R.I.P. George Carlin

I’m saddened this morning with the passing of my generation’s comedian, George Carlin. Comics, poets and artists are the prophets of contemporary culture, striking out against the status quo for its absurdities. Nobody did it better in my lifetime than Carlin. And when a modern prophet passes, we’ve all suffered a loss.

His most recent HBO specials were just a vapor of his real genius, and it was clear he was getting old (he was 71). But who of my generation isn’t? I wish he’d struck out against old age, but he didn’t, and his humor just wasn’t what it used to be. I hope his passing will result in an outpouring of some of his earlier and mid-career stuff, because this was a funny, funny man.

I loved George Carlin, and like most people my age, I use some of his stuff in everyday language. My favorite is: “These are the kinds of thoughts that kept me out of the good schools.”

The world is better for him having been here.

(UPDATE) I’ve been sitting here thinking about the cultural contributions of Carlin compared to Tim Russert. Will it be all-Carlin-all-the-time tonight?

Carlin’s brilliance was in his ability to call “bullshit” in the most unusual ways. Here’s a famous line from the “hippy-dippy weatherman:” Weather forecast for tonight: dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.

And as a nature lover, this was always one of my favorites: The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.

I’ll bet the search engines are clogged with Carlin traffic today.


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