Opening the Day: George Carlin, RIP

by: Matt Stoller

Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:48


This sucks.  I was never that big a Carlin fan until I saw him in The Aristocrats.

  • Cenk Uygur rails against Barack Obama on FISA.  I don't think that Obama's money problems have anything to do with his recent lurch to the center; at the very least, the timing doesn't work out for that thesis.  There is some possibility of declining money totals, and Obama having to headline events instead of campaigning.  He might have some trouble with his liberal base.  At the same time, it won't matter for the general, but it's going to ding him pretty badly when/if he gets into office.  It took three months for the liberal internet space to flip on the Democratic Congress in 2006; we'll see how long that process takes for President Obama.

  • Obama's doing a national ad buy.

  • America's new news network in the Middle East flopped.  Shocker.

  • It's worth putting this graph up, if you're worried about the election.

What are you reading?  And what's your favorite George Carlin memory?

Matt Stoller :: Opening the Day: George Carlin, RIP

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shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits (4.00 / 3)
Fortunately the supreme court and Tipper Gore have not screwed with the internet... yet.



Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


Heh. (4.00 / 1)
The man taught me the Book of the Road.

[ Parent ]
Graph (4.00 / 1)
What is the source?  how is it compiled?

A "liberalism" index.  I like it.  All we need is a metric unit of liberalism (as if a measurement of liberalism could be in imperial units) and we're set.


Liberalism goes down with Dems and up with conservatives (0.00 / 0)
Interesting.  People forget how bad conservatism is until it is actually put into practice.  And they get complacent under Dem administrations, I think,

Good thing people are so alert now to both Obama and Congress.  

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


[ Parent ]
Obama is not having money problems .. (4.00 / 1)
Did anyone really think he could raise $40 million a month every single month?  When you think about it, $20 million is still a haul.  McCain has been the Republican nominee for how long now and he can only raise $20 million?  Put it another way, Not even A-Rod is going to hit 50 homers every year.  So relax.  You are right about one thing, if Obama pulls more things like he seemingly is on FISA, the netroots will turn on him real fast.  It's the one hard thing about Senators becoming President.  No one knows where they really stand until they take office and do stuff, so in the meantime statements like Obama's are all we have to go on and it doesn't look good.

Double dipping (0.00 / 0)
Obama is now able to go back to the big donors who gave for the primaries and get a second $2,300 infusion for the general election.  That alone might free up as much as $200 million.  Plus, he may also start to attract some of the front-running money that started to flow to Congressional Democrats after the 2006 elections.

At the end of his primary cycle, John Kerry had pulled in around $100 million.  Kerry got twice that much for the general (roughly).  He may not get a billion but $600 million is more likely the floor than the ceiling.  And that is way more than Bush or Kerry or anyine else ever brought in.


[ Parent ]
People stopped donating after May 6 (0.00 / 0)
When it was obvious Obama would eventually win.  He didn't need any more money for the primary.  Whether they start up for the general depends.  Hillary supporters who need to curry favor will.  Committed people will give for the general.  But online fundraising is much bigger than the netroots.  Lots of people give on-line who aren't part of the progressive online community, which is what I think of as the netroots.  

I don't think the decline represents any progressive disenchantment.  The June and July figures will be more telling.  But the problem is that his success breeds success, and so there are more and more non-netroots folks who now want to give to him.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


[ Parent ]
I think there's an age gap (4.00 / 2)
that largely (but not totally) accounts for folks who were never much into Carlin. Like I said in the Quick Hit about Carlin: I remember him from 1972 when my parents bought the "Class Clown" album (linked in the Quick Hit comment). It was absolutely priceless. I can understand how someone not even born until say, 1978, would rate it as merely, "Ehh". And then as his act got darker in the 1990's, having no link to Carlin from earlier days, a lot of younger people would not have at that point jumped on board.

But he was sure a gem to me. And frankly, I think we'd be a better society if more of today's uber-protective let's-keep-our-kids-in-plastic-bubbles parents allowed their children exposure to adult, intelligent social commentary/humor like "Class Clown" was. But don't get me started.


I'm more or less .. (4.00 / 1)
the same age as Bowers .. and I find Carlin funny as hell .. all of his stuff .. where as I find someone like Seinfeld not funny at all

[ Parent ]
Ditto on the v. funny. Same age as you and Bowers. (4.00 / 2)
I worked in my grandfather's office when I was 14, and he used
to listen to Carlin tapes in the car.
My grandfather was pretty divided on that uber-protective bubble thing you describe, Oaktown Girl- he'd turn down the volume every time Carlin swore, which was pretty funny given A)I could still hear it, and B)he spent a lot of time twisting that volume knob.

[ Parent ]
Ha! (4.00 / 1)
Great story about your Grand Pa and the volume knob!
I hope I was clear in my comment that I don't think all younger people don't like Carlin.

Guess what? I didn't check the track listings carefully enough on wiki. My first Carlin album was the one previous to Class Clown (but released earlier the same year) called FM and AM. The material on those albums runs together in my mind because they were released close together and we listened to them both so frequently.  


[ Parent ]
Reminds Me Of My Parents Spelling Out Certain Words They Didn't Want Us Kiddies To Hear (0.00 / 0)
Both of them being teachers and all, we were already being given the whole living environment motivation to learn decades before it became an intentional, commodified thing.  But the spelling out of forbidden words was either (a) the icing on the cake or (b) downright silly, depending on how you look at it.

It was, as I recall, one of the earliest indications I had that even grownups I admired were really not all that bright.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Oh, I dunno if there's a generational gap (0.00 / 0)
I got into Carlin in the '90s, when I was in middle/high school, even read a couple of the books he put out during that era. Several of my friends liked him even more than I did, and everyone knew of at least an act or two. I'd say he's at least a better known and liked comic than average among people my age. (Of course... my second word was "shit," so I can't exactly claim to be a kid raised in an uber-protective bubble).

It was a shock this morning to find out that he'd died. More of a shock than I would have thought. I guess I felt like he was holding down some fort, some way.

On the other hand, 71 is a ripe age for a comic of his style. And I think he did good while he was here, for the most part.  


[ Parent ]
What I meant was (4.00 / 1)
I think there is a substantial difference in how somebody experiences hearing cutting edge material as the subject is currently unfolding in society at the time, and hearing it several years later. I can appreciate 50's and early 60's edgy comedians, but it's not going to mean as much to me personally because living it was not my direct experience.

For example, Carlin's bit "Divorce Game" made light of divorce when divorce was only at the beginning stages of being de-stigmatized, and The Newlywed Game (back then a favorite of summertime viewing among school kids for all the "making whoopee" references) was still extremely popular. It was a radical thing to joke about divorce so flippantly. Someone hearing that bit for the first time in the 80's when there was virtually no societal stigma about divorce would experience that comedy routine very differently, even if they do appreciate the humor of it.


[ Parent ]
George Carlin Wasn't A Comedian, He Was A Public Intellectual (4.00 / 11)
It's folks like David Brooks who are comedians.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

You get the "4" even though (0.00 / 0)
you vastly over-rate David Brooks.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Yeah, Well, That Was ME (4.00 / 1)
being a comedian, not a public intellectual!


"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I laugh at him, too (0.00 / 0)
but he sure ain't funny.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Al Sleet (4.00 / 2)
The Hippy Dippy Weatherman..one of my favorite Carlin characters.  It represents the "Dirty Ugly Hippies" that Atrios talks about.

Tonight's forecast is dark.

RIP, George Carlin.  I bet Keith Olbermann will have something to say this evening.


Sitting in my friend's room (4.00 / 4)
smoking reefer and listening to Class Clown and Occupation: Fool until the grooves on the record were worn out.

Matt to be at PDF tomorrow (0.00 / 0)
Matt is speaking at PDF tomorrow, in case you all didn't know.

Elizabeth Edwards is supposed to speak tomorrow too.   I heard due to flight cancellations, she couldn't make it today and they are trying to work her talk in for Day Two.



Been reading about Gitmo (0.00 / 0)
and the intentional way it was turned into a legal morass to ensure no possiblity of any one being held accountable.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/det...


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


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