George Carlin, the best, RIP

23Jun08

There’s going to be many tributes coming, but I have to say it will be interesting to see how Carlin’s death is handled. As Carlin was a staunch atheist, we can only hope that people will respect him and his beliefs enough not to say “he’s looking down on us now,” or “he’s happy now.”

Looking at things now, George Carlin actually helped shaped a lot my own beliefs, exposing the superstition of religion, the pettiness of the American people, the foolishness of the left, but mostly the right; most importantly, the ability to speak the truth no matter how much it went against conventional wisdom, how much it hurt feelings, or how ridiculously funny it is.

There’s going to be a lot of people in the next couple days that will say “I don’t agree with everything he said” in a pathetic attempt to cover their own ass or beliefs. No one believes entirely what anyone else does, let alone a politically incorrect comedian! People may just say he was eccentric, they may accuse him of being “troubled” for his time in rehab. Certainly his involvement in the Supreme Court’s obscenity cases will be raised, and that will cast him as a foul-mouthed potty humorist. But as Carlin himself would have said, it’s all bullshit, and it’s bad for ya. While it may be contrary to the nature of comedians,  there is no comedian that should be taken more seriously than Carlin.

Watching his HBO specials, and noting his popularity (my mom told me today that even my late grandfather was a huge fan of his), there was always something that confused me about Carlin–how the hell does he get this many people to listen to this stuff? Again, while I am a huge Carlin fan, I also admire the philosophies in his humor, not to mention that Carlin never stopped being relevant or engaged–ever. Are there really that many people out there that can appreciate this stuff on the same level?

The answer is I don’t know. It’s often comedians that can make the most profound statements, but only because we write them off as “just kidding.” Unless Carlin was talking about killing people (and even sometimes then), I basically never wrote him off like that; I hope going forward, in this election and in our culture, we are to take a more serious look at one of the funniest people who ever lived.

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