At the end, comedian George Carlin started to rail in ways that weren’t so funny any more, partly because his brand of humor had been franchised, partly because he got so, well, serious.

As the world sagged deeper (into debt, into religion, into waste, into humorless sincerity), he bobbled at the top, reaching for some remembrance of opportunities past. So it became less about how ugly pro-life women were or why he wanted to screw the redhead at the convenience store. It wasn’t even about “the f******* church people” or “mindless religious robots.”

Instead, his latest specials and interviews were knit with remorse. “I think the human race has squandered its gift,” he said, “and I think this country has squandered its promise. I think people in America sold out very cheaply, for sneakers and cheeseburgers.” Another time he paralleled the product with piety. “I think this species had great, great promise, with this great upper brain that we have, and I think we squandered it on God and Mammon.”




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