Sunday, July 06, 2008
George Carlin: Truthteller
Generally, I don't give a flying fart about the welfare of other people. I pretend to, because it's socially required of me. But on the whole, I hope the human race commits suicide en mass by tomorrow morning. No, wait -- I have a package from Amazon.com coming in the mail. The human race can drop dead next week.
But one of the very few people I would save from a burning building was George Carlin. He was one of my heroes, up there with Peter Gabriel. Granted, if both George and Peter were in a burning building and I could only save one, I'd grab Peter first. George is from New York. Negotiating burning buildings should be daily fare for him.
However, that scenario is moot because George died on June 22. America has lost its last great famous truthteller. We're left without a moral compass now. I didn;t like everything George did (especailly his second book) but I heard enough to know that George often had the same questions I did and came up with very original and articulate answers.
I didn't think George's death would upset me so much. After all, he was 71, so it wasn't a total shock. But I'm seeing him everywhere now -- even on the New Zealand environmentalist blog I write for. When I read a book or medicine instructions, it's his voice in my head.
Critics of George said he was cyncical. He wasn't -- almost everything he said was absolutely true. It shows you how bad things are -- and yet we can still find the humor in it. That may be our species' only saving grace.