RIP - George Carlin

23 June 2008

A moment of silence, please, for comedian, satirist, and renegade intellectual George Carlin, who died on Sunday afternoon at the age of 71 of heart failure. Carlin was one of the first hosts of Saturday Night Live and an outspoken voice against censorship, stemming from his famous "seven deadly words" skit, which culminated in an indecency trial that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Since then, he had been arrested a number of times for performing that particular set, but every time the charges were thrown out of court. Over the years, he released many stand-up comedy recordings, performed hundreds if not thousands of times on stage, and recorded almost a dozen stand-up shows for HBO. He was renowned for his scathingly funny monologues about the absurdity of modern life. Later this year, he was to be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center.

Rather than eulogize him in a manner that would, if Carlin were still alive, cause him to verbally roast me like a medium-rare steak, the seven deadly words: Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits. Remember: language can give you power or take power from you. It can harm you if you let it, but it can also set you free if you claim your authority over it.