Carlin was often compared with Lenny Bruce and there's something to be said for that. Both men were concerned with that old concept of free speech. Remember when free speech was a concept the U.S. was concerned about as well? Both comedians would hold up a mirror to us all and force us to look. Not an easy thing to do and not always very popular. But it was something that needed to be done. And STILL needs to be done. And all the while he made it funny and not preachy. Those seven dirty words that you couldn't say on television couldn't hurt anybody and he was here to prove it. They're just words. It's actions that can hurt. Slamming the lid down on somebody who is trying to exercise freedom of speech is extremely hurtful and Carlin wasn't too fond of that. That's why he spent practically his entire professional career making progress (and he did make some concrete progress) on that front. He took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. This funnyman was serious about that shit! And it's frankly a shame that the vast majority of Americans couldn't care less about such fundamental basic freedoms upon which this country was founded in the first place and for which so many died to protect and ensure. It's all pretty much been forgotten along the way; and forfeiting those rights cheapens the memory of those dead as well as the integrity of this country. And that's why it's such a huge loss to find George Carlin not fighting for us anymore.
I actually had the great pleasure of meeting the man once about ten years ago. He was doing a book signing for his hardcover book "BRAIN DROPPINGS" and I can go to my grave boasting that I made George Carlin laugh. A genuine laugh; not one of those polite chuckles with which celebrities humour the public. Carlin had had to cancel his original book signing date due to the death of his wife but, being the kinda guy he was, he rescheduled it a little later for this measly little bookstore in a backwater of South Jersey. As I shook his hand, I look at him in mock horror and gasped "What Are You Doing in New Jersey?!?" (the title for one of his best comedy albums). The man laughed and put his other hand on top of the one he was already shaking. I then apologized saying "I guess you've heard that at least 20 times today." but he said, "No, actually you're the first!" The bookstore handlers had made a big show of telling us all to hustle through, not to ask for individual inscription or try to engage him in conversation. However, George Carlin being George Carlin, it was HE who genuinely engaged all of us in little conversations; looking each and every person in the eye and not sending us through like cattle in a pen. The guy certainly never "went Hollywood"; he was always down to earth and approachable. I find it to be an immense personal loss as well as this country's and the world's. George Carlin stood for something. Isn't it about time we all stood for something too?