For those who don't know me on a personal level very well, George Carlin (along with Richard Pryor) was as close to an idol as I had. I don't idolize anyone, as Carlin said, I admire them.
If you want to figure out why I think the way I do and why I do what I do, there's no easier way to do that than to listen to a few of Carlin's routines.
As a tribute, my oldest son's name is Carlin Richard Smith Quinnell. And even my kids were into Carlin as well, as he was the voice (for a while) of Thomas the Tank Engine and Fillmore from Cars.
A couple of others have said what I would've said if I had thought of it first...
"George Carlin was more than just a stand-up comic. He was, in a way, a philosopher with his commentaries on life, drugs, and politics that made us laugh for over four decades."
"He never forgave the world for not living up to his expectations."
That last one is just about right. Enough of my words, here are some of his words...
Everyone talks about his famous "seven words you can never say on television," but he went on to complete the list, which is way longer than seven.
My first introduction into Carlin wasn't the dirty words, though, it was "A Place For My Stuff":
He gave me millions of laughs with routines like Hippy Dippy Weatherman and "Baseball and Football":
He taught me how to think for myself and question what everyone else was teaching me with routines like "I Used to be Irish Catholic":
"Why is Prostitution Illegal?":
"Homelessness and Golf":
The first time I heard him question golf courses and cemetaries as a waste of land space, I thought "he can't say that can he"? Yes he can. And he should. And we should learn from him and asks questions, even if they aren't comfortable and even if they piss people off.
He also is the driving force behind my environmentalist streak, with commentary like this:
Oh beautiful, for smoggy skies, insecticided grain
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea!
And in a strange way, Carlin was the first catblogger:
Some people say that Carlin lost it in his older years. They were wrong. "Modern Man" is one of the best uses of the English language. Ever:
He also mused on death in recent years and, as usual, he looked at it in ways the rest of us thought to ourselves but were afraid to say out loud:
One of the many reasons that I know that I'm in the right community when I hang out with bloggers is that this was the top story all over the place this morning...And, of course, the first place I heard about Carlin's death was in an e-mail from a blogger.
South of the Suwannee: Goodbye George
Shakesville: George Carlin R.I.P.
Rook's Rant: George Carlin, Splenetic Comedian, Dies at 71
PSoTD: Five Words I Don't Want To Read
Pam's House Blend: George Carlin passed away
African-American Political Pundit: Comedian George Carlin has died in Los Angeles at 71
Lab Kat: RIP, George Carlin
The Unapologetic Mexican: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits!
IMproPRieTies: Preboarding the post-funct express
Blue Herald 2.0 (Batocchio): George Carlin (1937 - 2008)
Bark Bark Woof Woof: George Carlin - 1937-2008
Interstate4Jamming2: George Carlin (1937 - 2008)
Pensacola Beach Blog: George Carlin (1937-2008)
Unscrewing the Inscrutable: Well, shit.
Man or Maniac?: The Big Cack-A-Roo
Progressive Homeschoolers of Florida: Who owns you Americans? RIP George Carlin - 1937-2008
Incertus (Brian): Goodbye George
litbrit: R.I.P. George Carlin
Blurbex: Songs for George Carlin
ricksblog: Carlin dead
Situation Awareness: A Comedic Giant... Gone
Politial Bloviation: George Carlin Died
Progress Florida (Ray Seaman): In Memoriam
The Vanity Press: George Carlin R.I.P.
Open Left: Opening the Day: George Carlin, RIP
Dead Frog: George Carlin Dead at 71
Jo Blo: RIP: George Carlin
Carlin often ended his shows with a line that I've always taken to heart: "Take care of yourself. And take care of someone else." In a world where Gov. Bush runs the world (Carlin would called him Gov. Bush because that's the last job he was elected to); In a Bush world, that sentiment is more important now than when it was originally uttered.
I got to see him live just a few months ago. It's rare when something you get that excited about not only lives up to the hype, but surpasses it. George's last show was one of his best and I got to see it.
Thanks, George, for everything.
"Take care of yourself. And take care of someone else." -- George Carlin, 1937-2008