by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 14 February 2013
"The following statement is true. The previous statement is false."
And both of Carlin's sentences in the opening quote are fact - that's true but could be false, I suppose. So goes the truth. But facts are irrelevant. That's not false. The previous statement is true.
For today, Valentines Day, a lighter take on a heavy sweaty thing that's not petty (a twist of another Carlin ism) that's a true truth. There's nothing false about it. And that's the truth.
Which leads me to this past Tuesday afternoon and mention of a headline that caught my eye on the Fox News Channel website: Fox News Poll: Majority of voters favor women in combat
That headline sparked snickering, giggling, laughing, and on into eye-watering hysteria for about 2 minutes and 13 seconds. And that's true. Well, alright, maybe it was 19 seconds, or 27.
Then I composed myself - somewhat. That's true. The previous statement is false.
I read the article - the entire article. That's true. The most important information was purposely held for the last paragraph. That's true. Barely more than 1,000 randomly selected registered voters participated. Again, true. The sample is, though argued statistically significant, not reality. True again. But that is irrelevant when crafting eye-catching headlines. That's a fact. That's absolutely true. There's nothing false in this paragraph. The previous statement is true.
Note that the most telling conclusion from those polled was that a majority of those identifying themselves as veterans opposed women in combat - far more than those who had never served in uniform. Imagine that. Translation - there is a difference between those who know at least somewhat what they are talking about and those who have no clue. That conclusion is true. It's false to believe otherwise. The previous statement is true.
A Marine infantryman, I absolutely oppose women in combat - especially ground combat. But my opinion does not matter. Another truth. And I don't care. That's false. The previous statement is true. So, I will continue to opine and find ways to attack the ridiculousness of the idea. It's dumb. That's true. And the previous statement is true.
The word 'genius' is casually thrown around these days. Oh, he's a genius. Oh, she's a genius. Everyone is a genius. But that's not true. The fact is stupidity rules - for it more easily explains how screwed up everything is. That is not false. The previous statement is true. And, yes, I know a sentence should not end with is. But so it is. So it does.
I looked up 'genius' in the dictionary. There are a handful of definitions. I like the first one: a person who influences another for good or evil; and the third one: a peculiar or distinctive character or spirit.
Those complementary definitions sum up George Carlin. And he had an observation about intellect, "The IQ and life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other going in the opposite direction."
His is a kind way of addressing stupidity. And that's the truth. So much for everyone being a genius. That's true, too.
So, Carlin's observations and analysis of human nature and behavior were remarkably insightful. And honest. And hilarious. And true. And, he, as am I, was fascinated with words and language and how words and language influence human perception, thinking, and behavior.
"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth," said George Carlin.
That's a complicated statement - for it can be addressed on all sorts of levels. Truly. It merits a commentary unto itself. Another day, perhaps. As a life-long student of General Semantics, I will tell you there is no necessary correlation between what we observe, be it truth or not, and language. For language merely represents. And nothing more. Language is a report. And reports differ (based on sundry variables). So by default language is inaccurate. And so goes reporting, but it's not necessarily deliberately deceitful. Though it can be. And often is. All true.
I have wondered lately what Carlin's take would be on this contentious issue of women in combat - of no restrictions where women can serve and in types of units.
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups," so warned Carlin.
Or small groups, I add! And individuals, too - thus the annual Darwin Awards.
Perhaps the following provides some Carlin insight on the matter. Pardon the rough language, but it's a quote...
"Here's more middlebrow bullshit philosophy. 'That which does not kill me makes me stronger.' I've got something more realistic: 'That which does not kill me may sever my spinal cord, crush my rib cage, cave in my skull and leave me helpless and paralyzed, soaking in a puddle of my own waste.' Put that on your T-shirt, touchy feely New Age asshole!"
"Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid."
That summation, by Carlin, does not leave much room for genius.
The previous statement is not false. The previous statement is true. And this statement is neither true nor false - it just is.
Carlin, by George, was on to some things but he was not a genius.
The previous statement is false and the following statement is true. The previous statement is true. And that's not false.
And last but not least...
Alas, Carlin quipped, "Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."
Women in combat, in ground combat units - it's not a petty thing and Americans better start sweating.
Happy Valentines Day! I hope you get to sweat with your pet.
As some have asked and others are undoubtedly wondering, "What, no comment on the State of the Union?"
Absolutely not. I did not watch. Any man (or woman), president or pismire, who works for me, for us - Americans - and contemptuously refuses to honestly account for presence and actions - performing sworn duties - while terrorists were attacking America (especially on foreign soil - 11 September 2012, Benghazi, Libya) is of no interest (to me). With core character flaw - void integrity and courage - there's no trust; as to anything, as to everything. Nothing said, or done, is credible - particularly when there's ample history to support that conclusion. Simple as that.
It does not take a genius to see that our Union is a big mess - and stupidity is the root cause. The previous statement is true.
So, as opened with Carlin, will close with Carlin: "In America anyone can become president, and that's the problem."
Fox News Channel poll:
On a less lighter note, a Marine opines about women in combat. Listen up - the crazy, the stupid, and the genius (if such exists). He knows about that of which he speaks. That is, most assuredly, true.