Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just finished George Carlin's Last Words. Fun, quick read, though I'm not sure I woulda wanted to meet him when he was in the throes of his coke addiction. There's a good moment most of us never saw when he and Bob Dornan were both guests on Dinah Shore. As he described it (the book was literally dictated to Tony Hendra), Dinah liked to get her guests to fight. And though you woulda expected more, Carlin was less politicized in those days (the 70s):

"I ripped up Representative Bob Dornan, the red-headed maniac from Orange County, when he had just become a congressman.  He talked about "these hippies desecrating the flag" and "the violence of people who are blowing up math buildings" and protested about protesters getting violent. So I called him on it: "Wait a minute. A flag is supposed to represent everything that a country does. It's not supposed to only represent the good things. If you burn the flag, you're burning the flag for what you perceive to be the bad things the country has done. It's only a symbol. It's only a piece of cloth." And "the violence the Left is symbolic; the injuries are not intended. The violence of the Right is real--directed at people, designed to cause injuries. Vietnam, nuclear weapons, police out of control are intentional forms of violence. The violence from the Right is aimed directly at people and the violence of the Left is aimed at institutions and symbols." I got him mad as hell. It was a nice turning around of his words. Which was great. "Take that you cocksucker."

I'd love to see the tape. I can't imagine Dornan (or any right-winger for that matter) letting him even finish a sentence, let alone get all this off at once. Maybe Dinah told Dornan to put a plug in it after he had his say, or maybe rightwingers were willing to listen more in those days. Who fucking knows.