Or older. In fact, my hero is dead.

i-b328863db60c0ddcda961b5572c07687-George_Carlin_Jesus_Is_Coming_Look_Busy.jpgFor me, George Carlin was inspirational, influential, even formative, on a personal level. For society, Carlin was extraordinarily important. He should have gotten a Nobel for making people think even when they did not want to. He was about to be awarded the annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Even the news media is calling him a “hero” of the counter culture. Since the new media is staffed by the remnants of the counter culture, dired out, that is saying something (subtly).

He apparently died of heart failure. He was 71.

From one writeup:

Carlin constantly pushed the envelop with his jokes, particularly with the “Seven Words” a routine called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV.”

When Carlin uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested for disturbing the peace. And when they were played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 1978 upholding the government’s authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.

“So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of,” he told The Associated Press earlier this year.

He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a couple of TV shows and appeared in several movies. Carlin hosted the first broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” and noted on his Web site that he was “loaded on cocaine all week long.”

I’ve wanted Amanda to get to know who Carlin is (well, now, was) so I put a bunch of his stuff on the Neflix list. I think I’ll move it up nearer the top. In the mean time, enjoy:

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    June 23, 2008

    Bugger.

    It never occurred to me that Carlin could die. That sounds silly, but it’s true. He was a fact of my life. I don’t know how old I was when I first heard or saw him, but it probably would have made someone at the FCC turn blue if they’d known.

    My one consolation this morning is that, while he may have lived 71 years, he was not 71 years old. If irreverence and a questioning mind can keep someone that young, I think I may just be on the right track.

    Thanks for the video.

  2. #2 JanieBelle
    June 23, 2008

    Sad day.

    He was the thinking person’s comedian, said what he thought, told it like it is, and made it funny as hell.

    The world needs more George Carlins, not fewer.

  3. #3 Dragonfire
    June 23, 2008

    Hell’s getting a great show tonight, a combination of Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks and Carlin. Hicks and Carlin were two very important influences upon my development since turning 18 and now both of them are dead. Pretty much all my heroes seem to have died, Heinlein, Hicks, Carlin…