George Carlin: 1937 - 2008
George Carlin Mourned as Counterculture Hero
Yes, he was a hero to many, including me. In a world where a hero need do nothing more to distinguish himself than put on a uniform, pick up a gun, and march to destruction, George did more than that. George Carlin fought with words, not crude or high-tech tools of murder. As he would have been quick to point out, dying for a cause does not make you a hero, it makes you a casualty, or a victim depending on one's point of view.
In his own words, excerpted from the Reuters Obituary:
"I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas,"
He has done more in my lifetime to raise the general public's consciousness of the tools of mind control and manipulation than anyone else I can think of. Conservative forces will be quick to paint him as a drug addict, as if that one trait could define him and make him somehow worthless. They would not go to the trouble of discrediting him if they did not fear his message. He is my hero.
George had a great dislike for euphemisms and imprecise use of words, especially when that imprecision was a deliberate attempt to conceal or whitewash the facts. I heard a newscaster refer to his death as George Carlin having "passed away". I think this would have annoyed George. He was annoyed a lot, so it's a pretty safe bet. I'm not sure he didn't use that phrase once in a bit about sloppy phrasing, and thinking, but I'd have to check out his vast body of work to be sure. I send him off with my take on the matter, which he inspired.
Passed away. The person is dead! They didn't pass anything, unless you count the bodily fluids when the sphincters let go. Passed away makes it sound like the poor slob farted himself to death! "Joe ate too many stuffed cabbages and drank a quart of beer and passed away. The hard-boiled eggs might have had something to do with it too."
So long George, we're gonna miss you.