I’m the first to challenge any awe directed toward celebrity. To anyone paying attention, it should be clear that any version you have of a celebrity is, at best, a produced image. So when celebrities pass away, as they do, I’m usually no more than mildly affected. I may have enjoyed their work, but I didn’t know them, and so while I may miss what they did in terms of their profession, I don’t have a lot invested otherwise. This week, for me, was another matter. George Carlin died. It isn’t often when hearing about the death of someone I didn’t know that I’m deeply effected, but this one brought tears to my eyes.
One thing in my life has been a constant driving force, and that’s honesty. Slightly behind that is my love for life, my interest in others, and my ability to see the humor and irony in just about everything. But above all, I’ve always respected most of all those humans who’ve chosen to shower others with obvious truth, to point out the clear, pointed reality most of us fail to observe.
From the start, Carlin was intent on stating the obvious, pointing out the irony, and molding it in a way that, hopefully, would make us laugh at our own insanity. While there are shadows of Carlin, there is no comparison. He was, from start to finish, unflinching in his dedication to truth, revelation and humor. He understood that making people laugh about common absurdities was a step toward understanding. He was willing to put his livelihood on the line in order to stake a chance at social change. Carlin was, for me, who doesn’t use the word often, a hero.
Forget what you may have absorbed about him through the critically flawed vision of media. Go out and get a couple of his DVD’s, listen to his comic CD’s, watch his specials on HBO or lean in and focus on what he says on Inside The Actors Studio. Carlin was a rare American, one who chose to take advantage of his civil rights to point out, in a humorous way, what might not be what we think it is and what we can do to change it. His death is an enormous loss to us all. Truth is hard to find. Truth, wrapped in humor, is even more rare. Fortunately, he lived through an era that was able to record his revolutionary and dead on observations about America and the world around us. Take advantage of it. If there’s one consolation, it’s that he’ll keep on teaching us for years to come.
Click on the following link for more information on George Carlin…