June 23, 2008

George Carlin - You canít be afraid of words that speak the truth.

From George...
ďYou canít be afraid of words that speak the truth. I donít like words that hide the truth. I donít like words that conceal reality. I donít like euphemisms or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Because Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent a kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it. And it gets worse with every generation. For some reason it just keeps getting worseÖ

And we have no more old people in this country. No more old people. We shipped them all away and we brought in these senior citizens. Isnít that a typically American twentieth century phrase? Bloodless. Lifeless. No pulse in one of them. A senior citizen. But Iíve accepted that one. Iíve come to terms with it. I know itís here to stay. Weíll never get rid of it. But the one I do resist, the one I keep resisting, is when they look at an old guy and say, ďLook at him Dan, heís ninety years young.Ē Imagine the fear of aging that reveals. To not even be able to use the word old to describe someone. To have to use an antonym.

And fear of aging is natural. Itís universal, isnít it? We all have that. No one wants to get old. No one wants to die. But we do. So we con ourselves. I started conning myself when I got in my forties. Iíd look in the mirror and say, ďWellÖI guess Iím getting Öolder.Ē Older sounds a little better than old, doesnít it? Sounds like it might even last a little longer. Iím getting old. And itís okay. Because thanks to our fear of death in this country I wonít have to die. Iíll pass away. Or Iíll expire, like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital theyíll call it a terminal episode. The insurance company will refer to it as negative patient care outcome. And if itís the result of malpractice theyíll say it was a therapeutic misadventure.Ē

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At 9:13 PM , Blogger Todd W. Bollack said...

Great post, Frank - and honestly my favorite side of Carlin. Far prouder words than the seven I used as my facebook status, but my memory isn't what it used to be. I guess I'm getting older.


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