of the people telling me what I should do with my body are on the left. No doubt, years ago it was "conservatives" who were most likely to tell you how you should live your life. And they were most likely to be the people passing laws making you do this or that "for your own good."

But that time has pretty much passed. Sadly, so has George.

senor dee said...

Roger -

I certainly did not want my post to shift the conversation to a political debate. My point is that George made people uncomfortable and that's a beautiful thing. He made me VERY uncomfortable and I often disagreed with him, and yet I'm a huge fan. Clearly, though, a lot of people would rather say, "He said this and I don't see it that way and so he wasn't good." I feel bad for those people because in many cases they're missing an opportunity to expand their viewpoint and ultimately, themselves. I'm pretty sure, though, that because of George, there are less of those people...or at least one less in me.

knoxwhirled said...

what you should do with your body, how to be a good American, and generally have a rigid view on how you should live your life. How could that NOT piss off a guy like George, who was pro-individual?

Who is it again that rages against people for smoking and eating fast-food? For shopping at Wal-Mart or watching Fox News? For Driving an SUV, owning a gun, or displaying a flag on their person, their car, their home? Who gave us eminent domain and wants to legislate trans fats?

Not conservatives. At one point in time, your stereotype might have been accurate, but "Liberals" long ago surpassed conservatives in tight-lipped, prudish, nanny-statism. Liberals these days are very, very persnickety about which category of individualism they support. And it's a pretty narrow category.

Pogo said...

My point is that George made people uncomfortable and that's a beautiful thing.

If a man come in your living room and takes a dump on your couch and that makes you uncomfortable, is it still a beautiful thing?

You know, because it was just a joke. Lighten up. Foregoing living room shitting is just missing an opportunity to expand your viewpoint and ultimately, yourself.

LarsPorsena said...

Hey Dee:
"I mean, you're damn right he coarsened American culture! We're way too stuck up and stuffy in this country. So what? He said "fuck" a lot. How is that offensive? It's just a word. If it's offensive to you, maybe you need to loosen up."

Fuck you,Dee ;-)
Hey loosen up.

Neo andertal said...

I usually make a point about not speaking ill of the dead, at least not while the body is warm, but lets face it George Carlin was a self confessed mean spirited bastard who never missed a chance to drop a turd on somebody. So I’ll make an exception this time around. No, I never did like the man. It’s not that he wasn’t often hilarious and I’m agnostic about all the foul language and poddy humor.

His world outlook and actions were those of a man permanently caught up in adolescence. He took the many complexities and contradictions of the world around him as a personal affront. His viewpoint was firmly planted on himself and the giant ego he nursed with every sort of crude indulgence. Likewise his political views were the very definition of agitprop. The issue’s of the day were just ammunition for the big poop sling.

Carlin’s primary theme was license. License to say and do whatever he pleased. Frequently, in fact very frequently, it was license to hate and ridicule those with other views, most frequently those evil arch enemy WASP hypocrites that previously dominated American culture.

George Carlin was the ultimate hip hypocrite. He was an insider comedian for the counterculture crowd. With George you were either in on the joke, or you were shit! His central message was screw them, they crap on other people so we’re going to beat them too it. Being hypocritical about hypocrisy, yes there's humor in that, but we’re laughing at people like George, not with them.

It is often said Mark Twain was the great observer of the American character in his time, George will never deserve such accolades, after all he’s just watching the dog lick his balls.

senor dee said...

Well, I guess it would have to depend on the type of dump and the outcome from cleaning up said feces. Just last week, a friend's infant son crapped himself and, in the diaper-changing process, they got a little doody on my couch. So I had to clean the cushion, and in doing so, I found $5. In this case, not only did I expand my viewpoint (baby poop is a lot gooier than I imagined), but also my wallet.

ps - I donated the 5 bucks to SnarkyBloggersWhoCouldProbablyUseAHug.org

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mtrobertsattorney said...

Lawgiver has really nailed it.

He just wrote the only elegy that should be delivered at the funny fuck's funeral. Time to kick all those Carlin mourners right outa of their "personal boundaries and comfort zones." Senor dee will be ecstatic.

gophermomeh said...

ktc, he's got nothing to answer to. As someone else said, and I agree, he was brilliantly irreverent. He could make you laugh and blush at the same time. He spoke the truth of what he saw. That's the whole point of his schtick.

Pogo said...

A baby? C'mon. Baby poop is even sorta cute, ...sorta; even the name is cute (doody).

I'm talkin' a fibrous malodorous scat from a 170 pound 65 year old man.
Still funny?

And thanks for the donation. If you save just one snarking blogger, it will have been worth it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The hell of it is, he's never going to be able to tell us what are the seven words you can't say to St. Peter.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Possible definition of a liberal: Someone who's better than you because he's shocked by different things.

Brian said...

I'll bet Carlin was laughing to himself when he did the voiceovers for Thomas the Tank Engine, knowing that many parents like me would hear his voice and laugh at the irony of him voicing a children's show.

May he rest in peace.

Palladian said...

"brilliantly irreverent."

Why is irreverence brilliant and reverence scorned? Why is making people uncomfortable necessarily something laudable?

Honest questions which should be welcomed by those who revere irreverence and take comfort in discomforting others.

Naturally the discomfort is only commendable when visited upon certain races, religions, classes and political persuasions, but you knew that already.

I never understood George Carlin. I always though of him as humor for straight people.

montana urban legend said...

"Who is it again that rages against people for smoking"

Not me, as long as you keep your drugs and the fumes containing them in your own body.


"and eating fast-food?"

Not me, as long as I can get more choice than a McDonalds crowding out virtually every spare strip of land.


"For shopping at Wal-Mart or watching Fox News?"

Uh... what? Put whatever crap in your head you want.


"For Driving an SUV,"

As long as you keep your carbon and/or piece of a melted ice cap in your own garage and out of someone else's backyard.


"owning a gun,"

Do try to keep track of those bullets, though.


"or displaying a flag on their person, their car, their home?"

....?


"Who gave us eminent domain"

The most recent and egregious example including Republican appointments such as Souter, Stevens...


"and wants to legislate trans fats?"

Out of our bodies. Keep em in your own. Label them. Advertise. Buyer beware - if the heavily subsidized corn lobby would have allowed it. But they tend to fight things like transparency; and in many cities a more draconian approach was taken.

Do you ever notice how many consumer products don't even list their ingredients these days? Most of the time there's just a 1-800 number on the back to call. My issue is not with what kind of garbage people want to put into their bodies and households, but I do have an issue with how difficult some want to make it for others who want to make an informed choice regarding what to keep out of theirs.

Pogo said...

Since nothing is revered anymore by the public except that which is politically correct, one would think Andrew Dice Clay is the only one currently being "brilliantly irreverent".

Since he has no actual career, one suspects it's some other quality that is valued. Mostly, being an enemy of the permanent things, rather than irreverance (whether brilliant or insipid) suffices to be counted as a fashionable artist in any medium.

senor dee said...

"Why is making people uncomfortable necessarily something laudable"

Palladian,

I can obviously only speak from my experience, but I don't think it was simply THAT he at times made me uncomfortable that I liked, it was how he did it -- which was usually with wit and intelligence. Not the joke about the woman lighting a fart and burning her genitals. Some of his other stuff.

But if you think at all that people in this country are too uptight, then you have to applaud guys like George for trying to loosen people up.

I also think Carlin wanted people to question things and in order to do that effectively, you almost have to be a little irreverent and a little crass -- ya know, to get 'em in the mood.

I dunno, I like that there's a conversation on Carlin and his place in comedy and pop culture, but in the end I think he's just one of those love 'em/hate 'em kind of guys. At 30, I'm really too young to appreciate him for his early work (even the 7 words thing is before my time), but for me, he was the first person to get me to ask questions of major establishments like religion, education, and government, and so I'll always be a fan in some sense. Even when he makes fun of Tiger Woods. Love that guy.

K T Cat said...

So just how's that irreverant lifestyle thing going these days? Say whatever you want, do whatever you want, crap on whatever you want. It seems to be working pretty well for the kids from broken homes, right?

Roger Sweeny said...

montana urban legend,

I haven't noticed any "consumer products [that] don't even list their ingredients these days" (except for cases where the ingredients are on the box and there are individually wrapped pieces inside).

What specifically are you referring to?

knoxwhirled said...

montana,

thanks for displaying exactly the holier-than-thou, fastidious attitude I was referring to.

Carbon! *gasp!*

Oh no! Not another McDonalds *shakes head in despair*

and referring to smoking as "drugs" ... sorry it doesn't get any more prudish than that.

Food aren't labeled... ?? ... back at ya. For chrissake, you want someone to take a micrometer and list each molecule for you?

Thanks for providing an example of a classic self-righteous nanny-stater and a nimby.

Revenant said...

thanks for displaying exactly the holier-than-thou, fastidious attitude I was referring to.

The really funny part is that he doesn't get it.

Palladian said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response, senor dee.

The really good thing about people like Carlin is that they're just as likely to turn on their "own" as on the opposition. I've heard a few of Carlin's more recent routines that roasted the bottom off of hyper-concerned "progressive" types.

rcocean said...

The whole idea that Carlin was "Irreverent" or a "Rebel" who "Made us Think" is Bullshit.

When you stick pins in the real sacred cows and attack the real establishment you don't get a glowing obit in the New York Times.

"Irreverent" means lacking proper respect or seriousness; in this case it just means lacks respect for typical American values. Carlin always had proper respect for elite values - thats why he was a millionaire.

yclipse said...

If you need a Carlin monologue to show your 12-year-old, and you would rather that it be clean, use "A Modern Man". Very recent and absolutely brilliant.

Verso said...

Here is a YouTube video of one of Carlin's last interviews. He remained sharp and funny right up until the end.

Gyndocal said...

Interesting to me that nobody here has observed that everything that George Carlin said was absolutely true! What made him otherwise unique is that he made us laugh in doing so. I hope somebody markets a video of his performances.

dontlettheidiotsgetyoudown said...

George, ya got people riled up, just by dying! You've got to be laughing your skinny little touche off in your state of non-christian, afterlife existence!
I am sensing a massive disconnect between those who love you and those who don't, the same right/left schism that is so madening about our culture today. George is the embodiment of truly progressive thinking, which means looking at current thought systems and tearing them apart, for the purpose of moving humanity forward towards better understandings of ourselves and the cosmos. It entails tearing up any ideology, the old ones as well as the new ones. He pointed out absurdities wherever they were. To say that he is a "liberal" is incorrect. Swearing alot does not a liberal make - it was Vice President Dick Cheney who said, "Go fuck yourself" on the Senate floor, after all. Being "irreverent" does not fit the bill, either, considering that reverence is highly subjective, and, indeed, the very cause of the vastly different viewpoints that we all have. I revere nature and my right to know what corporations are trying to sell to me, whose products are usually just perversions of nature, when it comes to consumables, while others revere... I'm not sure what exactly, the right of corporations to not be regulated, so they can keep perverting nature and selling the results to you? Or the right to greedily consume a huge portion of the earth's natural resources and pollute the air we all breath, while pretending that their actions do not affect anyone but their own, myopic selves?
And being offensive to others' sensitivities, well, that is just a way of getting us to question why, exactly, we have those sensitivities in the first place, and if that isn't somehow absurd or at least funny.
Whether ya love him or hate him, you cannot deny that he was a brilliant thinker.