Stranger Fruit

George Carlin, dead at 71

It is sad to note that George Carlin died Sunday at the age of 71. When he was funny, he was hilarious. His distillation of the Ten Commandments into two was a classic:

Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie, and, Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you.


  1. #1 PhysioProf
    June 23, 2008

    I liked “Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself!”

  2. #2 mgarelick
    June 23, 2008

    Here’s my problem — I’m basically down with George, but I’ve got to be a nudnick about something.

    He said something about the poobahs claiming to get the 10 Commandments “when no one was around…” The problem is that the Bible says that the law was given when everyone was around. That happens to be the sum-and-substance of a particular Orthodox Jewish argument (which, I hasten to add, I don’t buy) for the existence of God and the truth of the torah. Essentially, the claim is that the entire nation of Israel was present at the foot of the mountain and “saw” the voice of God (in a kinesthetic sort of way). Now, if that wasn’t true, people would know it (because everyone’s grandparents, or whatever, either saw or didn’t see it), and the Torah would not be accepted; therefore, since it was accepted, it must be true.

    There are obvious problems with this theory: for example, it assumes that the torah was written within the generational memory of the event; it ignores the clear evidence that large numbers of people will believe just about anything (e.g., “Elvis is alive,” or “Elvis invented rock-and-roll”). My point, though, is that the sad and annoying burden of those, like George Carlin, who will proclaim the absurdity of sacred beliefs is to get it right.

    But maybe I’m wrong — maybe I’m the only one who cares about this shit. Never mind. In tribute to George, here’s something I’ve thought about nearly every week since I was 15 (when I saw George open up for Dr. Hook in Asbury Park, in 1972):

    I’m aware some stare at my hair.
    In fact, to be fair, some really despair of my hair.
    But I don’t care.
    . . .
    And where is the hair on a pear?
    Nowhere, mon frere.

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