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Dead Carlin In ’12

Disappointed in Obama and feel that you got short-changed on your Hope and Change? Frightened by the prospect of having a guy named ‘Mitt’ in the White House? Sick of being of reasonable mind in the middle and knowing that no candidate you might back would ever make it to the final ballot? Disgusted by the political power wielded by large corporations? Equally disgusted by large government that taxes and spends too much, invests in inept federal institutions, and takes away your personal freedom? Or maybe the designated hitter just really pisses you off.

No matter where you look these days, there are angry people with no shortage of things to complain about. The poor and middle class are angry with the rich for having more than their fair share. The rich are angry with the ultra-rich for dragging them in to the hated one-percent category while excluding them from those $30,000 plate dinners. Philosophical sorts make intelligent arguments against capitalism while conceding that even the poor in this country qualify for the top five-percent in global living standards. Pete Seeger is ninety, yet getting the most press since trying to axe Bob Dylan at Newport.

Sadly, I have no answers despite these marginally-clever quips. Instead I offer the words of George Carlin, who died three years ago last June. They are included in the intro to his book Brain Droppings :

No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.  …  So, if you read something in this book that sounds like advocacy of a particular point of view, please reject the notion. My interest in “issues” is merely to point out how badly we’re doing, not to suggest a way we might do better. Don’t confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing how things are, I have no interest in how they “ought to be.” And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there’s a solution, you’re part of the problem. 

I find something oddly optimistic in his pessimism, and am not even sure that ‘pessimism’ is the correct word. In the book, he also rails against “people over 40 who can’t put on reading glasses without making self-conscious remarks about their advancing age” and “guys who wink when they’re kidding.” Here’s to a political platform we can all get behind.


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