Amusements: December 2004 Archives

Fortunately, this hospital web site announcing male pregnancy experiments and a "genetic choice" clinic is a spoof, and an elaborate one, by a New York artist. I wish it were funny, but since people have advocated doing just that sort of bizarrerie, the effect is a bit creepy.

When Will Jesus Bring the Vicodin?


George Carlin, author of "banned" book When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, announced that he is entering a rehab clinic for alcohol and drug addiction. He says he's addicted to wine and Vicodin. (A good, earthy red burgundy would match well with Vicodin, I think.)

carlin_cover.jpgCarlin's latest book was "banned" by Wal-Mart because the title was offensive to many Christians, as well as the dustcover art that showed Carlin in the place of Jesus at the Last Supper. As modern blasphemy goes, that is pretty tame: it's smirking parody, as opposed to out-and-out maliciousness. Like night follows day, a bunch of "civil libertarians" rushed to defend Carlin's right to...well, nobody's really sure which of his constitutional rights were violated. He was free to write it, his publisher was free to publish it, Christians were free to protest it, and Wal-Mart was free to reject it. Wal-Mart can't "ban" books any more than they can make war, levy taxes, or coin money — only governments can do those things.

Although he is technically too old to be a baby boomer, Carlin has followed that generation's degradation, going from gadfly commentator to intellectually bankrupt performer to grumpy, nasty old man. My parents thought George Carlin was funny and raunchy back in the '60s. In the '80s, I saw one of his HBO concerts, and I agreed that he was raunchy. As for funny, he was sporadically amusing, but the audience must have been comprised of boomers who were thinking of his old routines, because the material wasn't particularly clever or pointed.

Today, he's apparently reduced to making fun of such things as "the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, dopey athletes and cutthroat businessmen." Here are some quotations from the book:

--Carlin on the media: The media comprises equal parts business, politics, advertising, public relations, and show business. Nice combination. Enough bull for Texas to open a chain of branch offices.
--Carlin on the battle of the sexes: Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid....
--Carlin on evasive language: Just to demonstrate how far using euphemisms in language has gone, some psychologists are now actually referring to ugly people as those with "severe appearance deficits." Hey, Doctor. How's that for "denial"?
--Carlin on politics: No self-respecting politician would ever admit to working in the government. They prefer to think of themselves "serving the nation." To help visualize the service they provide the country, you may wish to picture the things that take place on a stud farm.

Keep in mind that the quotations above are supposed to whet your appetite for buying the book. This reminds me of "The Simpsons," where Bart and Milhous pick up Mad Magazine and see an article called "The Lighter Side of Hippies." "They don't care whose toes they step on!" Bart laughs. It's part of a running joke, that Mad's humor tends to be obvious and about ten minutes too late. ("They're really sockin' it to that Spiro Agnew guy again!")

When he's not trodding the same ground as a thousand other second-rate comics, Carlin takes on groups that no one else has thought to challenge, mainly because there's nothing particularly funny about doing so. He dismisses peanut allergies as a fantasy, saying that people who think they have that condition are delusional.

As it happens, my brother is highly allergic to all nuts, among other things. Wherever he goes, he has to carry an adrenaline-filled syringe in case he accidently eats food with a slight trace of nuts. If he isn't treated, his throat swells up, he turns blue and will die soon after that. I'm not offended at Carlin for insulting people like my brother. I just think it's bizarre and sad that he would resort to mocking a serious, medically verifiable, genetic condition. Is he going to mock Down Syndrome kids next? Or has he already done that?

Predictably, the prefab "controversy" over the book has brought out the best on both sides of the cultural divide. On the right, you have the folks WHO HAVE A CAPS LOCK KEY AND THEY ARENT AFRAID TO USE IT BUT THEY DONT CONCENTRAT ON GOOD SPELLIN OR PUCNTUATION. On the left, you have people like this reviewer on Amazon, who titled his review "Hey Morons and Idiots":

First off let's get one thing straight, Jesus Christ, to me, is Lord and Savoir, everything else that followed after his resurection was man done. The Catholic Church, a bunch of morons and hipocritical idiots, the Protestants, ugly women that gather to protest abortion. Methodist, them I don't have a problem with, at least the one's I know, liberal to the bone, they have methods to their love.
Lord and Savoir, eh? Jesus did have panache, that's for sure. Lesson: if you're going to mock someone else's intelligence, you should at least know how to spell the words you're using.

Unlike Rush Limbaugh's detractors, who rushed to call him a hypocrite, liar, child-abuser, forger, cross-dresser, and whatever else they could think of, I wish Mr. Carlin well and I sincerely hope he emerges from the clinic having turned his bad habits into good ones. A relative of mine had similar problems, and met with an unhappy end. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I do reserve the right to make jokes about it, however. He's a comedian, after all. He can take it.

She draws some funny stuff every now and then, some times it's a little raunchy, but today she is right on.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


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