R.I.P. George Carlin

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Of all the great comics of the late 20th century, I found George Carlin to be one of the most hilarious. Even when he was being banal and mean-spirited, he could make me laugh. So I’m saddened to hear of his death yesterday at the age of 71.

His routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” is a cultural classic, as funny for the devil-may-care delivery Carlin gave it as for the bitingly powerful social commentary created by nothing more than a few dirty words. Later in his career, he expanded the list of obscenities into a long, rolling collection of filth that was the Iliad of vulgarity, epic and lyrical in its crudeness. I laughed every time.

Carlin skewered not just those in power but the rest of us as well. He took no prisoners. But apparently, he wasn’t immortal. I think Carlin would approve with my reaction upon hearing the news of his death: well, that f**king sucks.