Monday, June 23, 2008

Comedian as hero

I was saddened this morning to hear of George Carlin's death. I didn't always love his work -- there was just a bit too much bitterness in much of his stand-up comedy for my taste -- but I always felt deep respect for him as an artist. These words from the The New York Times' obituary express some of what's behind my feeling:

Although some criticized parts of his later work as too contentious, Mr. Carlin defended the material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society. “Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”
And that's really what he was -- an idealist. Comedy, for Carlin, was not just a way to make people laugh, it was a way to try and change the world. A way to expose injustice and the absurdity behind the bureaucratic systems that allow injustice to thrive.

George, we'll really miss ya.

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