George Carlin, R.I.P.

His politics were abhorrent. But if we were to judge people solely by their political views, the world would be a very boring place.

George Carlin was a liberty loving, foul mouthed, ground breaking, extremist lefty of a comedian whose rants against many American institutions could cause some of us to throw something against a wall, so angry he could make us. 

But he was drop dead funny most of the time and much of his satire was directed against political fakery of all types.

Carlin actually started as something of a traditional stand up comedian no more poilitical than a Joey Bishop or Jonathan Winters. But around 1970, he stopped appearing in a suit and tie and let his hair grow - appearing in jeans and t-shirt making drug jokes and peppering his act with obscenities. His decidedly anti-war, anti-establishment personae did not play well at first in the straight world and he found himself consigned to playing coffee houses and colleges.

But his humor began to expand in the mid 1970's to include scathing attacks on tradition and soceity. There were absolutely no sacred cows where Carlin was concerned and he made fun of them all - with varying degrees of savagery.

To those of us of a certain age, Carlin will be forgiven his attacks because he quite simply expanded free speech in this country. I'm not talking about the obsceneties . It was his take downs of everything from religion to politics to motherhood to baseball and on and on - nothing was out of bounds. Gays, blacks, Hispanics, whites - all came in for equal ribald treatment.

I thought in later years his humor turned much darker, less funny, more deliberately hurtful to his targets - which were mostly conservative and Republican. There were times he allowed partisanship to take over his monologue - much to the detriment of his act because a lot of it just wasn't funny.

But if you go to
Ann Althouse's site and run through some of the video of his earlier routines, his genius is manifest. It's easy to forget before Carlin, many of his targets were simply off limits to comedians.

Carlin took chances and expanded free speech for everybody. You don't have to agree with him to recognize that and mourn his passing.


His politics were abhorrent. But if we were to judge people solely by their political views, the world would be a very boring place.

George Carlin was a liberty loving, foul mouthed, ground breaking, extremist lefty of a comedian whose rants against many American institutions could cause some of us to throw something against a wall, so angry he could make us. 

But he was drop dead funny most of the time and much of his satire was directed against political fakery of all types.

Carlin actually started as something of a traditional stand up comedian no more poilitical than a Joey Bishop or Jonathan Winters. But around 1970, he stopped appearing in a suit and tie and let his hair grow - appearing in jeans and t-shirt making drug jokes and peppering his act with obscenities. His decidedly anti-war, anti-establishment personae did not play well at first in the straight world and he found himself consigned to playing coffee houses and colleges.

But his humor began to expand in the mid 1970's to include scathing attacks on tradition and soceity. There were absolutely no sacred cows where Carlin was concerned and he made fun of them all - with varying degrees of savagery.

To those of us of a certain age, Carlin will be forgiven his attacks because he quite simply expanded free speech in this country. I'm not talking about the obsceneties . It was his take downs of everything from religion to politics to motherhood to baseball and on and on - nothing was out of bounds. Gays, blacks, Hispanics, whites - all came in for equal ribald treatment.

I thought in later years his humor turned much darker, less funny, more deliberately hurtful to his targets - which were mostly conservative and Republican. There were times he allowed partisanship to take over his monologue - much to the detriment of his act because a lot of it just wasn't funny.

But if you go to
Ann Althouse's site and run through some of the video of his earlier routines, his genius is manifest. It's easy to forget before Carlin, many of his targets were simply off limits to comedians.

Carlin took chances and expanded free speech for everybody. You don't have to agree with him to recognize that and mourn his passing.