Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Leaves His Stuff Behind.

The man who reminded us that there are seven words you can't say on television died yesterday at 71. Unlike most counterculture, envelope-pushing comedians, George Carlin managed to live long and remain relevant. While Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor succumbed (quickly and gradually, respectively) to their demons and Bill Hics' and Sam Kinison suffered early deaths that may or may not have been related to their dissolute lifestyles, Carlin lived and performed on.

One of my favorite Carlin stories was told by Garry Shandling, who managed to get backstage as an aspiring writer and hand Carlin a sheaf of skits and stories he had written. Carlin called back the next day and said, "I read it all and found something funny on every page. If you are thinking of pursuing this, I think you should." Imagine an eminence like Carlin taking the time to read the work of some anonymous kid. As much as he liked occasionally to play the misanthrope, he was personally generous, especially toward young comedians.

While he's most famous for the Seven Dirty words sketch, I think "Stuff" is the most happily subversive of his classic pieces, slyly mocking American materialism without strongarming the audience. It's somehow fitting that Stuff isn't available for embed, but you can find it here. If you want a routine without clicking through a link, here's "Baseball and Football."

4 comments:

sheila said...

what a cool cilp!!! i had never seen it, and as a total pro football fan i loved it!

redhorse said...

The stuff clip is embeddable now.

I agree, for sheer subversiveness, Stuff might be his best work.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I received this fundraising email, exactly what is "ghettoized"?

Dear Friend,

Ohio is in trouble. I recently visited with young professionals in Cuyahoga
County and got an earful. Many of our most promising Ohioans believe there
is no future for them here and that in order to advance their careers, they
will eventually have to leave the state.

Decisions made today will determine what Ohio looks like in the year 2020. I
envision a state that is an attractive employment destination thanks to a
flourishing knowledge-based economy, a thriving cultural life, vibrant cities,
and a good quality of life where our children can grow to be healthy, safe
and strong.

The wrong decisions today can lead to a very different scenario by 2020. Our
population could drop dramatically, taking with it the best and brightest
minds and leaving a waning economy. Our cities could become hollowed out and
ghettoized. And Ohioans around the nation could increasingly view their state
as backward and irrelevant.

Reviving Ohio's economy is a bipartisan priority. For those who have a stake
in Ohio's future, it's the only priority.

That's why I believe that Ohio needs a new generation of leadership. Often
in politics, leaders promise to be visionaries who will "turn around Ohio."
All too often, those slogans and promises turn out to be empty.

Ohio's challenges are too serious to simply be managed. They require
forward thinking leadership that is in touch with our common values. Our citizens
deserve leadership that is bold enough to share a detailed vision and is
energetic enough to turn that vision into a reality.

I want you to be the first to know that I will be spending the coming months
discussing what my contribution can be toward building a Whole New Ohio with
my family, friends, and supporters. By Thanksgiving, I will decide whether
to seek to lead our state in 2010.

My time in politics has taught me three iron-clad rules:

• Start early
• Don't take anything for granted
• Get the best people involved

With that in mind, I'm reaching out to you today for help. No matter the
amount, your financial support will help me continue to fight for our values
and to build a Whole New Ohio.

Please take time today by clicking the link below and making an instant and
secure online donation to my campaign. No matter the amount you are able to
give, your support will be greatly appreciated and prudently used.

As always, individual taxpayers who contribute to my campaign will receive a
dollar-for-dollar credit on their Ohio income taxes in the amount of $50.
Joint filers receive a $100 credit. So you can actually help jump start this
effort with a contribution that won't end up costing you dime.

The 2010 election is important for our party, as well. Like Ohio itself,
our party needs a rupture from it's past. When our citizens see and hear Ted
Strickland, they don't see Ohio's future. But they aren't equating our party
with the future either. We must re-brand our party. Not by changing our
values - most Ohioans share our outlook on almost every issue.

The first rule of any party with aspirations to govern is to understand the
aspirations of the people and how they change with time. What do Ohioans
want today? They want to believe in Ohio's future again.

If we're going to be the party of the future we need candidates with the
energy, courage, hope, competence, and optimism to rally the people of this
state and to create a Whole New Ohio.

This is a crucial time. Ours is a crucial effort. Not just for the values
we share, but for the survival of this state we love. Please join me with
your support today. Together, we can do so much more that cheap sloganeering.
We can truly transform Ohio and secure it's place as a great place to live,
work, and learn for generations to come.

Kindest regards,

Senator Kevin Coughlin

Pho said...

Anon:

Thanks for the tip. As you can see, I've posted some thoughts.

I'm assuming your question is rhetorical.