Thursday, June 11, 2009
Blood of Heroes Part II
George Carlin. What else can I say? The man had an amazingly long career, spanning decades. To tell you the truth, I had a hell of a time deciding what picture to post here-being that there are so many to choose from and several of them couldn't be more different. I eventually chose the one above because it seems to be from somewhere in the middle: not his button-down suit and tie days on the Steve Allen era Tonight's Show, and not from the more recent years when you could see him getting weaker month to month. This one seemed to be George at the prime of his life.
I was exposed to George Carlin at an early age. I caught one of his HBO specials when I was around 12 or 13 and have loved him ever since. He actually planted the first seeds in my head which led to my eventual break from organized religion (or maybe religion in general. I haven't quite gotten to that point yet). If I remember correctly, it was:
In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man -- living in the sky -- who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!
My father had actually said pretty much this same thing to me earlier, but I wasn't read to hear it. In the interest of being fair. I slowly took in just about everything I could get by and about George Carlin, checking his books out of the library, watching his comedy specials, nothing over the top. I came to truely admire him and I still do. I don't mean to populate my list entirely with stand-up commedians (and I won't), but they seem to usually be the only ones saying what needs to be said, and nobody said it better than Carlin. I remember after he died, I read an article by Chris Rock where he commented on the fact that he (Rock) was always being compared to Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. And, while he admitted that he admired both of those guys, he personally felt that his style was much closer to George Carlin's, in the fact that Carlin never seemed to do ANY joke more than a few times (7 Dirty Words not withstanding). This, Rock said, was in stark contrast to the current trend in comedy which is to find a popular routine and run it INTO THE FUCKING GROUND. Git'r'done indeed.
Needless to say, I've always liked that analysis of Carlin's career, and I've always loved Carlin himself. As Neil Young famously said, it's better to burn out than fade away. Surprisingly George Carlin never did either.
"We have to declare war on everything. We have the war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on litter, the war on cancer, the war on drugs. But did you ever notice, we got no war on homelessness? You know why? There's no money in that problem! No money to be made off of the homeless. If you could find a solution to homelessness where the corporate swine and the politicians could steal a couple of million dollars each, you'd see the streets of America begin to clear up pretty god-damned quick, I'll guarantee you that!"
"Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers."
When I was a kid, if a guy got killed in a western movie I always wondered who got his horse
And I leave you with my personal Mantra:
Don't confuse my point of view with cynicism. The real cynics are the ones who tell you that everything`s gonna be all right.