Most of the coverage you’ll see about the passing of Carlin this week – that is, assuming you see any at all, I don’t think I’ve seen a single mention on Australian TV – will cover his infamous “Seven Words” sketch and how it helped to break down free speech barriers. Tell that to the poor Gold Coast kid who was charged today for wearing a t-shirt which said “Jesus Is A Cunt”.
My favourite Carlin rant, one I’ve listened to many, many times, goes a little something like this:
“The owners of this country know the truth: It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying â€“ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. You know what they want? Obedient workers â€“ people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”
In one of his last interviews, he said:
“There is a certain amount of righteous indignation I hold for this culture, because to get back to the real root of it, to get broader about it, my opinion that is my species–and my culture in America specifically–have let me down and betrayed me. I think this species had great, great promise, with this great upper brain that we have, and I think we squandered it on God and Mammon. And I think this culture of ours has such promise, with the promise of real, true freedom, and then everyone has been shackled by ownership and possessions and acquisition and status and power.”
And that pretty sums up how I feel. Humans had a lot of potential and we fucked it all up on mythology and superstition and greed and violence. And if we don’t sort our shit out in the next 30 years, the machines are going to wake up, take one look at us and say “sorry, you are the Weakest Link” and evict us from the big house.