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Music Blog

George Carlin: It's Good for Ya!

by Leo Dirr
- Posted // 2009-09-16 -

When Urban Lounge canceled Buju Banton, it got me thinking about George Carlin.

"How can that be?" you might mutter. "How can you correlate Carlin with Banton?"

Easy. That's how my brain works. It connects squirrelly, little dots in inordinately odd ways. Yes, I just may make love to muffins in my mind.

But back to George Carlin. He's the real reason we are all gathered here today. God bless him! That loud-mouthed, profane-ass SOB!

Carlin brought his vigor and venom to Salt Lake a few years back. He enthralled us all at Abravanel Hall. The old man absolutely killed it. Vintage Carlin. Hilarious!

A huge chunk of his act focused on suicide jokes. Not really for everybody. But then, George Carlin never really cared to please everybody.

Carlin cursed. A lot. He mocked men and women, of all stripes, mercilessly and unapologetically. He held nothing sacred, as far as I could tell. I've read all of his books. Most of them, I've read more than once.

I'm glad George Carlin dared to offend. Buried among his ugly obscenities and vicious verbal attacks was a miraculous treasure of astute social commentary.

For decades, he pinpointed America's problems and exploited them for comedic gold like nobody else would or could.

We paid George Carlin to make us laugh. And he repaid us by making us think.

What's this got to do with Buju Banton?

If I had my way, I'd let the man play.

Buju Banton canceled on threat of protests

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Post a comment
Posted // September 16,2009 at 13:25

I see it as a business decision by The Urban Lounge. Yeah, I guess we have to let the haters in the KKK and the nutty Tea Baggers shout from corners, like those just-as-nutty 'preachers' that yell at the Pride Parade participants every year (although the 'preacher' numbers sure dwindled this year).

But I don't see anything wrong with The Urban Lounge making this decision. Maybe they thought it wasn't worth the trouble and, maybe more, that it would negtively effect their attendance for other acts.

Banton could still rent a place on his own and spew his hate. And his fans could come. Nothing stopping him from doing that.


Posted // September 16,2009 at 12:41

It's right there. Carlin hated, absolutely HATED the way America works. He brought it to your mind in a very artistic way, that not only made you think, but made you hate it as well, even if just a little bit. The people who didn't recognize Carlin's genius simply didn't get it.


Posted // September 16,2009 at 10:41

Putting pressure on an artist to conform to one's norms of social decency is certainly within a person's rights. It's just a right I would never personally exercise.

If I disagree with something somebody says, I may counter their speech with some strong speech of my own. But I would never seek to silence anybody in any way, shape or form. Not even in a single location on a specific night.

I am not defending Buju Banton, by the way. I am defending a person's right to speak his or her mind.


Posted // September 16,2009 at 10:47 - Can hate ever be artistic? That is a good question. Anyone have examples of artful hatred that they want to nominate?


Posted // September 16,2009 at 10:16

i can see how your mind draws parellels, but i see it as all-around flawed to draw a parallel between a genius and a (for lack of a better word...) hater.

carlin did just what you said: made one think about his or her fellow man and made everyone laugh about themselves. he didn't do it out of prejucide. exaggeration and observation were his talents, and that is what makes anyone laugh, pointing out flaws that other people were uncomfortable talking about and exaggerating them to the point of caricature.

buju not a comedian. the fact that he was charged in connection with homophobic attacks just proves that his prejudice and hatred are not for the sake of art or for turning a keen eye on flaws in others to make us all love each other a bit more. he hates because ...he hates. it's not creative, it's not enlightening, and it most certainly is not art.

being gay myself, i feel the last thing we need is more homophobia. especially from a Live Nation tour (which just so happens to be the promoter that gay goddess Madonna is signed to...)

and last up is the fact that he actually signed an agreement in conjunction with other reggae artists stating that he would stop performing homophobic songs or making homophobic statements... and then reneged on it. the way i see it, he had his chance to be socially accepted, to change, and he blew it. he deserves less than just a canceled tour.