George Carlin — comic, envelope-pusher, bedeviler of censors everywhere — died yesterday of heart failure at age 71. Carlin was a comedy giant, a legend and a pioneer for his sharp observations and wicked, fearless commentary — the kind that occasionally got him in trouble, like, say, getting arrested for violating FCC obscenity laws, a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court (and, er, upheld the FCC's right to decide what was obscene). That was for "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" — most of which you still can't say on television (but which apparently have no problem showing up on Twitter). Either way, Carlin definitely moved the needle.
I was lucky enough to interview Carlin earlier this year, and was so impressed by our conversation that I transcribed almost all of it, and the result was a 4,500-word interview that was illuminating and thoughtful and smart (his part, at least). I was surprised at how engaged he was online, the breadth of his reading and media consumption, and he had some interesting and sharp observations about politics, media, comedy, religion, and why people can be so f-ing stupid. Here's one he made about himself, though, and it's worth recalling now:
It's a wonderful feeling to have found something you're good at, that you love to do, and that other people think you do well. Those are the three elements, I think, that go into being happy: Find something you love, be good at it, and have other people pat you on the back and say "good job."
Good job, George. R.I.P.
George Carlin Reads More Blogs Than You Do [ETP]
George Carlin Dies: Video Highlights From His Career [HuffPo]