Not-So-Furious George
The softer side of George Carlin

When I was about 11 years old, cable came to our small town, and my usually thrifty parents decided to go all out and get the premium movie channels. My older brother and I basked in the glow of our many new programming choices, and in between endless broadcasts of Nine to Five and Cannonball Run we stumbled upon a George Carlin stand-up special.

See also...
... by Kat Giantis
... in the Dirt section
... from November 30, 1999

We'd never heard of Carlin, but we started watching and were immediately hooked. Unfortunately, my parents caught us yukking it up right in the middle of the infamous but edifying "seven words you can never say on television" portion of his act.

All hell proceeded to break loose.

So imagine my thrill when, nearly 20 years later, I clicked on George Carlin's Web site and was immediately confronted with the following warning: "This Web site contains real human language. This is an early warning system for the faint of heart. Apparently, there are many people unable to cope with spoken and written language as developed by humans up to this point. This is for you."

What comes next are a few choice profanities, followed by a short, reasonable explanation as to why you shouldn't be offended. For instance, under the heading that I'll call (for the more delicate readers out there) the c-word that rhymes with "runt," Carlin says, "If this offends you, remember where you were when you first saw the light of day. At birth, you had a ["rhymes-with-runt"] stretched across your head. Just like a little hat."

Carlin ends the intro with what he considers one of the filthiest words of them all: religion. As he explains, "If this offends you, welcome to the world of sane and realistic critical thought."

Just like its namesake, prides itself on being politically incorrect. How low does it go? There's a section listing pretty much every obscenity known to man, broken down by category. Looking for an insult involving testicles? Semen? Condoms? How about a T-shirt with 2,000 dirty words printed on it? You've come to the right place.

The site features a scroll on the bottom with excerpts from Carlin's book Brain Droppings, including such pithy little ditties as "The only good thing to come out of religion was the music" and "Why can't there be more suffering?" or the ever popular "Fuck soccer moms."

If you're looking for a more enriching Carlin experience, there's a well-stocked library of audio and video clips showcasing some of the comedian's best-known diatribes. But the site also has a softer side, as seen in the expansive timeline, where the boundary between pain and humor begins to blur:

1944: Second grade. Featured xylophone soloist ("Teddy Bears' Picnic") during charity benefit held at Horace Mann School, honoring Eleanor Roosevelt and Joe Louis. George's first liberal benefit.

December 1945: Father dies. Can't remember him.

October 1969: Drops acid. Things are looking up.

The irascible Carlin lets his fans deeper into his life with an image section on his family, which, as the funnyman writes on the site, "comprises a good, solid argument for increased vigilance concerning mental health." Pictures include a fresh-faced George in his Air Force uniform; he and his wife of nearly 40 years at the Parthenon; his daughter in her wedding dress; and his various pets, which are identified by name.

Carlin promises that the site is still a work in progress, which might explain why the essay in "George's Corner" is nearly a year old (and is on the staler-than-last-week's-jelly-donut Clinton-Lewinsky scandal). Even with a fast connection, the page is slow, and there's no way to skip the opening obscenity test. Also, be prepared to resize your browser's window once you hit the home page.

None of this has deterred Carlin's fans, however, as evidenced by the site's active bulletin board. These people are looking for someone to tell it like it is, and even though he's heading into his fifth decade of biting commentary, George Carlin is still the man to do it.

Kat Giantis writes about popular culture, even though she lives in Seattle.

Celebrity Web site reviews run each Tuesday on GettingIt.