I was saddened to hear the news that comedian George Carlin died yesterday at the age of 71. While some far right social conservatives consider Carlin as nothing more than a modern day anti-Christ, to millions of Americans he made us laugh when events in our lives left us little to laugh about. Thinking back, it has been years since I saw George Carlin appear on pay cable television shows where he was allowed to present his unique brand of comedy without being censored by the broadcast networks. In my opinion, George Carlin thrived on cable television especially on paid networks like HBO and Showtime. The initial power and influence of paid channels like HBO and Showtime have long since faded, but back during their glory days, it was entertainers like George Carlin that cause millions of people to send in a few extra bucks per month to their cable company just to be able to see George Carlin in the raw.
Now another American icon is dead and millions of Americans will grieve the passing of George Carlin. Like Carlin, I too am facing old age sooner rather than later, but back when I was in my mid 20's, George Carlin was the best comedian in the United States of America. All throughout this countries history, it has been comedians that have help us get through the day, when nothing but bad news is being thrown at us almost every single minute we are awake. Years ago, younger and more edgier comedians have taken George Carlin's place as comic relief to help get us all through our day. However, for many people like myself, we will consider George Carlin the 'gold standard' when it comes to judging young comic talent that is trying to find a marketplace in our lives.
Nothing made George Carlin stand out more with the American people than his comic routine where he talked about the 'seven words you can never say on television'. Of course, most of us heard him say all of those words on television, but for sure he was not being broadcast on free network television when he said them. In his own way, George Carlin made all of us think about censorship on the American airwaves and also to ask ourselves if that censorship was really in the best interest of this country. Now this comedian pioneer is dead, but George Carlin will not soon be forgotten by members of my generation. Like many other Americans alive today, I am a product of the 1970's and that decade is still a very important part of my life.
Tonight, another important voice that helped many up us come of age in the 1970's is dead. While there will be a few people that will try to ridicule George Carlin for the vile way he used his humor to make a point, to me – George Carlin will always be remembered as a man that used his unique brand of humor to make important points about what it really means to be an American. The 1970's were a very important part of the lives of millions of American that are alive today and those 70's feelings have not faded over the course of time. Even young people today look to the music of the 1970's to help them find their way in this ever changing world and hopefully George Carlin's death will help many of the '20 somethings' of today to better understand the history of this great nation and the battles that were fought long before they were born.
Title: George Carlin, 'Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television', Dead
Written: June 23 2008
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