The famous comedian George Carlin passed away last week. I was never a fan of George Carlin and I didn't like his irreverence toward God and religion. Nor was I fond of his hippie appearance, his liberal views, and his vulgar language.
I blame Carlin for legitimizing foul language with his bit called "Seven Words That You Can Never Say On TV". This bit became famous when it was played on a New York radio station, and subsequently, the station was brought up on charges of "obscenity". Finally the case was decided by the US Supreme Court in 1978. Ever since that time, I have noticed that more and more foul language has crept into TV, the movies, music, cable and the popular culture. Even programs that do not specifically use bad words, use euphemisms for them such as friggin or biatch. When they choose to bleep out the bad words, they do it in such a way that you can still fully understand what word that they bleeped out. Sometimes they only bleep out a portion of the word and the explicit meaning is blatantly obvious. Anyhow, I always felt that this slippery slope toward allowing, condoning and glamorizing obscenity on the public airwaves, in music and in the popular culture, started with George Carlin.
Many people herald Carlin as a hero for being ahead of his time and breaking through cultural barriers. I look at him as someone who has encouraged, aided and abetted the decay of our society. Whenever I happened upon Carlin on TV, like an HBO special or something, I usually quickly changed the channel because I couldn't stand to hear is dirty language.
However, recently I have seen several interviews with top comedians and celebrity friends of Carlin, who remember and eulogize Carlin. They all say that he was the most brilliant comedian of all time. They played some of his work and I agree with them in many cases. Carlin could see and express what is obvious, but many people are to "politically correct" to admit. He wrote all his own work and delivered it with sincerity and passion because he believed in his material and spoke from his heart. In order for comedy to work, there must be an element of truth in it. Carlin brought this truth to the forefront and made it obvious for all to see.
Recently, I saw two of his short comedy bits and I agree wholeheartedly with these heartfelt ideas. I have often spoken those very same words myself. George Carlin has proven to me that we are all unique creatures with differing opinions and passions. No two people are alike. Many are very different in their religious and political views. But Carlin has proven to me that we all share some common beliefs, even with people who we are diametrically opposed to. It is unfortunate that Carlin's death and subsequent celebration of his work, is what has made this so crystal clear to me.
Below, I will print two links to some of Carlin's brilliant work that I agree with completely. These bits appear to be 10 to 15 years old and were truly ahead of their time. I hope that you will appreciate George Carlin's brilliance and honor his memory by taking the time to watch these two hilarious but true comedy bits.
(click either on the links or the embedded video to view the one of the greatest comedians of all time, George Carlin)
"Soft Language" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2gQCHztRAE
"Environmentalists and Global Warming" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbFD4NC60EA