Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George Carlin

He made us laugh. He challenged our social norms, pointed out our idiosyncrasies, and ranted about our hypocrisies. He also pushed the edges of what was acceptable comedy, paving the way for the next generations of comedians to follow. He passed away on the weekend at the age of 71.

One of George Carlin's monologues, "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," got him arrested and eventually the case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. This was considered a landmark indecency case after New York's WBAI-FM radio aired it in 1973. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the sketch was "indecent but not obscene." This led to the Federal Communications Commission receiving a lot more leeway in determining what constituted indecency on the airwaves.

Carlin was quoted as saying,
So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of. In the context of that era, it was daring. I don't want to go around describing myself as a 'groundbreaker' or a 'difference-maker' because I'm not and I wasn't but I contributed to people who were saying things that weren't supposed to be said.

Read more and see clips of various monologues on the George Carlin web site.Rest in peace, George Carlin. The world is a better place because of your comedy.

No comments: