We're currently living in a period of heightened socio-political activity, transformation and tumult. People are sharing all sorts of things through social media, and both of the following videos came to me through that forum recently, and I thought I'd yoke them together in this piece. I think they're both valuable for these times.
The first is the contemporary comedian Louis C.K. honoring the influence of George Carlin on his life and career. Several of us here at Beams have also been deeply influenced by Carlin. I resonate with C.K. when he talks about being inspired by Carlin's courageousness. The philosopher Nietzsche thought that great thinkers- "free spirits" as he called them- should always be "untimely"; that is, they should be willing to cut against the grain of their time, to challenge it, to confront it and if lucky, to transform it. Carlin has never had a problem being untimely and challenging his own culture, and he somehow only got better and richer with age. His last few HBO specials were truly remarkable performances, full of grit, dexterity and depth. In the video below, Carlin lampoons the use of political language in Washington, but it also applies more generally than to just that locale. It reminds me of the Instrumental Reason I wrote about in an essay a while back; I can hear that mind sounding a lot like what Carlin describes. Either way, it's a useful and funny lesson in how language can be used and twisted for the ends of political manipulation. But first up- a rather touching speech by Louis C.K. on the influence of his mentor.
And now to Carlin: