Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Thursday, June 26, 2008

George Carlin = Tim Russert

The death of Tim Russert elicited a bewildering outpouring of oleaginous, sanctimonious and sentimental eulogies from members of the media and politicians. What Russert was to the Beltway, Carlin was to bloggers of a certain age and sensibility. Since his death, I’ve read at least a half a dozen, if not more, tributes to Carlin whose praise is as disproportionate to his influence and talent as the Russert tributes.

Carlin, was, according to his admirers, a comic genius and no less than America’s greatest social critic who had a transformative effect on the outlook of more than one of the bloggers whose tributes I recently read.

I watched part of Carlin’s last HBO comedy special but didn’t see it through to the end. I found him to be unfunny, gratuitously obscene and rather coarse. I recall seeing a rerun of an older HBO special a few years ago, and apart from a rant against answering machine messages recorded by children used by adults, which was amusing if obvious, didn’t think much of the rest.

Here are some transcripts of some of Carlin’s routines, especially his infamous seven dirty words riff. I suspect that most of Carlin’s fans discovered him during adolescence, when his liberal use of scatological and sexual slang seemed funny and liberating merely because you’d never heard it used so freely. It may also have seemed like a preview of the privileges of adulthood.

To me, Carlin’s observations about religion and other subjects were pretty ordinary, not particularly original or witty. He used, or overused dirty words, but I don’t think he did anything interesting by doing so.

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