Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why I Disagree With George Carlin

I worshipped this guy in high school. George Carlin was the MAN. But this, I disagree with:

First of all, a lot of what he says about the super-rich aggressively pursuing the destruction of the middle class is true, but contains a giant, dangerous, and frankly reckless logical fallacy: aggressive actions do not imply a united front. We know this because so many people protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraqis and Afghans might imagine that every one of us is out to kill them, but it just ain't so. Likewise, when John Kerry ran for President, he told the world that the Bush tax cuts had made him even richer than before, but he wanted to repeal them because they just weren't right. He wasn't the only guy like that in the whole country, not by a long shot.

The other reason I disagree is because of this "American Dream" bullshit. My dad came to this country without finishing his degree, started a business out of his garage - literally out of his garage - and was driving his red Ferrari down the streets of one of the wealthiest towns in America within the space of five or ten years. (We lost a lot of that money eventually, but "families are always rising and falling in America.") I myself read a bunch of "get rich quick" ebooks and quit my job months ago. It's been touch-and-go, there's no doubt about that, but I did it, it was way easier than I thought it would be, and I'm sure people would have told me I couldn't have done it. Starting a business in America still kinda rocks.

I see this magazine whenever I buy broccoli. It's kind of insane, absurd, and demented saying that the American Dream is dead when you can't even go grocery shopping without being reminded of Oprah Winfrey, a multi-billionaire black woman who was born in the ghetto. How many multi-billionaire black women who were born in the ghetto do you think there were 100 years ago in this country? Admittedly, there's only one today - but there's more than one black multi-millionaire who was born in the ghetto today, and that wasn't true 100 years ago. It's absurd to even imagine it happening 100 years ago. The whole black thing is a bit of a tangent, but then again the whole woman thing is a tangent too, and neither of these terrible historical legacies slowed Oprah down. I mean if I can show you people doing something, and doing it against enormous odds and for the first time in history under their particular circumstances, then I think it's a bit ridiculous to say that the thing in question is an impossible thing.

Carlin's onto something, of course - the situation with the middle class is awful - but I disagree with where he takes it. And it's kind of absurd seeing this video re-tweeted and linked on Facebook by programmers, when I know for a fact that many of us who work from home on flexible schedules are still in our pajamas at noon.