GEORGE CARLIN – Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics (1990)
This isn’t a music review, but who is more rock n’ roll than George Carlin? This is one of my favourite albums of all time.
George Carlin’s acerbic humour has been classic, relevant and awesome since the 1960’s. I think he got better with age, and regardless of the fact that it’s 22 years old, Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics is just as relevant today as it was in 1990.
Politically correct, this isn’t. In fact the big thing Carlin rants against on this disc is political correctness!
I think spokesman ought to be spokesperson. I think chairman ought to be chairperson. I think mankind ought to be human kind, but they take it too far, they take themselves too seriously, they exaggerate! They want me to call that thing in the street a personholecover. I think that’s taking it a little bit too far. What would you call a lady’s man, a person’s person? That would make a He-man an It-person. Little kids would be afraid of the boogieperson! They’d look up in the sky and see the person in the moon! Guys would say come back here and fight like a person! And we’d all sing “for it’s a jolly good person!” That’s the kind of thing you would hear on Late Night With David Letterperson!
Carlin remains funny, even while being preachy. For example, “Life’s Little Moments”:
You and your fiancé have been invited to your mom and dad’s house for dinner for the first time. Half way through dinner, your fiancé stands up and says, “I’ll be right back, I gotta take a dump.” There seems to be no really genteel way of announcing publicly a dump. And frankly, I’m not impressed with people who tell me what they’re going to do when they go to the bathroom in the first place. Doesn’t that bother you? People who announce it. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to take a shit!” “Nevermind! Do what you have to do and leave me out of it. And don’t describe it when you come back.” “Boy, you should have seen…” “Nevermind!” “It set off the smoke alarm!” “Nevermind!”
This CD is taken from an old HBO special. Personally, I’ve always kind of preferred an audio version of a comedy show. Sometimes you miss the visuals, but this is how I grew up experiencing comedy. My buddy Peter and I would drive to the cottage with two hours of comedy tapes in the deck. It’s a great way to experience stand up comedy. George Carlin’s well-written and composed comedy is 99% verbal, so it really works perfectly on CD.
And that’s the best way I can describe this disc: Well-written and composed. While it still sounds live and spontaneous as stand up comedy should, it’s obvious that George laboured over his words, language and his messages. Language is a big part of this show. Carlin laments the watering down of modern language. When you water down the words we use, you water down the thinking as well. For example, “shell shock”. They used to call it “shell shock” in the First World War. Now, they call it “post-traumatic stress disorder”. More words, but softer, sucking the humanity out of the phrase. Think about. It doesn’t seem to hurt as much, does it? It doesn’t seem as descriptive either. This is one of Carlin’s messages on Parental Advisory.
And his messages are pretty simple: Fuck the establishment! Fuck political correctness! Tell it like it is, stop beating around the bush, and the world would be a better place! All with a wink and a smile. David Lee Roth used to say, “If you wanna send a message, use Western Union.” Well, if a message can be delivered in an entertaining way, I say go for it!
I miss George Carlin. I think the world is a darker place without his humour and his insight.