Seven Things You Can Never Say In Politics

(In Memory of George Carlin, Requiescat In Pace)

When George Carlin died last year, I was deeply saddened.  He was one of the Great Comedians I had listened to from my childhood onward.  Indeed, I do not recall not knowing about Carlin, in the same way I do not recall not knowing how to read.

Anyway, the many obituaries and tributes that poured in paid homage to Carlin’s considerable talents, including his genius for skewering the human condition.  And, of course, they all mentioned his legendary “Seven Dirty Words.”  For a Black Baptist growing up in rural North Carolina, hearing these words was like discovering a lewd and truncated mirror image of the Ten Commandments.  (I should point out that my extremely devout grandparents, who would have cringed at Carlin’s unabashed use of the “Seven Dirty Words,” nevertheless allowed me to listen endlessly to Redd Foxx’s incredibly raunchy comedy records–on Sunday, at that.  Perhaps it had something to do with the way Black people tell stories.  Hmmm.  Methinks I have the subject for another post….)

Anyway, for some reason I felt inspired to write a little list of my own.  I have no idea why I chose politics as my canvas.  Perhaps the ghosts of Governor Eliot Spitzer’s recent resignation or the Monica Lewinsky scandal were clanging around in my head.  Who knows?  I humbly submit my “Seven Things You Can Never Say in Politics”:

  1. “I will never raise your taxes.”
  2. “Go ahead and follow me.  I have nothing to hide.”
  3. “S/he was just a staffer.  I never knew her/him personally.”
  4. “I welcome the opportunity to take my case before the American people.”
  5. “I never accepted gifts of any kind from that individual.”
  6. “I pledge to serve my full term.”
  7. “I am looking forward to spending more time with my family.”

Looking again at my list, I no longer find it as amusing as I did when I created over a year ago.  I guess you had to be there. 

Do not worry, Mr. Carlin, wherever you are.  I have no plans to give up my day job and try to do what you made look so easy for so many years.  You, Sir, were the Michelangelo of Mirth. 

[Expletive deleted.]

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