I am happy to tell you there is very little in this world that I believe in. Listening to the comedians who comment on political, social, and cultural issues, I notice most of their material reflects an underlying belief that somehow things were better once and that with just a little effort we could set them right again. They’re looking for solutions, and rooting for particular results … They’re talented and funny people, but they’re nothing more than cheerleaders attached to a specific, wished-for outcome.
I don’t feel so confined. I frankly don’t give a fuck how it all turns out in this country – or anywhere else, for that matter. I think the human game was up a long time ago (when the high priests and traders took over), and now we’re just playing out the string. And that is, of course, precisely what I find so amusing: The slow circling of the drain by a once promising species, and the sappy, ever-more-desperate belief in this country that there is actually some sort of "American Dream," which has merely been misplaced.
The decay and disintegration of this culture is astoundingly amusing if you are emotionally detached from it. I have always viewed it from a safe distance, knowing I don’t belong; it doesn’t include me, and it never has. No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.
So, if you [ever hear me say something] that sounds like advocacy of a particular point of view, please reject the notion. My interest in “issues” is merely to point out how badly we’re doing, not to suggest a way we might do better. Don’t confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing how things are, I have no interest in how they “ought to be.” And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there’s a solution, you’re part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!
P.S. Lest you wonder, personally, I am a joyful individual with a long, happy marriage and a close and loving family. My career has turned out better than I ever dreamed, and it continues to expand. I am a personal optimist but a skeptic about all else. What may sound to some like anger is really nothing more than sympathetic contempt. I view my species with a combination of wonder and pity, and I root for its destruction. And please don’t confuse my point of view with cynicism; the real cynics are the ones who tell you everything’s gonna be all right.
P.P.S. By the way, if, by some chance, you folks do manage to straighten things out and make everything better, I still don’t want to be included.
George Carlin, Preface to Brain Droppings, Comedy Concepts, Inc. 1997.