Monday, June 23, 2008

Rest in peace? Fuck you!



I haven't been so bummed by the death of someone I'd never met since Spalding Gray threw himself off the Staten Island Ferry. Like Gray, Carlin was a huge influence on my writing, and the way I look at things, and also obviously my fucking truckdriver mouth.

Carlin had just been named a winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and I was looking forward to the ceremony, and him telling all those stuffed shirts at the Kennedy Center exactly what he thought of them. I mean, what took them so fucking long? Carlin should've gotten this award the year after the first recipient, Richard Pryor, won it in 1998. Instead they pissed around, giving the damn thing to funny but unremarkable talents like Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal.

What, no Robin Williams?

I remember like a lightening bolt the first time I heard the album "Class Clown," and the famous bit "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." Carlin got arrested for doing the routine live, and it was referenced in a landmark 1978 Supreme Court case that unfortunately upheld the FCC's prerogative to fine radio and television stations for language that the FCC, collectively, thinks is nasty.

Yes, we're such a nation of prissy old ladies, aren't we? I mean seriously, they're JUST WORDS. They're just words. They're just fucking words, motherfuckers.

Or, in the words of the late, great, George Carlin:

The FCC, a non-elected body, answerable only to itself, appointed by the President of the United States, has taken it upon itself to decide that radio and television in this country are the only aspects of American life not protected by the first amendment of the Constitution. I’d like to repeat that because it sounds vaguely important.

The FCC, a non-elected body, appointed and answerable only to the President of the United States, has taken it upon itself to decide that radio and television in this country are the only aspects of American life not protected by the first amendment of the Constitution.

You know why they did it? Because they got a letter from a reverend in Mississippi. A Reverend Donald Wildman heard something on the radio that he didn’t like. Well, Reverend, did you know there are two knobs on the radio? One of them turns the radio off and the other one changes the station! Imagine that, you can actually change the station! It’s called freedom of choice, and it’s one of basic ideals this country is founded on. Look it up in the library, Reverend, if you have any of them left when you get done burning all the books.
The brilliance of observational bits like Baseball v. Football aside, Carlin was at his best, for me, when he just came out and said what most of us suspect is true, and for that, I leave you with this:

20 comments:

Splotchy said...

Nice post, and a wonderful clip.

Some Guy said...

Thanks for that clip. That's from the special I think I missed. I've been saying the same thing about how his comedy and social commentary had a huge influence on me - perhaps the most in terms of someone I didn't know personally.

kirby said...

Who do you think will pick up the torch now that he's dead? Has someone already done it? Colbert and Stewart sort of do it in a different format, but I'm wondering about the stand-ups.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Splotch!: Thanks. I love that clip too.

Chris: Yeah, I figured you for a fan. GC really had not taboo subjects, and you got to love him for that.

Kirby: I would've said Bill Hicks, if her hadn't died prematurely. In terms of political comedians, I think Lewis Black has a nice cranky vibe and is unflinching. His Comedy Central show sucked, but his stand-up is very good.

kiki said...

to me, Robin Williams is only just a touch above Adam Sandler and Crocs.

'twas a good clip though
cheers (big ears)

Distributorcap said...

a true original, a true rebel, a true comic and a true ground breaker
how many comics have a whole supreme court case?


RIP george, you will be missed

SkylersDad said...

I believe that I have felt that big Red, White and Blue dick shoved up my ass on more than a couple of occasions.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

A voice of reason in a world full of fucked-up-ness.

Mnmom said...

He's so right, it scares me.

Bubs said...

Brilliant. Thanks.

I've grown so tired of seeing various anti-immigrant, rightwing forwarded emails attributed to George Carlin that I came close to forgetting how great he really was.

Johnny Yen said...

A couple of years ago, one of the talk show hosts had Carlin and Anne Coulter on the same night, expecting, I think, fireworks. I had to laugh out loud as Coulter turned into a meek little mouse-- even she knew that mice should not fuck with eagles.

Cap'n Ergo Jinglebollocks said...

Johnathan fucking WINTERS got the award before Carlin? Fucks...

Anyway, I think Carlin was sort of Everyman's Noam Chomsky-- telling us what we all needed to hear and being a lone voice for sanity in a world gone completely mad.

I miss him...

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Great clip... "rich cocksuckers who don't give a fuck about you" Yep, unfortunately, that describes the majority of politicians these days.

Dad E said...

"One thing nice about being dead is that you immediately become eligible to appear on stamps and money."

Carlin was one the greatest Americans of our time, not just one of our greatest comedians.

"You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans."

Carlin was an atheist, like me, and whenever he made fun of a nation of robotic believers of religious fairy tales, I loved him the most.

But I believe in life and death. What George Carlin has left behind within his amazing body of work will last and last for a long time and benefit some to become more critical thinkers. And so future generations will receive the benefits.

"Never believe anyone in authority says. None of them. Government, Police, clergy, the corporate criminals. None of them. And neither do I believe anything I'm told by the media, who, in the case of the Gulf War, functioned as little more than unpaid employees of the Defense Department, and who, most of the time, operate as unofficial public relations agency for the government and industry."

Thank you George. You live on within many of us.

Jess said...

I love George Carlin. One of the few comedians that I actually would listen to, and I think he's funny as hell. Usually. But I gotta say, as much as I agree with everything he says in that clip you posted... it wasn't funny at all. It was just angry and sad. And depressing as all hell. At least Bill Hicks was funny when he talked about that stuff.

Grant Miller said...

Not only was he crude and funny - he was super fucking spot on and insightful- even philosophical at times. Brilliant.

'Bubbles' said...

I loved him and was deeply saddened to hear about his death. Of all comics that I have enjoyed in my lifetime he was probably the first one that would come to mind if I was asked who was my favorite.

Sad... but inevitable.

GETkristiLOVE said...

The Seven Words was a big bit in our house. I remember when you told me about him getting arrested for it and how stupid you thought it was. Didn't someone (dad?) have a Fuck t-shirt?

Dr. Monkey Hussein Monkerstein said...

The man was oh so correct. I'm surprised he didn't get offed by the real owners of this country.

dguzman said...

"I've grown so tired of seeing various anti-immigrant, rightwing forwarded emails attributed to George Carlin that I came close to forgetting how great he really was."

Me too, Bubs. He was a good egg.

Great clip--pretty much says it all, doesn't it?