Monday, June 23, 2008

Geroge Carlin 1937-2008

I am incredibly sad about this.

The following is one of the best bits he ever did. You can watch it on YouTube if you'd like. It's funny. In pure text, however, it reads like a good, compelling argument.

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park!

Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?

In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!


mahnu.uterna said...

This is one of my favorites, too. In addition to demonstrating why baseball is superior to football, it is another example of Carlin doing what he did best - showing us how our language reveals our values.

I often ponder how sports serves as a metaphor for life. In this case, we can say that the man got out at the top of his game.

tadthebad said...

Well said, mahnu. However when I think of Carlin performing that act, my first response is to laugh my ass off. The man was smart, but he was also one funny SOB. RIP.

Osmodious said...

I've been a huge fan of Carlin since I snuck out in the middle of the night to watch "Carlin At Carnegie" as a young kid. His observations have always hit home with me, even some of the more outlandish ones.

But the big thing for me was his analysis of language and its use and misuse. Like Douglas Adams, he his wit when approaching the vagaries of English were incisive, and illuminating.

I am very, very sad today...

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about it, and I figure Carlin was one of the few artists that actually had an impact on my life. He helped me see some things for the way they really are, and I think that's a huge positive. Plus, he is funny as all shit. Classic delivery.