“George Carlin was more than just a comedian, he was a philosopher who told society the truths we were too scared to tell. Except for those parts. That was him just being a comedian.”

– every insufferable Carlin fan

This is a genuine question: can someone please explain to me what the actual message or lesson is behind George Carlin’s whole, “The planet is fine, the people are fucked” rant? Because, for the life of me, I simply cannot find a cogent, useful point behind it. I mean, I think the message is, “Humans are going to die and there’s nothing we can do about it. Also fuck environmentalists in particular.”

But surely that can’t be the real message, right? Because people constantly bandy this quote about as if Carlin’s made a real, effective argument against… caring about the environment? George Carlin’s supposed to be this wise Diogenes of a philosopher who was constantly delivering harsh truths that society needed to hear. One of his greatest pieces of rhetoric couldn’t possibly be a shallow, overly-nihilistic attempt to outsmug a group of people who dare to actually care about something, could it?

I mean, when I was a teenager, I used to quote this Carlin piece all the time. But I know my reason was that I needed a quick way to feel intellectually superior to others without actually having to put in the effort of thinking about my words in any way. I was a dumb and immature teenager, so surely I couldn’t understand the true wisdom of the words I was quoting. Surely, all these full-grown adults who cite this quote every time someone dares to juxtapose the words, “destroy” and “planet,” together actually do have a deeper philosophy they’ve interrogated to confirm it actually does logically follow their own personal values and beliefs on how an individual should exist in this world? Surely?

– James