Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank You, George

I enjoyed George Carlin's thoughts (if not the profanity) on words and language. It all started when I heard The Hippy-Dippy Weatherman say "Tonight's forecast - dark."

In his stunningly titled short essay "Count the Superfluous Redundant Pleonastic Tautologies," he took a wonderful shot at common redundancies:

"My fellow countrymen, I speak to you as coequals, knowing you are deserving of the honest truth. And let me warn you in advance, my subject matter concerns a serious crisis caused by an event in my past history: the execution-style killing of a security guard on a delivery truck. At that particular point in time, I found myself in a deep depression, making mental errors which seemed as though they might threaten my future plans. I am not over-exaggerating.

"I needed a new beginning, so I decided to pay a social visit to a personal friend with whom I share the same mutual objectives and who is one of the most unique individuals I have ever personally met. The end result was an un­expected surprise. When I reiterated again to her the fact that I needed a fresh start, she said I was exactly right; and, as an added plus, she came up with a fi­nal solution that was absolutely perfect.

"Based on her past experience, she felt we needed to join together in a com­mon bond for a combined total of twenty-four hours a day, in order to find some new initiatives. What a novel innovation! And, as an extra bonus, she presented me with the free gift of a tuna fish. Right away I noticed an immedi­ate positive improvement. And although my recovery is not totally complete, the sum total is I feel much better now knowing I am not uniquely alone."

"By and large," he once said, "language is a tool for concealing the truth."

Carlin, who died of heart failure on June 22, 2008, clearly knew a thing or two about claptrap--and twaddle, poppycock, balderdash, gobbledygook, and drivel. In fact, "drivel" was the word he used to describe his own writings--"Good, funny, occasionally smart, but essentially drivel."

He also once wrote -

"It's a perverse fact that in death you grow more popular. As soon as you're out of everyone's way, your approval curve moves sharply upward. You get more flowers when you die than you got your whole life. All your flowers arrive at once. Too late."

(Napalm & Silly Putty, Hyperion, 2001)

So, George, I am not sending belated flowers. They would probably just remind you of bloomin' idiots. I will just express my thanks for your efforts that helped in waking up a sleeping mind.

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