George Carlin on Marijuana
When everything seems upside down, we can all be thankful that we lived during the time of comedian George Carlin. He wasn’t an “activist,” but he easily put in more than enough thought into any cause. Jerry Seinfeld made “observational humor” into a corporate network juggernaut. But George Carlin was the undisputed king of observing mindless human behavior, then ridiculed it, then ridiculing it some more.
Often dressed all in black in the last 25 years of his long and fruitful career, Carlin was another exception to the rule. He claimed that hallucinogens and marijuana were mind-expanding drugs that, when used responsibly, could benefit anyone’s mind providing they weren’t afraid of the ugly truth. In many ways comedians are the philosophers of our time, andGeorge Carlin was the sharp and sarcastic Socrates of his generation. His genius was his fearlessness. His fearlessness was his weapon, and his enemy was the myth of the American Dream.
He was the reporter of the unpleasant news no one else would report on. His reports were usually 9-minute diatribes on the ignorance of the ignorant. He pulled no punches and seamlessly incorporated a logic so solid into his bits, that all of his audiences couldn’t help but laugh at the lunacy of their own behavior. He tore into clichés like a hurricane, using the logic of an educated linguist. He tore into the illusion of American’s freedom like the funniest civics professor alive, but one who had an axe to grind.
He pointed out all of the flaws we ourselves perpetuated. He never excused himself from the ignorance that created his prejudice of it. He encouraged free-thinking and told us all to not “ignore the man behind the curtain.” Carlin believed it was our duty as citizens to be in dissent without being disloyal. He refused to be driven into a state of unreason by fear, or those who create it and profit from the human misery it creates.
He argued that the last thing those in power want from this generation is an educated populace. Preoccupation, self-absorbed narcissism and an inflated sense of ego-centric purpose were his targets, and he fought that enemy for us without having to be asked.
He was a counter and pop-culture warrior and hero, who knew that being labeled a “warrior” or a “hero” meant buying into the illusion of being “free” and becoming a willing participant in a broken system, complacent in its’ absence of accountability.