George Carlin (1937 – 2008)

There are various uses for anger, one of them being humor. I found Lenny Bruce via George Carlin, who was criticized for being angry. Anger is one of the major fuels of art, especially the verbal arts of comedy & poetry. Iusually found him mostly sweet-natured & amazed at the absurdity of the world, though. From the NY Times obituary:

Although some criticized parts of his later work as too contentious, Mr. Carlin defended the material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society. “Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.” Still, when pushed to explain the pessimism and overt spleen that had crept into his act, he quickly reaffirmed the zeal that inspired his lists of complaints and grievances. “I don’t have pet peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”


Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

4 thoughts on “George Carlin (1937 – 2008)”

  1. I recently loaned some Hoagland to one of my snarky, tattooed colleagues. It’s more subtle than the all-out rant. But I think it will speak to him. We’ll see. He was trying to make his way in to poetry via Billy Collins. Sometimes disappointed idealists need a louder voice than that.

  2. Collins is such a simp. Hoagland is much more tough-minded. Not to mention funnier. You should start your friend on Hayden Carruth — I recommend the poems from Brothers I Loved You All, especially “Regarding Chainsaws.”

  3. One of the things I loved best about George Carlin was the way he dissected language and looked at it under his microscope. I saw him in Seattle last September and he ranted about the things people say to the bereaved — he was spot on!

  4. i was born in 1937 and take his death take his death and take his death as of another sibling dead and me alive and of no note myself but one who notes and sorrows and who wonders what’s it all about for such as george carlin were so confucian in how they viewed life: that we learn by ONE:reflection or TWO:imitation or THREE: experience. this last the THIRD WAY my mom called “the college of hard knocks”. my heros and carlin is one experienced this the hardest way. and carlin also reflected and angered and angered more and he also imitated he followed the best and learned from the best and observed and then THEN just had enough and squittered on the assholefuckers-the evilfascistpigs who inhabit wrongly our PRESIDENT’S house as “RESIDENTS” BUT not our ‘president’. curse the evil assholes to one of dante’s circles of hell. choose the circle. point out the evil. BLESS george carlin and honor his life. edward mycue

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