Monday, 12 December 2011

Humanitys bullshit - A tribute to George Carlin

George Carlin (March 12th 1937 - June 22nd 2008) was no ordinary American stand-up comedian. He was a social commentator, free thinker and philosopher of mammoth proportion. Through his humour he raised social conscience and awareness. He tackled social beliefs, behaviour and social structures as much as he did to politicians, banking and corporations. He never shied from any subject and would attack his material with aggressive profanities and great gusto. His dry and pointedly direct black humour matured with his age, complimenting his material and would cut no concessions to his audience. He would tackle difficult subjects head on, including, genocide, rape, religion, war, murder and death. One time he attacked an audience by evaluating the mentality and class of people who travelled away to gamble - on stage in Las Vegas!

My knowledge of George's fantastic black humour is surprisingly only recent and yet has left an impact on me that I felt compelled to speak about him. George never received much exposure in the UK, so regretfully I missed out on him while he was alive. Until recently, I only knew George for his part as Rufus in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure". I had briefly caught a glimpse of him in the 1980's when satire was at its prime in the UK, but not enough to make a lasting impression. I only truly engaged with George, 'the satirist', when a monologue was played in the eye-opening conspiracy theory documentary "Zeitgeist". It was here that I listened to his ironical view of God and felt I had stumbled on something liberating. Many of the words coming out of George's mouth is much of how I have viewed life once I put away my childish thoughts. 'God' for instance to me was Santa Claus for grown ups and as much as I love the architecture of buildings that include churches and cathedrals, I have always been amazed that intelligent people can pray to an imaginary, "invisible man in the sky". Once we understood science, surely everyone could see how our forefathers had been mistaken in their theological inventions. Nope. Abrahamic religion is alive and well.

When I first sat at the PC listening to YouTube excerpts of George's monologues, I initially felt like I did as a teenager, stumbling on and buying an album by Peter Cook And Dudley Moore, "Derek and Clive". Back then the profanities and material discussed on that album, had me squirming so much I sat with my ear pressed hard to one of the speakers attached to my record player. The volume as low as possible, in case my 90 year old landlady could hear the words "Cunt" and "Fuck" from 3 floors away. Instead of that, today, I can pop George on unashamedly and feel like I'm in on this big secret, examining the underbelly of our existence. I was instantly grabbed by his dark political humour when I first saw him and just as I began to laugh at the world and think "right on" (like a militant student), George goes in for the kill. Before I know it, I am in his sights too.

And I think that is what I really love about him. He's not only after politicians or social injustice and hitting the usual political satire sound-bites. He's after me too. And it's because he really doesn't like people at all. And neither do I. I have said many times over the years, 'I hate people'. They seriously get on my nerves too. I really can’t do wishy-washy chit-chat about day to day things. I'd rather stay in than meet people and pretend I like them. Many times over on my blogs you'll see that I always cite people as the main obstacle for change. If everyone got together we could challenge the banks, politicians and capitalist and create a fairer world. It is people that prevent progress. Don't get me wrong, I wish everyone well and to be safe and to rise up and say "We're not going to take it anymore!" But they won’t! People moan like hell but do nothing about it and when somebody else tries to do something, these same people turn their back and say, "Don't look at me motherfucker".

George isn't a humanist at all. He is too disillusioned by the arrogance and ignorance of people to be in love with them. He had lost his faith in people long ago. Basically people annoyed the fucking shit out of him, with their bullshit mundane conversations, religious beliefs, political persuasions and career choices. He hated the pomposity of people as much as the inequalities in life. He hated peoples' apathy while others die needlessly of poverty or of brutal deaths at the hands of greed. He hated how passive people allow their government to lie to them and cover up their crimes, under the knowledge that the public are too powerless to do anything about it. He hated peoples' ignorance while corporations are helping themselves to their money through commercialism and deceit. He also hated bourgeois environmentalist, charity workers and general do-gooders who massage their consciences periodically. I see a man who once upon a time cared. Probably demonstrated over Vietnam and had real cause. But after he recognised that people are too frustrating, too fucked up to actually get anywhere, he gave up on them as a waste of effort. George is a man of my own heart, even if I didn't agree with everything he said, he said it well. He's the people's champion, but he doesn't like ya!

When I look at how structured and controlling our laws are. When I consider those people who work in the same factory for 40 years or who go to pray in church every Sunday. When I read how there are more soldiers who kill themselves in America than die in battle. When I look at how a country will desecrate another, for shiny stones or other resources. When I look at how passionate people get over characters in a soap opera or some other made up drama. And then when I look out at the vastness of our planet and the environment, and all the living creatures, the galaxy, the planets and the trillions of stars, I can't help but think, "we're a bunch of fucking assholes". How ridiculous our history is, how ridiculous our lives are, how ridiculous war is and how ridiculous is religion? And yet we will still go on living it this way. George does enlighten me but mostly he endorses the things I already think, feel and know. He simply helps me to make sense of my thoughts with great comedic style, in the language and the manner I want to hear them. Thank you George, I wish I had known of you earlier.