George Carlin, on divorcing one’s self from having a stake in the human adventure

February 28, 2008 | By | Reply More

George Carlin is preparing for another HBO special, this one on “not giving a #%&@.”  Carlin was recently interviewed by’s Heather Havrilesky.  I’d recommend signing up for Salon’s Premium membership, to give you access to Carlin’s full interview [Salon Premium is $29/year, with lots of extras thrown in].  Here’s Carlin discussing what went wrong with humanity, in a nutshell:

[L]eading into the ’90s, I divorced myself from any stake in the human adventure or the American adventure. That sounds kind of pompous so let me just break that down. What I decided was that I didn’t give a fuck about what happens on this planet to these people. I mean, I see the nice things in people, I see the good things, but I also see what a depraved, sick species we are, the only species that kills its own for personal gain.

I’ll go back to square one on this: We squandered a lot of gifts. Human beings were given a lot of great gifts. We were given the ability to reason, this extra-large brain, walking erect, having binocular vision and the opposable thumb, and all of these things, and we had such promise, but we squandered it on goods and superstition. We gave ourselves over to the high priests and the traders, and they are the ones we allow to control us. I think that’s a huge mistake and it’s disappointing to me. Now, the corollary is, America was given great gifts, this ideal form of government, this most improved form of self-government that has ever come along up until that time, and we squandered it. And once again, on the same two things: gizmos and toys and gadgets — goods, property, possessions — and also this country is far too religious for its own good.

. . . I don’t feel cynical — I feel more like a skeptic and a realist — but, if cynical I am, they have said that if you scratch a cynic you’ll find a disappointed idealist.


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Category: Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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