mandag den 23. juni 2008

R.I.P George Carlin

George Carlin, 71, Irreverent Standup Comedian

The New York Times, June 24, 2008


George Carlin, the Grammy-Award winning standup comedian and actor who was hailed for his irreverent social commentary, poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and groundbreaking routines like “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” died in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 71.

The cause of death was heart failure. Mr. Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, went into the hospital on Sunday afternoon after complaining of heart trouble. The comedian had worked last weekend at The Orleans in Las Vegas.

Recently, Mr. Carlin was named the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was to receive the award at the Kennedy Center in November. “In his lengthy career as a comedian, writer, and actor, George Carlin has not only made us laugh, but he makes us think,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Kennedy Center chairman. “His influence on the next generation of comics has been far-reaching.”

Mr. Carlin began his standup comedy act in the late 1950s and made his first television solo guest appearance on “The Merv Griffin Show” in 1965. At that time, he was primarily known for his clever wordplay and reminiscences of his Irish working-class upbringing in New York.

But from the outset there were indications of an anti-establishment edge to his comedy. Initially, it surfaced in the witty patter of a host of offbeat characters like the wacky sportscaster Biff Barf and the hippy-dippy weatherman Al Sleet. “The weather was dominated by a large Canadian low, which is not to be confused with a Mexican high. Tonight’s forecast . . . dark, continued mostly dark tonight turning to widely scattered light in the morning.”

Mr. Carlin released his first comedy album, “Take-Offs and Put-Ons,” to rave reviews in 1967. He also dabbled in acting, winning a recurring part as Marlo Thomas’ theatrical agent in the sitcom “That Girl” (1966-67) and a supporting role in the movie “With Six You Get Egg-Roll,” released in 1968.

By the end of the decade, he was one of America’s best known comedians. He made more than 80 major television appearances during that time, including the Ed Sullivan Show and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show; he was also regularly featured at major nightclubs in New York and Las Vegas.

That early success and celebrity, however, was as dinky and hollow as a gratuitous pratfall to Mr. Carlin. “I was entertaining the fathers and the mothers of the people I sympathized with, and in some cases associated with, and whose point of view I shared,” he recalled later, as quoted in the book “Going Too Far” by Tony Hendra, which was published in 1987. “I was a traitor, in so many words. I was living a lie.”

In 1970, Mr. Carlin discarded his suit, tie, and clean-cut image as well as the relatively conventional material that had catapulted him to the top. Mr. Carlin reinvented himself, emerging with a beard, long hair, jeans and a routine that, according to one critic, was steeped in “drugs and bawdy language.” There was an immediate backlash. The Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas terminated his three-year contract, and, months later, he was advised to leave town when an angry mob threatened him at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club. Afterward, he temporarily abandoned the nightclub circuit and began appearing at coffee houses, folk clubs and colleges where he found a younger, hipper audience that was more attuned to both his new image and his material.

By 1972, when he released his second album, “FM & AM,” his star was again on the rise. The album, which won a Grammy Award as best comedy recording, combined older material on the “AM” side with bolder, more acerbic routines on the “FM” side. Among the more controversial cuts was a routine euphemistically entitled “Shoot,” in which Mr. Carlin explored the etymology and common usage of the popular idiom for excrement. The bit was part of the comic’s longer routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which appeared on his third album “Class Clown,” also released in 1972.

“There are some words you can say part of the time. Most of the time ‘ass’ is all right on television,” Mr. Carlin noted in his introduction to the then controversial monologue. “You can say, well, ‘You’ve made a perfect ass of yourself tonight.’ You can use ass in a religious sense, if you happen to be the redeemer riding into town on one — perfectly all right.”

The material seems innocuous by today’s standards, but it caused an uproar when broadcast on the New York radio station WBAI in the early ’70s. The station was censured and fined by the FCC. And in 1978, their ruling was supported by the Supreme Court, which Time magazine reported, “upheld an FCC ban on ‘offensive material’ during hours when children are in the audience.” Mr. Carlin refused to drop the bit and was arrested several times after reciting it on stage.

By the mid-’70s, like his comic predecessor Lenny Bruce and the fast-rising Richard Pryor, Mr. Carlin had emerged as a cultural renegade. In addition to his irreverent jests about religion and politics, he openly talked about the use of drugs, including acid and peyote, and said that he kicked cocaine not for moral or legal reasons but after he found “far more pain in the deal than pleasure.” But the edgier, more biting comedy he developed during this period, along with his candid admission of drug use, cemented his reputation as the “comic voice of the counterculture.”

Mr. Carlin released a half dozen comedy albums during the ’70s, including the million-record sellers “Class Clown,” “Occupation: Foole” (1973) and “An Evening With Wally Lando” (1975). He was chosen to host the first episode of the late-night comedy show “Saturday Night Live” in 1975. And two years later, he found the perfect platform for his brand of acerbic, cerebral, sometimes off-color standup humor in the fledgling, less restricted world of cable television. By 1977, when his first HBO comedy special, “George Carlin at USC” was aired, he was recognized as one of the era’s most influential comedians. He also become a best-selling author of books that expanded on his comedy routines, including “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?,” which was published by Hyperion in 2004.

Pursuing a Dream

Mr. Carlin was born in New York City in 1937. “I grew up in New York wanting to be like those funny men in the movies and on the radio,” he said. “My grandfather, mother and father were gifted verbally, and my mother passed that along to me. She always made sure I was conscious of language and words.”

He quit high school to join the Air Force in the mid-’50s and, while stationed in Shreveport, La., worked as a radio disc jockey. Discharged in 1957, he set out to pursue his boyhood dream of becoming an actor and comic. He moved to Boston where he met and teamed up with Jack Burns, a newscaster and comedian. The team worked on radio stations in Boston, Fort Worth, and Los Angeles, and performed in clubs throughout the country during the late ’50s.

After attracting the attention of the comedian Mort Sahl, who dubbed them “a duo of hip wits,” they appeared as guests on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar. Still, the Carlin-Burns team was only moderately successful, and, in 1960, Mr. Carlin struck out on his own.

During a career that spanned five decades, he emerged as one of the most durable, productive and versatile comedians of his era. He evolved from Jerry Seinfeld-like whimsy and a buttoned-down decorum in the ’60s to counterculture icon in the ’70s. By the ’80s, he was known as a scathing social critic who could artfully wring laughs from a list of oxymorons that ranged from “jumbo shrimp” to “military intelligence.” And in the 1990s and into the 21st century the balding but still pony-tailed comic prowled the stage — eyes ablaze and bristling with intensity — as the circuit’s most splenetic curmudgeon.

During his live 1996 HBO special, “Back in Town,” he raged over the shallowness of the ’90s “me first” culture — mocking the infatuation with camcorders, hyphenated names, sneakers with lights on them, and lambasting white guys over 10 years old who wear their baseball hats backwards. Baby boomers, “who went from ‘do your thing’ to ‘just say no’ ...from cocaine to Rogaine,” and pro life advocates (“How come when it’s us it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken it’s an omelet?”), were some of his prime targets. In the years following his 1977 cable debut, Mr. Carlin was nominated for a half dozen Grammy awards and received CableAces awards for best stand-up comedy special for “George Carlin: Doin’ It Again (1990) and “George Carlin: Jammin’ ” (1992). He also won his second Grammy for the album “Jammin” in 1994.

Personal Struggles

During the course of his career, Mr. Carlin overcame numerous personal trials. His early arrests for obscenity (all of which were dismissed) and struggle to overcome his self-described “heavy drug use” were the most publicized. But in the ’80s he also weathered serious tax problems, a heart attack and two open heart surgeries.

In December 2004 he entered a rehabilitation center to address his addictions to Vicodin and red wine. Mr. Carlin had a well-chronicled cocaine problem in his 30s, and though he was able to taper his cocaine use on his own, he said, he continued to abuse alcohol and also became addicted to Vicodin. He entered rehab at the end of that year, then took two months off before continuing his comedy tours.

“Standup is the centerpiece of my life, my business, my art, my survival and my way of being,” Mr. Carlin once told an interviewer. “This is my art, to interpret the world.” But, while it always took center stage in his career, Mr. Carlin did not restrict himself to the comedy stage. He frequently indulged his childhood fantasy of becoming a movie star. Among his later credits were supporting parts in “Car Wash” (1976), “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), “The Prince of Tides” (1991), and “Dogma” (1999).

His 1997 book, “Brain Droppings,” became an instant best seller. And among several continuing TV roles, he starred in the Fox sitcom “The George Carlin Show,” which aired for one season. “That was an experiment on my part to see if there might be a way I could fit into the corporate entertainment structure,” he said after the show was canceled in 1994. “And I don’t,” he added.

Despite the longevity of his career and his problematic personal life, Mr. Carlin remained one of the most original and productive comedians in show business. “It’s his lifelong affection for language and passion for truth that continue to fuel his performances,” a critic observed of the comedian when he was in his mid-60s. And Chris Albrecht, an HBO executive, said, “He is as prolific a comedian as I have witnessed.”

Mr. Carlin is survived by his wife, Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law, Bob McCall, brother, Patrick Carlin and sister-in-law, Marlene Carlin. His first wife, Brenda Hosbrook, died in 1997.

Although some criticized parts of his later work as too contentious, Mr. Carlin defended the material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society. “Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

Still, when pushed to explain the pessimism and overt spleen that had crept into his act, he quickly reaffirmed the zeal that inspired his lists of complaints and grievances. “I don’t have pet peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”

søndag den 22. juni 2008

Decentralisme:Syd-Afrikansk Ghetto Økologi og Bæredygtig Selvforsyning

Robert Anton Wilson - Filosofiske Øvelser.

Paul-Michel Foucault vs. Avram Noam Chomsky

Dengang kultur var modkultur.

Poul Henningsen "Man binder os på mund og hånd" 1940 (uddrag)


Sel' når skib på skib går ned
og land på land bliver slettet ud
handler man af ærlighed
og ber til hver sin gud.
Fredstraktat og venskabspagt
det er papir, der koster blod.
Svaghed væbner sig mod magt
i angstens desperate mod.
Det gælder kærlighed og krig
at alle løfter kun er svig,
og ingen kan stole på menn'skenes ord.
Hva' hjalp de håndslag som I gav
den der står ved mandens grav?
Et menn'ske er nul mod den hellige jord.
Angst for vore fjender? Ja, men mere angst for den
stormagt som vil hjælpe os og kalder sig vor ven.
Det gælder alle tiders krig,
at alle løfter kun er svig
og ingen kan stole på staternes ord.


Møde hvad der venter os
og ingen ve' hvordan det går
Bære skæbnen uden trods
hvad der så forestår
Glad ved hver en venlighed
men uden tro, at det bli'r ved
Søge fred, idet vi ved,
at vi har ingen krav på fred
Man binder os på mund og hånd
Men man ka' ikke binde ånd
og ingen er fangne, når tanken er fri
Vi har en indre fæstning her
som styrkes i sit eget værd
når bare vi kæmper for det, vi ka' li'
Den som holder sjælen rank, kan aldrig blive træl
Ingen kan regere det, som vi bestemmer sel'
Det lover vi med hånd og mund
i mørket før en morgenstund
at drømmen om frihed bli'r aldrig forbi.

Politisk Retorik i det 20. århundrede.

Churchill: Jerntæppe-talen

FDR: Inaugural Address part 1.

FDR: Inaugural address part 2.

Martin Luther King: I have a dream.

Ronald Reagan: The Evil Empire

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Ich Bin ein Berliner

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

Malcolm X: The Ballot or the Bullet pt. 1.

Malcolm X: The Ballot or the Bullet pt. 2.

Hitler: Tale til Tysklands Ungdom.

George Bush Senior: Iraq War Address 1991

Power and Terror - Noam Chomsky

lørdag den 21. juni 2008

Habermas Hyldest til Irerne

"Borgerne aner, at der er formynderi på færde. De bliver igen bedt om at sige god for noget, som de ikke har været deltagere i. Ganske vist har regeringerne stillet i udsigt, at man ikke denne gang vil ty til at holde stadig nye folkeafstemninger, indtil folket omsider makker ret. Og er irerne, dette lille folk af frihedskæmpere, ikke det eneste i hele Europa, som overhovedet har stillet spørgsmålstegn ved traktatens betydning?

De nægtede at lade sig behandle som stemmekvæg, der skal trækkes til urnerne. Med undtagelse af tre parlamentsmedlemmer, der sagde nej, stod irerne over for hele den kompakte politiske klasse. I den forstand var det hele politikken som sådan, der var på valg. Desto større blev derfor også fristelsen til at tildele politikerne en huskekage. I dag er denne fristelse blevet for stor alle vegne."

Den originale tyske artikel.

torsdag den 19. juni 2008

US militær manual lækket for nylig

Leaked U.S. Military Manual

"How to covertly train paramilitaries, censor the press, ban unions, employ terrorists, conduct warrantless searches, suspend habeas corpus, conceal breaches of the Geneva Convention and make the population love it."

Direkte link til selve manualen.

torsdag den 12. juni 2008

Dagens Citat: Søren Kierkegaard

"Af alle tyrannier er en folkeregering den kvalfuldeste, den åndløseste, ubetinget alt storts og ophøjets undergang. En tyran er dog menneske eller et enkelt menneske. Han har dog ordentligvis én tanke selvom det er den urimeligste. Man kan nu overveje med sig selv om det er umagen værd for den tanke at lade sig slå ihjel, om det således kolliderer med ens egne tanker, eller om det ikke er umagen værd. Og så indretter man sig og lever.
Men i en folkeregering: hvem er herskeren? Et X eller det evindelige pjat: hvad der i ethvert øjeblik er eller har majoriteten - den afsindigste af alle bestemmelser. Når man ved, hvorledes det går til med at få majoritet og hvorledes den kan fluktuere, at så dette nonsens er det regerende!
En tyran er dog kun én; man kan altså, hvis det så synes én, indrette sig på at undgå ham, leve fjernt fra ham o.s.v. Men hvor skal jeg i en folkeregering undfly tyrannen? Ethvert menneske er jo, i en vis forstand, tyrannen; det er blot han skaffer et opløb: en majoritet.
En tyran som enkelt menneske er da så ophøjet, én så fjern at man for ham kan få lov til at leve privat som man vil. Det kan i al evighed ikke falde en kejser ind at bryde sig om mig, hvordan jeg lever, hvad tid jeg står op, hvad jeg læser o.s.v. - ordentligvis ved han slet ikke af, at jeg er til. Men i en folkeregering er jo »ligemanden« det herskende. Ham beskæftiger sligt, om mit skæg er som hans, om jeg tager i Dyrehaven på samme tider som han, om jeg er ganske som ham og de andre. Og hvis ikke, ja da er det en forbrydelse - en politisk forbrydelse, en statsforbrydelse!
En folkeregering ville i maksimum skaffe nogle martyrer, af hvilke den har fortjeneste som Josephs brødre af Joseph.
At leve under en sådan regering er det mest dannende for evigheden, men den største kval så længe det står på. Kun én længsel kan man have, hin sokratiske: at dø og at være død. Thi Sokrates, han har døjet i denne åndløshed, at numerus er regeringen, at vi ikke alle er lige for Gud (thi hvad bryder man sig om Gud i en folkeregering!) men alle lige for tallet! Og tallet er just det onde, som det også i Åbenbaringens Bog bruges således prægnant. En folkeregering er det sande billede på helvede. Thi selvom man skulle holde dens kval ud, det var dog en lise, hvis man fik lov til at være ene, men det kvalfulde er netop, at »de andre« tyranniserer én."
Dagbogsoptegnelse fra 1848, her efter A. Egelund Møller: Søren Kierkegaard om politik, Kbh. 1975 s.139f.

Iraq - What happened to the 23 Billion