Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Take On George Carlin's Death

I like George Carlin for the most part. I have always found him provocative, but not always honest. My biggest beef with the deceased? Whenever anyone complained about his jokes being offensive, he'd sideslip by explaining, "They're just words." To say they're just words is to deny the potency of their effect. If they were just words, and had no meaning save what the listener ascribed, anyone could be a writer or a comic or a playwright and make money because no one would be able to discern a good writer/creative genius from a bad one --because good and bad would be purely relative terms with no underpinning criteria.

Words do mean something. If they didn't, humor wouldn't have the effect it does. He understood the power of words, that's why his piece on the seven words you can't say is so very powerful. Someone who wrot lik thes wod b as gooder as someone who could express themselves without errors. Someone who messed up the punch line would be as successful as Jerry Seinfeild, as order of words would not matter, only that sounds issued forth. Indeed, chimps would be as successful at writing or stand up, as actual words would no longer be necessary.

Words matter. George knew it. But the common defense against criticism by anyone is "I didnt mean it or it didn't mean anything." As though intent or ascribed intent determines offense. While it is a convenient arguement, that's not the way truth or humor for that matter, works. Intent does not determine laughter. I meant for you to laugh --does not mean you must. Intent not to offend does not determine whether or not something is offensive. And George knew this. The seven words speech was designed to be both offensive and funny. It wouldn't be funny if it weren't also discussing the offensive.

What I have seen a lot of in recent internet discourse, is idea of the meeting between George Carlin and the Almighty. Those who liked his humor view God and George having a sit down and a few laughs maybe over a beer. Those who found him offensive, view George as having a bit of a warm seat.

Do I think George has been excluded from the realm of the Divine because he swore? No. Do I think he probably has some explaining to do...absoultely, but then, don't we all?

And do I think George is going to try pulling...they were only words up there? Probably not. Not with the Author of the Word. At least, not if he's as smart as I always thought he was...God has a sense of humor too. It explains apendixes, mosquitos and first dates. It explains George Carlin too. George will get his moment to feel as those who sometimes felt uncomfortable at his humor under the great mercy and justice and love of God.

God will probably explain how "just words" have an effect to George or at least require him to own up to actual reality. George will agree. Then they will have a few laughs, maybe over a beer.

George probably won't use those seven words though.

1 comment:

April said...

nice post, i enjoyed it

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