Tag Archives: dead

Just Shut Up.

A few days ago, Gary Coleman died.
Before Gary even died, the jokes were flying — mocking him, his lifelong health problems, and spreading word of his death before the end even came.
Instead of wishing for his survival before the aneurysm took his life, all of Twitter was cracking jokes and mocking the on-his-deathbed Coleman.
People were being dicks.
Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
I get that people think “Oh, celebrity! Let’s mock them!” I understand there’s this mentality that if people step into the limelight, they get what they deserve.
Oh? Well, Gary Coleman’s probably the most shining example of everything that went wrong with child stars in the ’70s before laws were made to protect them — and the cast of Diff’rent Strokes is legendary for how awry its child actors went — suggesting to ME that pretty bad things were happening on that set, and the children were treated as poorly as they could have been.
Coleman was cute and short and “forever young” because of health problems, and his fucking asshole parents exploited him. He was so sick and working so much that he never graduated.
Without an education and with only a stint as a child star, what’s a guy gonna do with his life? Yeah, try to live off the steam.
I know how fucked up elements of my childhood were, and I only had to overcome health problems — kidney problems, like Coleman, who I always felt sorry for as a kid because I didn’t have to overcome my health on a drug-riddled set with asshole adults and teens who were circling the ethical drain.
My mother always told me what a tragedy it all was, even when the series was at its height. Sick kids shouldn’t be working, Steff, she said.
Coleman’s entire life was fucked over by his health — he probably never had a great love, he never had much past Diff’rent Strokes.
But he sure got mocked.
We’re a pretty cruel society.
We’re ignorant. We’re jerks.
Gary Coleman never got to choose to be Arnold. He never got to choose his life. He never got to rest and take care of himself like a sick child should get to do. He got to work his childhood away to pad his parents’ coffers, then spent the rest of his life as some joke of a character’s shadow.
I’m glad everyone had their laughs.
Maybe y’all can shut the fuck up and show the dead man a little of the respect he should’ve had in his lifetime.
No one deserves to live life as a joke.* Nor die as one.
RIP, Gary.
A beautiful tribute written for Gary is here.
A look at how badly awry all the kids from that horrid series Diff’rent Strokes fared is here.
I realize Coleman played into the joke. I’m of the opinion he had no choice. What’s he gonna do, work at a gas station? “Hey! You’re that KID.” He might as well have exploited it — it was the only foundation of life that his parents built for him.

The End of An Era: Godspeed, Cool Hand Luke

Paul Newman died overnight at the ripe old age of 83.
When it comes to Hollywood stars, they just didn’t get better than Paul Newman. The best of ’em, he never let it go to his head. Probably more famous for his salad dressing and tomato sauce, the guy was a different kind of idol.
In a vapid, pointless society like Hollywood, where it seems weight and fashion matter more than anything, Newman never subscribed to being ordinary. He had a Porsche 356 engine put into his VW Bug, for god’s sake. He wore a beer bottle opener as a necklace.
He was a bad boy who wasn’t bad. He gave $150 million to charity. He helped kids. But he celebrated antihero and loser roles in his movies, rather than pursuing the roles of perfect goodlooking people (like Tom Cruise often does, for instance). He embraced that side of him and we loved him for it.
If there’s a Hollywood guy I wish could be emulated more often– from the blue eyes and the incredible ass to the heart of gold and the mischievous smile– it’s Paul Newman.
Later, Paul. It’s been real.

Of George Carlin and Obscenity in the Courts Today

It’s 12:30am and I have a pretty solid rule of no writing latenight anymore, ‘cos it gets my mind revving for bed, but then I shouldn’t have stumbled on the midnight airing of Larry King, on which a few comics are lamenting the loss of George Carlin.
Bill Maher nailed it nicely, in speaking of both Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Lenny Bruce, he liked but didn’t love, ‘cos while Bruce was wildly groundbreaking, he wasn’t always funny. Carlin, however, even when he offended the shit outta you, his fuckin’ smirk would win you over and you’d be smitten by the act’s end.
Here’s the thing, though. Carlin’s greatest contribution to our society, I think, is that words are just words, and if we wanna let ’em hurt us or bother us, that’s our right, but our rights should stop when it starts infringing on other people’s rights to use whatever words they like.
That’s it, in a nutshell. I mean, shit, it’s a fucking word. What’s the motherfucking problem? Why are they getting their tits in a twist? Don’t let the cocksuckers win. They’re a bunch of cunts just taking the piss. Continue reading

Carlin is Dead, Long Live Carlin

Freedoms are something we take for granted in places like the US and Canada… until someone comes along and takes those freedoms.
The trouble with being “free” is we don’t always realize how limited that freedom truly is. That’s why we have people like George Carlin in our lives, people who push buttons.
Or we did. George Carlin died Sunday of a heart attack.
When it comes to really saying how society is, I think comics like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin have had such important roles to play. Lenny Bruce I’ve eulogized before on this blog. Carlin, not so much. I’m a huge fan of comedy, but more so the pushy, provocative skits of the ’70s.
In 1973, Carlin had a skit air on the radio that prompted another challenge of America’s obscenity laws that had plagued Bruce till he died. Carlin fought the charges and the Supreme Court ruled he was indecent, but not obscene. It wouldn’t be Carlin’s last fight, either, but he’d always win a little bit.
I’m a big fan of Freedom of Speech, albeit I’m a fan of our Canadian version of it, not the American version. (The difference? Although you’re not allowed to do hate speech in Canada, [which goes against “freedom” of speech but I approve] we can swear more, get away with more, and we have more sex on TV.)
But I’m a big believer that the freedoms I celebrate by being angrily on-point with issues, swearing all over the place, and flaming anyone I can think of, come on the heels of such provocative work done over the years by folks like Carlin, Bruce, Bill Hicks, and any other dead comedic great you want to lump in there.
Unfortunately, the debate between “obscene” and “indecent” still rages in the USA, and the land of the free still isn’t as unbridled and free as many of today’s comics wish it would be.
There aren’t a lot of comics where you always get the joke, professionals who understand how to really make their audience come alive, but Carlin was the last truly great comedian left from the time when American censors were getting paid too well for their jobs, when getting onstage meant daily questions of “What’s gonna be too much for this town, anyhow?”
For folks like Carlin and Bruce, that question would get answered when they’d land in jail yet again for some dirty jokes or peppering speech with profanities.
Just a little of the free speech you have in America is thanks to folks like Carlin who questioned those who called him “obscene”.
After all, what some people consider obscene is how the rest of us like to live our lives.
I’m sad that the world’s without Carlin now. I’m sad he never lived to receive his Mark Twain’s Humourist prize this November.
But I’m glad he pushed some buttons in his lifetime. Thanks, George. The mark you left behind changed the landscape of public speech, and you will be remembered.