23 June 2008
George Carlin is dead. The perpetually grouchy king of a cynical counterculture passed away. I found much of Carlin's work decidely too negative. His humour, at times, brutally unkind. But that was the appeal of this individual.
I like comedy. It is one of the rare tools which allows all of us to reexamine our own self-importance and challenge sacred beliefs. It is a platform for common understanding - given the right joke. We all seem to be able to laugh at simple, physical humor - a favorite of Citizen Prime. But it is the subtlety which prunes the mind allowing new ideas to grow.
If we can laugh at something, we can then begin to think critically about it. We can laugh at religion, politics, gender issues, ethnicity and other topics and start to understand that these concepts and ideas are not unassailable, monolithic constructs.
There are normal frailties inherent in these beliefs. This is not to say that they are deserving of ridicule, but that having been ridiculed - do they survive or even thrive?
There have been no shortage or jokes at the expense of the Catholic church. In fact, it is probably one of the longest standing institutions which has been subject to satire. It certainly has not vanished, althoguh one could argue that the changes in the church are due, in no small part, to satire.
Both recent presidents have been the helpless vicitms of satirical attack. Clinton for his lascivious nature and Bush for his public speaking. Neither really recovered from these pointed attacks on real character flaws.
Every day I tune in to my XM satellite radio and listen to a dose of stand up comedy. Whether it is left leaning (the majority) or right (Dennis MIller being one of the few in this space) it never ceases to provide me a smile (no matter how grim) and an insight into some modern conundrum.
I expect when George arrives at his final destination, the almighty (or whomever) will pat him on the back and say;
"That seven dirty words routine was f*****g hilarious."