George Carlin passed away a few days ago, and though I only became a big fan of his in the past few years I regret the fact that I never had the chance to see him live. There have been thousands of tributes online over the past few days that like me you may have read, so I won't waste your time with a biography of his life. Still, his passing to me feels like it did when Frank Sinatra, George Burns, or George Harrison died; a talent beyond replication and inherent to the individual alone. A kind of force that continued on despite the changes in the world, and one that actually caught more fire the more ridiculous certain parts of our culture had become.
His enemies called him "crass", "beyond vulgar", and Larry King called him in eulogy,"a kind gentle man off-stage". Whatever he was, his delivery called on his throngs of fans to not only LAUGH, but to THINK as well. He invited us to point out our flaws and laugh as much as we wanted, but to also be sure to keep our eyes on those who keep their eyes on us.
In his final few comedy specials and interviews, Carlin never hesitated to call out the current administration, the "great powers above everyone", and the fact that he thought America was DONE.
I don't know if he really thought that. If he did, I don't think his material would have been so focused on making sure everyone questioned everything, not letting the consumer culture consume YOU, and waking the hell up before it's too late. When watching, it's almost a desperate plea to save ourselves and to believe in our individualities served in the palatable bite of comedy.
Enjoy the videos and know that though I wouldn't play them in the company of young ones, I would digest them as a way to satisfy the hunger for a new way of thinking, and to remember a way you may have forgot...