Skip to content

Straight Talk

July 26, 2008

July 4, 2008

 

Straight Talk

 

“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating…
…and you finish off as an orgasm.”

George Carlin—1937-2008

 

June 2008, the month George Carlin died, featured all this and more: GM’s stock plummeted to its lowest in 54 years, just under $10 a share. Ford’s stock price sunk close to $4 a share. Gas was about $4.25 a gallon, food prices had risen 50-300% in the last year. Business Week published an article, “Michigan: Epicenter of Unemployment,” (Business Week, David Kiley, June 24, 2008) documenting the personal pain in a state that leads the country in joblessness.

            You might wonder what George Carlin would say if you could ask him about gas prices over $4.00 a gallon,  a shrinking economy, a dying domestic auto industry, or a banking system that is reeling from losses, while two political candidates toss out changing platitudes that seem to originate in a lost world. He would probably smirk with an I-told-you-so look and make some comment using one of his “seven dirty words” about the U.S. If he hadn’t died from heart failure last month, he might have quoted himself, “Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that…”

            Carlin was one of the few public celebrities who actually talked straight. Whether you loved him or hated him, he said what others were afraid to say. He analyzed words and their usage, he disparaged all types of politicians and every form of religion, and wasn’t afraid to rail on the United States when he felt like it. Very little escaped his sarcasm or wrath and even if you cringed, you could laugh or at least sense some bit of truth in his words.

            A few years ago, I went to my first and last George Carlin performance, with my son Kyle, four of his friends, and a friend of mine. Much of it was hilarious, some of it made me uncomfortable, and I can’t remember a lot of it. I do remember when Carlin made fun of some of the most popular American names, including Kyle. I don’t know how my son felt but I wanted to shrink. But that was what made Carlin great. He didn’t care less who he ticked off or why.

            First, we lost Tim Russert, another straight talker who was respectful and polite when he tried to keep politicians honest. Now, after the death of George Carlin, who are we going to turn to when we want the truth?

We are stuck in a no-man’s land, listening to two candidates mouthing inconsistent platitudes to win an election. Barack Obama tries to shift to please moderates and independents and John McCain changes his mind daily, swerving to please as many conservatives as he can. His bus is called the Straight Talk Express but in trying to please his fellow Republicans and the press, he is anything but straight.

Carlin and Russert are gone, taking with them some of the best straight talk we’ve ever heard. When a celebrity or politician appears on TV and mouths the usual lying bull…., we can imagine a probing question from Russert and then a blistering satirical stab from Carlin.

That’s about as good as we’re going to get.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: