So Long, George

“Tonight’s forecast: dark. Continued dark until morning, when there will be scattered light.”

“You see all these low pressure systems on the weather map? Man, that’s a lot of lows. What this country need is more highs.”

– Al Sleet, the hippy dippy weatherman

I’m gonna miss George Carlin. Back in the ’60s when he was doing Al Sleet on “That Was The Week That Was” (or whatever it was called), he regularly cracked me up. Then when I saw him doing standup, like on Carson, he was even better, and of course got everybody’s attention with “The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television.” I caught that one live, and in my own adolescent way, felt kinda liberated.

Later on he famously reduced the 10 commandments to two. (Thou Shall Not Kill, and what was the other one?) He got a little angry in more recent years, and of course didn’t believe in any kind of afterlife and saw no hope for the human race.* (His book Brain Droppings was really hard to read, just too negative.) Some of that stuff was a bit depressing, but often it was still funny and the main thing is it compelled you to think.

*I’ve always wondered about optimism vs. pessimism, and cynicism vs. enthusiasm. Are we born with those tendencies, or shaped that way?

Even if I’m too much of an optimist to agree with him, he did what he wanted to do, which was challenge us to re-evaluate our sacred cows. He said if a couple people walked out of his show, he knew he was doing his job that night.

We need people like George who speak the truth, wake us up a bit, and especially if they can make it funny. He was an original, made us laugh, and that’s a great thing

So long, George. If there is an afterlife, I hope God has a sense of humor.

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One Response to So Long, George

  1. Laura McGaffey says:

    I didn’t hear him very often but will always remember the rant about PLASTIC. Not that it was bad. Instead he challenged, (paraphrasing), “what if the earth needs and wants plastic to evolve and the only reason we’re even here is to invent and create it?” He was saying that some of us are far too arrogant about our potential power and even about our responsibility vis a vis everything. I agree with that philosophy and believe God does too.

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