Thanks to the share-isphere, the best time for your fans to catch up with you is once you've died. It's not like everything you've ever released isn't already available for free several times over, but once you die, everything gets consolidated and much easier to find. Last year it was James Brown; the year before, it was Buck Owens. Right now, it's George Carlin's turn.
Thinking about George Carlin for the past week or so has kind of pissed me off. I can still remember how delighted I was to discover him back in 1972 (which, by the way, was inversely proportional to how disgusted my step-father was to discover him). But that seems like only yesterday, and now, just like George I'm getting damn old. And I'm also just about as charmed by the current state of affairs as he was. So, as liberating as his long-haired counter-culture material was to a twelve-year-old boy 35 years ago, the enlightened bitterness of the take-no-prisoners routines from the end of his life end up resonating with me even more.
I continue to think about George as I prepare yet another post of goofy newspaper clippings that managed to survive in my collection over the years. It used to be fun to collect and laugh at this stuff, but now it all feels somehow depressing -- now that what had been presumed cultural anomalies at the time now stand reveled to look more like harbingers. Maybe it's just because this particular batch is too new, and not enough time has passed to allow me the luxury of ironic distance. Or maybe the wounds haven't had enough time to heal.
Or maybe these articles can actually offer hope, that if I live long enough, I might be able to find humor even in the events of today. I'm quite sure there's plenty to laugh at in the links below; I'm sure I found them funny twenty years ago. But today, they feel just too uncomfortably prescient.