Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Comedy Fail

Ok, so I realize that to many people this statement is blasphemy, but: What the hell makes George Carlin so great?

I was listening to Napalm and Silly Putty in my car (yes, I listen to books in my car, I'm a geek), and I was struck by how some of his material is, yeah, really funny. But the rest of it? Incredibly cynical and mean. I'm sorry, but we seriously have enough people who think it's cool to be mean and cruel and not give a shit about other people. We have enough people who think it's funny, or laudable, or shows how 'edgy' you are. "I don't give a shit about nothin'!"
And Mr. Carlin was apparently one of those people.

I was listening to the bit where he's ranting about how he loves to watch bad things happen on the news because it entertains him. Explosions, war, death- better than cartoons, apparently. What the hell? Seriously, how did we come to this point? A guy talks about his extreme levels of schadenfreude like it's an admirable trait and we think it's funny?
When the hell did empathy go out of style? When did cruelty become the new thing? Where was I?

Hell, did I miss the point or something, overlook the exquisite irony of his semi-sociopathic raving? I know the man had legions of fans for most of his career, and maybe I'm a Humorless Feminist tm, but I can't really figure out why. Maybe I just don't see the humor in black humor. Sorry.
But really...

[EDIT:] In comments, PhysioProf mentions that George- to his knowledge- was not an asshole, and his rants were indeed sarcastic. I guess then that my problem with Carlin's rants is the same problem that befell Dave Chappelle- there are people who watch you say these things, and they are not smart enough to understand your true meaning. They're dumb enough or bigoted enough to take it at face value, and they use a famous person's distorted ideas to justify their own brand of bullshit. Honestly, a lot of the time I couldn't tell if he was serious or not. So that, then, is my problem with that. Not George himself. Sorry George.