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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

entry arrow2:25 PM | Carlin Takes His Wonderful Complaints and Grievances to the Ever After

Here’s something you won’t see in Barlett’s Familiar Quotations anytime soon: “You know something people don’t talk about in public anymore? Pussy farts.” Whaa---? That line—the first one that iconic comedian George Carlin utters for an HBO comedy special, Complaints and Grievances, not too long ago—got me for eternity and sealed one true thing about life on this side of the subversive: Carlin is the funniest white man, ever, in the history of the world. I was hooked. He went straight on with his side-splitting rants, this balding man with a white beard, giving more kick than the overrated discomforts of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, or Chris Rock. For me, those guys were (or are) just foul-mouthed turds using comedy as a weapon for some form of insecurity or other; Carlin was positively foul-mouthed, yes, but he made you think: his humor was rarely personal, they were more a rabid form of social studies, with all sorts of expletives thrown in. Note his groundbreaking Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television:

Here’s a sample of his many taunts into our current political correctness: “You know why they got a cock up on a weathervane? ‘Cause if they got a cunt, the wind would blow right through it.” To listen to Carlin crack jokes is a cathartic encounter shredding to bits the hypocrisies we live with every single day but have no strength to even mock, perhaps simply because we don’t even smell the shit we’re swimming in because we’re so used to it. Until Carlin came along. And made us acknowledge we love to collect our lip crud, smell our toe nail clippings, wonder at the scabs from our heads—“little things… little things that come off ya, that [you’re curious about], especially if it’s something you can’t see, while it’s still on ya. Know what I mean? You’ve ever been picking your ass? … You know, just idly standing out in your driveway, picking your ass, and then you come across … an object! Honey, come here! You wanna couple of hits off these? While it’s still fresh?” Or how we secretly long to “disembowel with a wooden spoon” people who read self-help books, people who attend motivational seminars, people with bumper stickers that say WE ARE THE PROUD PARENTS OF AN HONOR STUDENT AT THE FRANKLIN SCHOOL (“What kind of empty people need to validate themselves through the achievements of their children? How’s it like to live with a couple of these misfits? ‘How’s that science project coming along, Justin?’ ‘Fuck you, dad, you simple-minded freak’.”), people who can’t seem to talk about the phone calls they’ve had without giving their shit, people who are self-important techno dicks who walk around with hands-free telephone headsets and earpieces, people who think it’s cute to let their children record their outgoing message...

... and people who send self-indulgent newsletters for Christmas...

Laurie Raymundo introduced me to George Carlin about four years ago—those long-gone and much-missed happier days when our small band of stragglers from the inanity of daily campus life used to gather in Silliman Village to have our semi-monthly dinners, and Bing and Margie would bring pot roast, Laurie would make her splendid pasta, and Wendy would bring her cake. That was the time she introduced me to Monty Python and Cheech and Chong as well, and made me realize that life may be hard, but comedy helps by coating it with icing.

Carlin died last Sunday.

[photo by vincent laforet for the new york times]

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