Monday, June 23, 2008

I Miss George Carlin Already

George Carlin may have left the planet, but he hasn't left our consciousness.

One of my rites of passage was listening to his famous "seven words" routine, which every teenager knew as the "seven dirty words." To this day, mainstream broadcast TV and radio will not allow these words, even though you can hear them on most rap songs on your ipod.

On a New York radio station, they played the routine again, which eventually resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government’s authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.

“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.

Carlin should be more of a footnote. He was the natural heir to Lenny Bruce, who often expanded the boundaries of humor and satire, simply by telling the truth. Keep in mind I'm not confusing pushing the comedic envelope with good taste or that vulgarity is always funny. It's not and there are far too many comics and writers who feel that it's their divine right to invoke potty and body function jokes on a regular basis.

Carlin took taboos and smashed them around with his microphone. He was a genuine wit and laser-guided social observer. He could make fun of anything with a good spirit and keen eye.

One of my favorite Carlin routines was the strung-out "Hippy-Dippy Weatherman."

"Tonight's forecast --- dark!"

We need more George Carlins to test the limits of the 1st Amendment. There's no need to go without him, though. Here are some of his top jokes, as cited by

* Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

* Swimming is not a sport; swimming is a way to keep from drowning. That’s just common sense!

* A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

* If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

* The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.

* Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

* If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

* Why do croutons come in airtight packages? It’s just stale bread to begin with.

* The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.

* When someone asks you, “A penny for your thoughts,” and you put your two cents in, what happens to the other penny?

* Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?

* Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice?”

* I don’t like to think of laws as rules you have to follow, but more as suggestions.

* Here’s a bumper sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child who’s self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.”

* Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.

* In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem

* Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

* I’m always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it.

* The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.

* Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.

* The Golden Gate Bridge should have a long bungee cord for people who aren’t quite ready to commit suicide but want to get in a little practice.

* I think I am, therefore, I am. I think.

* Capitalism tries for a delicate balance: It attempts to work things out so that everyone gets just enough stuff to keep them from getting violent and trying to take other people’s stuff.

* What was the best thing before sliced bread?

* Life is a zero sum game.

* I have as much authority as the Pope. I just don’t have as many people who believe it.

* The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

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