George Carlin, RIP

Posted by Bushel Basket in , ,

I read this morning that George Carlin died yesterday. I was very sad to hear this. I didn't view him as just a comedian, but also as a prophetic voice.

Many people have heard about the controversy surrounding his "Seven Dirty Words" sketch. It's not any comedian that can be part of a Supreme Court ruling. I also particularly enjoyed his routine on "Stuff," as well as many other witty observations about American society and politics. Though he was a professed atheist, I found religious inspiration in his words and a necessary critique of religious structures. To be honest, I sometimes used George Carlin as a litmus test for my own writings. In seminary, we were encouraged to think of our "communities of accountability" when we wrote, and I used Carlin as a sort of 'bull-shit' detector, a voice to keep me from departing too far from what is true and into the specious. If I felt that something I was writing could be satirized by Carlin, I found some other way to express that position

In reading his various obituaries, I found out that I became exposed to him just as his comedy was becoming more socially conscious. From the Chicago Tribune, "Last year, he said a highlight of his career was a 1992 HBO special titled Jamming in New York. 'That was the point where I probably became more of a writer who performed his own material. The material became more like essays, they became more socially conscious, and it was just a major jump from being what I think of as only an entertainer to being an artist-entertainer,' he said in a 2007 Times interview." Just as I was finishing high school, he gained a larger social conscience, something that I feel he helped instill in me.

So, raise a glass for George Carlin. Check out his life on wikipedia, and watch some of his bits on youtube. He's a comedian and an artist-entertainer that's well worth getting to know better.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 23, 2008 at Monday, June 23, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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