This is all George Carlin as quoted in Lapham’s Quarterly (sign up and support it if you can), which is an amazing publication bringing in old and new writings on a quarterly theme, and in this case, Freedom:
“I found a very liberating position for myself as an artist. And that was I sort of gave up on the human race and gave up on the American dream, and culture, and nation, and decided that I didn’t care about the outcome. And that gave me a lot of freedom from a kind of distant platform to be sort of amused, kind of to watch the whole thing with a combination of wonder and pity, and try to put that in words…Not having an emotional stake in whether this experiment with human beings works.”
Then: “I root for the big comet, I root for the big asteroid to come and make things right…I’m rooting for that big one to come right though that hole in the ozone layer because I want to see it on CNN…Philosophers say, Why are we here? I know why I’m here. The show. Bring it on… We’ve seen a lot of comedians who seem to have a political bent in their work, and always implicit in the work is some positive outcome, that this is all going to work. If only we do this, if only we pass that bill, if only we elect him. It’s not true.”
“It’s circling-the-drain time.”
Wow. And don’t it feel just like that sometimes? I watched the most surreal thing I’ve seen in years of the Tennessee, I believe, House of Representatives, kicking three of their members out for disrupting for a moment during session (then they called recess) but continuing on arguing that they, the house, needed to deal with children being exploded into flying flesh, bone and brain, with AR-15s. These were two very young representatives and they made the point that this is their future and deserved for it to be looked at in terms of Tennessee gun laws. Instead, the republicans tossed them – threw em out. Well, at least one, when I last looked. No due process, no, like, okay, you’re going to be stripped of your committee assignments. The Tennessee legislature with a something like 70/30 republican to democrat hold, tossed three dems, two of which were young people of color, for using a bullhorn and, well, telling the truth.
How can we live in this world without feeling just like George Carlin? I’ve been watching for decades and more recently watching the Republican Party unravel into some sort of angry group of victimized, fearful and fear-mongering tribe. They did it and with pride (hubris) and a sense of goodness. What would Jesus say? That should be enough for any sitting republican. Are you doing what Jesus Christ would do?
But I can’t go so far as the brilliant comedian has. I’m still pissed watching them undermine all of our sacred laws, our constitution and everything else to soothe their fragile egos. It’s sad. It’s like some sort of movie about some kids who were dissed by the cool kids and so now are into their revenge. Not cool, republicans. Not cool at all.