Activist Hall of Fame: George Carlin

Editor’s Note: please check out this article with quotes and pictures…

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”George Carlin

My Role Model George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was not only a stand-up comedian, with 14 HBO comedy specials. He was also an author and actor, having published seven books and performing in 16 movies, as well as 17 television series. His very unique persona and outlook on life drew the attention of young and older audiences alike, as he hosted the pilot episode of the renowned “Saturday Night Live”, and many other well-known shows, including the role of “Mr. Conductor” on PBS’s children’s show “Shining Time Station”. In 2001 he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, courtesy of the 15th Annual Comedy Awards.

Carlin’s highly controversial, rebellious attitude in his early career landed him in an arrest on July 21st, 1972 at the Milwaukee Summerfest, being charged with violating obscenity laws after performing his most debatable act of the time, “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television”.

Anyone who has heard or read the skit knows that this performance was only an illustration of man’s right to question authority, and the right to free speech, or the lack thereof. The case, however, was dismissed in December of 1972, with the judge ruling that Carlin had the right to say whatever he wanted to, as long as it did not cause a disturbance.

“The Seven Words” is only one of numerous incidences in which Carlin was a pioneer in the battle to open up the minds of modern Americans, intriguing us to open our eyes, look around us, and take the world for what it is. He did not sugarcoat anything, and I personally admire him for this. Although he was an admitted atheist, having denounced the belief in any God of any form in countless interviews and throughout his career in entertainment, he joked about worshiping the Sun, claiming it was reliable because he “could see it”, and praying to Joe Pesci, being the sort of man that “he looks like a man who can get things done.”

He provides all sort of intellect and examples to back his case, and makes people laugh in the process. That’s why I personally admire him. He knows how to get his point across and make you think, but at the same time be very entertaining and satirical. There are numerous examples from his stand-up routines that portray his very sarcastic comedy, including HBO specials “Life Is Worth Losing”, “It’s Bad For Ya”, and “You Are All Diseased”.

Direct Quotes From Stand-Up Specials

“The planet’s been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drifts, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and astroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages, and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?” – Jammin In New York: April 24, 1992

“In the bullshit department, a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman. Cuz I gotta tell ya the truth folks, I gotta tell ya the truth. When it comes to bullshit, big-time major-league bullshit, you have to stand in awe, in awe, at the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest, no contest. Religion, religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually 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 special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do ANY of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire, and smoke, and burning, and torture, and anguish, where he will send you to live and burn, and suffer, and choke, and scream, and cry, forever and forever, till the end of time! But he loves you…” – You Are All Diseased: February 6, 1999

“Here’s a civic custom that I don’t understand, maybe you can help me: Taking off your hat when a flag passes by, or when some jack-off at the ball park starts singing the National Anthem. They tell you to take off your hat. What the fuck does a hat have to do with being patriotic? What possible relationship exists between the uncovered head and a feeling that ought to live in your heart? Suppose you have a red, white and blue hat? Suppose you have a hat made out of the flag? Why would you take it off to honor the flag? Wouldn’t you leave it on? And point it toward the flag!” – It’s Bad For Ya: March 1, 2008.

“There’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never gonna get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.

Forget the politicians, the politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations, they’ve long since bought and payed for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, the City Halls. They got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They gotchya by the balls!

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well we know what they want, they want more for themselves, and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed well-educated people capable of critical thinking, they’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

That’s right, they don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure how how badly they’ve been getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that, you know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money.

They want your fucking retirement money, they want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you wanna know something? They’ll get it, they’ll get it all from you, sooner or later. Cuz they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it! You and I are not in the ‘big club’.”…

“The owners of this country know the truth, it’s called the American Dream; cuz ya gotta be asleep, to believe it.” – Life Is Worth Losing: November 5, 2005

“It’s Bad For Ya” was Carlin’s last installment of his over 30-year run of HBO stand-up specials. Just two months after this particular concert, Carlin was admitted to Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California on June 22, 2008 after complaining about experiencing chest pains. He passed away later that same day, at 5:55 PM at age 71 due to heart failure. In accordance with his wishes, no religious nor public ceremony was held. He was cremated and his ashes scattered.

He was honored by fellow comedians in numerous occasions. “Root of All Evil” had it’s entire second season dedicated to Carlin, organized by Lewis Black. “Larry King Live” held an episode in remembrance, with testimonials from friends Jerry Seinfield, Bill Maher, Lewis Black and Roseanne Barr. HBO held a tribute featuring 11 of the 14 concerts Carlin had recorded, running from June 25 – June 28, 2008. Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Raw Dog Comedy” station and XM Satellite Radio’s “XM Comedy” station both held a marathon of recordings by Carlin, following the day of his death, in remembrance.

George Carlin truly was an amazing human being, putting aside politically correct ideas, and exchanging them for what he thought would better the human race. His dream of what this world can be lives on in many of his patrons such as myself, and I find irony in much of today’s society as he did during his life. I can only hope that we keep dear to us what he so valued: Entertainment in our own lives.

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