Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin R.I.P!

So much of what my life is coming to be about is in some way epitomized by social commentator and philosopher as counter-culture comedian George Carlin who died in Santa Monica on Sunday evening of cardiac arrest. What I mean is that "being offended" has increasingly become a resource for discovering how American culture ticks, what makes racism and sexism and the lack of Success with opposite sexes tick. Being offended seems to point to many of our cultural superstitions and Carlin was a pro at distinguishing such superstitions.
"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview. "There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have." AP article
Carlin was the first host for Saturday Night Live in 1975 and was a winner of several Grammys. [His] "jokes constantly breached the accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the 'Seven Dirty Words' " for which he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace in Milwaukee in 1972. Though the case was dismissed citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance, after being aired on WBAI-FM radio in NYC, a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upheld the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.

"So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of," he told The Associated Press earlier this year (ibid).

I have to admit when I woke to the news on NPR this morning, I was so sad to hear of his passing. I love what the Reuters wrote: Edgy comic dies as "a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity." Such moments of loss remind me why I love living in a YouTube era. I can share Carlin with those of you unfamiliar with his work. Thought it fitting to bring him into the SUCCESS with the OPPOSITE SEX(TM) blog because he brought gender issues as well as issues of war, whiteness, and corruption in American politics to the fore in an inimitable way. Check it out!

Pro Life is Anti-Woman - George Carlin

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