Monday, June 23, 2008

Strange Days Indeed, Most Peculiar Mama

George Carlin is dead.
He died yesterday, which was a Sunday, which is apt in a way because he held Sunday in no higher regard than any other day of the week.

In one of the true ironies existent in human nature, he became an icon by excelling at being an iconoclast. He tore down with what seemed to many uptight assholes to be wanton disregard and recklessness. In reality, he tore down with a focus and insight that very few individuals in the public spotlight have ever possessed. And when presented with his spot-on, poignant social commentary, the knee-jerk response of many was to attempt to denigrate and insult. And blissfully, their impotent attempts at both served only to make him all the more relevant.

I got a kick out of the attempt at Faux News to trivialize his demise. They basically said he focused on drugs and obscenity. I have no doubt that's exactly how the tight-assed, hypocritical, ego-maniacs under Murdoch see it. Many of the readers as well. But what sums it up best is the interview from Hannity and Colmes. Not surprisingly, Hannity got nowhere near Carlin. He left it up to Colmes. And while I'd have given a pinky toe to have seen Hannity eviscerated by George, I was at least somewhat surprised that Hannity had enough sense to let his survival instinct keep him safe. On the flip side, Hannity was once again shown to be a sackless pussy shill for the Demonic Right.

So he became notorious for his Seven Words. And like a bunch of good mindless, right-wing sheep, the establishment took him to task for what they saw to be senseless obscenity and vulgarity. In reality, though, what he did with those words, and the way he presented them, was establish that the words themselves carried no more power or significance than what we attributed to them. Without archaic, puritanical sensibilities, those words were no more offensive than any others. We, as careless communicators, attached the nastiness to the words. He felt they were nothing more than the product of silly religious superstitions. They should no more be banned, in total, than any other words in the language. Indeed, the obscenity of those words paled in comparison to the inherent obscenity of war, which was brought on not by some obsolete hang-ups, but by the very commission of acts to which we seemed unable or unwilling to attach due significance. It seems his message was on-point.

He felt that humanity has lost its way, that we, as a species, have become more concerned with property than people. And in this, at least from a non-third-world aspect, he is quite correct.

He stated clearly that he was not happy with his homeland, the USA. He felt it had become one huge, capitalist mall, with everyone trying to sell everyone else cheeseburgers, laundry detergent, drugs, and cars.
He felt that the American people had willingly become duped, and that they based their perception of freedom and liberty on false, meaningless choices. We feel free not because those we put into power are going to offer us something different when all is said and done, because let’s face it, they won’t, but because we can get dozens of flavors of jellybeans and ice cream on a whim.

He felt that the only things the people in this country truly had any absolute right to were the ability to eat, have decent shelter, and the capacity to be able to work to provide and maintain those first two things. And unfortunately, those things are regularly trod upon by those we put into power. And we deserve the revocation of those rights for as long as we allow those assclowns to remain in their fancy leather chairs in whatever capitol they are serving.

No man has ever been right all the time. But I think George Carlin might just have one of the highest percentages of correctness seen in modern times. He could cut through the bullshit and lay open what most would rather not see or speak of. And in so doing, he created, in essence, two camps of people who listened to him. There were those who heard what he had to say and professed outrage and indignation. These are the souls who fear the mirror like field-mice fear the hawk. He spoke of what was inside these people, and they were terrified to the point that nothing other than strident denial would allow them to maintain the illusion of their lives.
Then there were those who heard him, and realized that the mirror was a best friend, that it could be used to identify those places that needed the most work, the dark recesses that, once illuminated, held the secrets that could do the most good.

I was a fan from the time I was allowed to listen to such comedians, pretty much the early 1970’s. I never got to see him live, because I always found a reason to say, next time, I’ll see him the next time he comes around. But I didn’t need to see him in person to appreciate the treasure he was.

We don’t become better by pampering ourselves and making believe all is well. We don’t improve our lots in life by pretending that we will be rightly served by the people we elect, the gods we believe in, or the relationships we undertake. We need to stay on top of these matters, not only because the others aren’t always acting in our best interests, but because we are often guilty of the worst things of which we accuse them. And so I would like to thank George for being the harsh mirror that too many of us shun, but that we all need in a real bad way.

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