Jim Murray in Lifestyle, Professions, Workers, Careers, English Creative Director, Writer, Art Director, Project Manager • Onwords & Upwords Inc Nov 8, 2019 · 2 min read · 1.0K

Superhero For The Week Of November 4: George Carlin

Superhero For The Week Of November 4: George Carlin

This is another in what will hopefully, through the winter, be a series of posts on people who IMHO quality for superhero status in our culture.

These posts are not awards or rewards or anything like that. They are just mini profiles about some of the people I have come to admire, who are or were working to change the world for the better.

I remember first seeing George Carlin on the Tonight Show back when it belonged to Johnny Carson.

I remember him being both extremely clever and a bit sarcastic at the same time. As his career advanced and his popularity grew, his situational comedy turned more and more into social commentary, which led me to believe that that was his objective all along.

In America, you can only get away with that shit if you are extremely popular and becoming an almost regular and sometime substitute host on the Tonight Show gave him that popularity.

Carlin almost put a lot of his comedy onto records and later into books, and was one of the most successful comedians at this. We owned several of his albums back in the day, and it was amazing just how, to quote my pal Dean Rayner, ‘listenable againable’ he was.

And while I was a solid fan of his intelligent brand of comedy, I became a much bigger fan as he moved into the area of social criticism.

His full on attacks on religion, censorship, capitalism, consumerism and just about anything else you could think of, really opened my eyes to the world around me in an almost painful way. But at the same time, he did it with a kind of cleverness that endeared him to his audience and even though it would have been easy to take his vitriol as insulting, the majority of his audience never really did.

As time went by he became a genuine culture hero for a lot of people my age. Mainly because he confirmed a lot of the belief we had, and made us realize that we weren’t being overly cynical, just seeing what was really going on out there.

And for that I will be eternally grateful.

George Carlin passed away in 2008. Quite a bit sooner than he should have I guess. But in his time here got famous for a lot of good reasons, created his share of controversy, and, I believe, also made it possible for a whole new generation of ‘woke’ comics like Bill Barr and Sam Kinneson, to find an audience and flourish.

The last thing I remember about George Carlin, was seeing an interview he did with Jon Stewart, in which he admitted that the reason he was able to be the social critic that he was, was because he got himself out of the headspace of a participant and into the headspace of a close observer, which meant he wasn’t so much giving his opinion as he was reporting on what he was seeing and hearing out there in the crazy fucked up world that we have all created.

And ask George once said….it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

You can read more about George Carlin here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Carlin

You can find other posts in this series on my beBee.com publisher page:


Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional and amateur photographer. He has run his own strategic and creative consulting business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, prolific marketing & op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

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Pascal Derrien Nov 9, 2019 · #6

Don’t know the guy so will have to check him out 🤔

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CityVP Manjit Nov 9, 2019 · #5

An eternal voice whose message is as resonant and relevant to the world today as it was when he first delivered it. What I admire most about him was the absolute dedication he had to his craft. That is what endures as new generations pick up on his work.

He made sure that voices like Lenny Bruce did not pass from existence in vain, that calling things as they are and laughing at ourselves for the things we still do (and increasingly so) is an act of awakening to realities. Where would he begin with the material he would have had available now?

He found the absurdity in things some take seriously and cut into that which though taken seriously by some was and remains the superficial reality we need people like George Carlin to call out. His body of work is testimony to the best of what excellence is and his words never get old. He held out the mirror to people and they still do not see what he has shown them.

The world today is even worse than the one he passed away from, mainly because the people who he called out now have even larger megaphones and media platforms. So much so one can circle right back to Guy Debord and his Society of the Spectacle. Carlin showed us the spectacle in its full form but it has only got bigger.

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Renée 🐝 Cormier Nov 9, 2019 · #3

Love George Carlin. Great post, Jimbo!

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Jim Murray Nov 8, 2019 · #2

#1 I think they would both have a lot of fun.

Denise M Barry Nov 8, 2019 · #1

Carlin was brilliant. What do you think Robin Williams would say about the state of the World today??
I miss his voice.

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