Fwd: Mark Twain & George Carlin
- Hope you don't mind a cross-post from eckankarsurvivorsanonymous:
The Eleventh Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
will be awarded posthumously in November to George Carlin.
It would have been wonderful to have heard George Carlin's
acceptance of the award--really going to miss the guy! The
following is from the Kennedy Center website and was posted
at the time of Carlin's death in late June:
"2008 Prize Recipient
The Kennedy Center will posthumously award The Mark
Twain Prize to the late George Carlin at the eleventh annual
Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The evening will
recognize the life and achievements of the late comedian.
Carlin passed away on June 22, 2008.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of this great American
comedian," said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A.
Schwarzman. "At this year's Mark Twain Prize, we will
celebrate his many contributions to the world of comedy in a
It's a great loss, not only to the world of humor but to America's
conscience," said Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz,
and Cappy McGarr, Executive Producers of the Mark Twain Prize
for American Humor, in a collective statement." George kept us
honest. Of this sad day he might have said that the only truly
"dirty word" is death. George Carlin is as deserving as ever of our
nation's highest award for humor."
About the Mark Twain Prize
Mark Twain, Buster Keaton, Dorothy Parker, Lenny Bruce, Richard
Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin,
American history is filled with countless comedians and writers of
piercing wit who have left their mark on our ideas, attitudes, and
language. The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American
Humor was created to honor the brilliant minds that elbow
American culture to see if it's still aliveand make us laugh about
it. The award ceremony is a grand, star-studded tribute to the
schtick, gags, wry anecdotes, and unflinching observations that
remind us that we are human.
For a man who gleefully named characters Spinal Meningitis,
Snodgrass, or Huckleberry, Mark Twain was always painfully aware
of what he called "the baseness and hypocrisy and cruelties" of the
human race. Twain's humor was always a thin veil, if any, of his
social criticisms. His fearless observations outraged many while
delighting many more. The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for
American Humor thus recognizes an artist who has made a
significant contribution to the world of American comedy."
TIME has selected Mark Twain as the subject of its magazine's
seventh annual Making of America issue, just out this week.
TIME selected Mark Twain because "he represents a vital
tradition in American politics and culture: the comedic
commentator on serious matters, the funnyman as our collective
conscience who can utter uncomfortable truths that more solemn
critics evade. . . . "
The articles on Twain in TIME are really quite interesting and a
reminder of why I've enjoyed, like so many others, reading
Twain's works. The discussion about Twain's irreverence for
religion seems appropriate for this site, especially since Klemp
likes to quote Twain from time to time. Twain was quite the
disbeliever and it certainly would have been fun to have seen
Twain meet up with eckankar!
TIME writer Roy Blount Jr. gave this explanation regarding Twain's
gripes about religion and religious people: "What put Twain off
about religion was its bossiness and its alignment with corrupt
community values that people--those standing to profit--
insisted on calling a higher power. The very expression 'moral
sense' made him curl his lip. He denounced his own conscience,
which frowned upon his anarchic instincts, his love of
enjoyment, and made him feel guilty and rebellious . . . . "
Twain's "The United States of Lyncherdom" was not published
until after his death and in which case it was strongly edited--
it was considered by the author too inflammatory for the time.
Its original form wasn't published until 2000, but in this
writing Twain points out the cause of herd mentality: "man's
commonest weakness, his aversion to being unpleasantly
conspicuous, pointed at, shunned, as being on the unpopular
side. Its other name is Moral Cowardice, and is the commanding
feature of the make-up of 9,999 men in the 10,000 . . . "
This suggests that as social beings we herd together into all
kinds of causes: religious, political, nationality, etc. basically
because we fear being not among the crowd. There is safety in
numbers--we just have to figure out which crowd is the safest!
There are so many cards to be played in the game of life on this
planet. Some of us have been suckered in by cults like eckankar,
taken in by an ordinary and con man like Harold Klemp who
claims to be is the highest consciousness known to mankind.
Some others have been be taken in by those ministering politics
into religious rhetoric in their churches and Sunday school classes
to blend a religiosity in deciding who will be our next U. S. president
and many will continue to be bullied into supporting a wrongful
war because to go against it is to be falsely accused of being
against our soldiers who were sent there to fight this war. . .
The beat goes on as we as human beings continue to feel the
safety of the "herd mentality," grabbing on to man made religions,
rallying behind nonsensical causes, etc.
But out of the herd, there shines and hopefully will continue to
shine the voices of men like Mark Twain and George Carlin who
had the wit and courage to speak up and elbow our consciousness.
They used their critical thinking skills which really is in opposition to
those who operate on faith and hope, who surrender their thinking
for belief and belief alone. It's funny isn't it, how Klemp finds Twain
so attractive when Twain obviously would have had a field day of
mockery regarding Klemp and his org. Of course, Twain probably
wouldn't have found Klemp and eckankar worth his time, seeing
how ineffective and lacking impact it is! LOL!
--- End forwarded message ---