Monday, March 3, 2008

Carlin Nails It...Again.

This weekend one of my all-time favorite performers, comedian George Carlin, did his umpteenth HBO special, entitled It's Bad For Ya. While it was not all vintage Carlin, it was substantially better than his last effort, Life is Worth Losing, and of course he took time to riff about some of my favorite subjects, which he tackles in nearly every show: language, religion, and what has become a recurring motif in his work, children. He did his first bit on children in You Are All Diseased, where he admonished parents to stop over-protecting, over-managing and over-valuing their children to the point of ruining their character for life.

In Saturday night's show, he did a segment called "child worship," and while I had hoped he would spend more time on this topic, here is some of what he had to say:

...Next stop, grade school, where the child won't be allowed to play tag because it encourages victimization. And he won't be allowed to play dodgeball because it's exclusionary and it promotes aggression. Standing around is still OK. But it won't be for long, because sooner or later some kid is going to be standing around and his foot will fall asleep and the parents will sue the school, and it'll be goodbye, standing around.

Fortunately, all is not lost, because we know that when he does get to play, whatever games he is allowed to play, the child will never lose. Because in today's America, no child ever loses. There are no losers anymore. Everyone's a winner. No matter what the game or sport or competition, everybody wins. Everybody wins, everybody gets a trophy, no one is a loser. No child these days ever gets to hear those all-important, character-building words, "You lost, Bobby. You lost, you're a loser." They miss out on that. You know what they tell the kid who lost these days? "You were the
last winner." A lot of these kids never get to hear the truth about themselves until they're in their twenties, when their boss calls them in and says, "Bobby, clean out your desk and get out of here; you're a loser."

Of course, Bobby's parents can't understand
why he can't hold a job; in school he was always on the honor roll. Well, what they don't understand is that in today's schools, everyone is on the honor roll. Everyone is on the honor roll because in order to be on the honor roll, all you need to do is to maintain a body temperature somewhere roughly in the 90's.

Now, all of this stupid nonsense that children have been so crippled by has grown out of something called the
"self-esteem movement." The self-esteem movement began around 1970, and I'm happy to say it has been a complete failure. Studies have repeatedly shown that having high self-esteem does not improve grades, does not improve career achievement, it does not even lower the use of alcohol, and most certainly does not reduce the incidence of violence of any sort, because as it turns out, extremely aggressive, violent people think very highly of themselves. Imagine that; sociopaths have high self-esteem. Who'da thunk?

The self-esteem movement revolved around a single idea: that
every child is special. Boy, they said it over and over and over, as if to convince themselves. "Every child is special." Every child is clearly not special. They're incomplete; unfinished work, and I never give credit for incomplete work.

But let's say it's true, that every child is special. What about every adult? Isn't every adult special too? And if not, then at what age do you go from being "special" to being not-so-special? And if every adult is special, that means we're all special, and the whole idea loses all its meaning.

It's all bulls***, people, and it's bad for ya.

Thanks, George.

1 comment:

Paul Brion said...

I really, REALLY miss George Carlin and his take of society.