Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Edified by George Carlin

“I feel safe for a while. There will probably be a break before they come after the next one. I always like to fly on an airline right after they’ve had a crash. It improves your odds.”
-George Carlin, last week, talking about the deaths of Tim Russert and Bo Diddley

-George Carlin not only was an amazing analyzer of human weirdness:

"Why do we drive on parkways, and park on driveways?"

"I'll bet you reach beyond the first two slices of bread when you reach into the bag."

..he was one of my favorite theologians.

So often he had tremendous insights into faith. Religion is B.S. ,for one.

And valid critiques.

Too bad he threw apparently babies out with bathwater...

Check out the insights about prayer, and the "interview with Jesus" in "Napalm and Silly Putty."

Here is a clip where he exposes better than most pastors one of my beefs:
That line you hear about deceased friends: "They are looking down on us smiling."

This pop theology is based partly on a misinterpretation of the great "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12...but the point in context is that they are NOT looking down on us.

Or as Carlin said just weeks before his death...well, hear it yourself at 1:44 to 3:44...as long as you know in advance what you can likely already guessed: quite a few F bombs.

He also challenges the statement in a way we are afraid to (3:35).

Internet Monk has a wonderful post on Carlin's legacy here; and a challenge to folks all too sure Carlin is in hell (assumedly with Zappa):

....I admired Carlin and relished his incredible insights into the nature of human existence. He made me laugh and he taught me a lot about how to think differently from the status quo. He was the embodiment of Dickinson’s advice to “tell it slant.” He’d recently been nominated- and will receive posthumously- the Mark Twain Award, and that’s an appropriate recognition. In every respect, Carlin was a worthy imitator and successor to Twain. In these safe and politically correct times, that’s worth an award.

Really, in his own way, Carlin was a great humanist. He didn’t just make comedy; he took comedy from the nature and foibles and follies of human existence. Few
people have ever been able to see below the surface with Carlin’s incredible powers of ironic observation, and even fewer have been as skillful at telling the truth. Carlin was perpetually amazed at what was their to see and hear from the human comedy, and he was committed to making those discoveries known.

For example, go to Youtube and find Carlin’s routine on materialism, which is profoundly labeled “Stuff,” and you’ll be edified, I promise. (That’s the Christian-ese word for positively influenced by the truth.) While Carlin’s routines are often too profane for most Christians, they contain always keen, sometimes breathtaking examples of observation and ironic truth-telling..



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