Sunday, June 22, 2008

George Carlin: Requiescat in Pace

We lost a cultural icon tonight.

George Carlin died of heart failure. He was 71.

I don't normally put much stock in celebrities, particularly actors. So why does the death of this comic bother me? Carlin was more than just a comedian. He was a brave man; one who fearlessly attacked ridiculous cultural institutions and expressed views that were unpopular. He shamelessly took on controversial issues and taught us to laugh at them. He never pulled any punches, and his direct, blunt attacks lacked any subtlety in favor of knocking his targets directly on their asses.

I've struggled throughout my life, dealing with constant bullshit. It was always the kind of bullshit you weren't supposed to put up with -- you were just supposed to accept it (e.g. dealing with religious zealots and drama-nazis who can't help but let their neurotic emotional states invade your life). George Carlin took things like these head-on, and called them out . . . and made it funny, to boot! Fighting to deal with such things, it was an inspiring to see someone like him be so unafraid to strike stupidity down in its place. I can honestly say that seeing some of his routines eventually gave me the strength to drop the pretense and take these things on, in my life, myself. I don't put up with crap anymore, and am quicker to call bullshit when I see it, and I think I owe some of that to him. I think it would be accurate to call him a bit of a hero of mine. I'm glad I was able to see him in person before he died.

Thank you George, for teaching us that bullshit is bad for us, and thank you even more for showing us that we can take it on. We'll miss you.

George Takes on Religion

George Defrags the Ten Commandments

George on Countdown

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