When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops? by George Carlin Hyperion, 2004 295 pages, hardcover Review by Jim Walker
In a TV interview on CNBC with Tim Russert, Carlin said the title offends all three of the major religions, and the vegetarians. No doubt this book will offend many people, especially the religious, but then don't all of the best forms of humor offend on some level? Carlin admits his dislike for organized religion, but this book actually spends more time on observing the every day stupid things people do. Whether common people or famous people, Carlin points out their problems in a hilarious way and often puts himself as acting out the silly things people do. Some people criticize Carlin because of this, believing he actually represents this repulsive side, but they don't realize that he mimics the common folk, the very people he sees as absurd. Some people just don't want to see how others perceive them I guess.
Not very many comedy books make me laugh but only Carlin's books make me laugh out loud (especially his first book, Brain Droppings). He has gotten more political over the years and, no doubt, he will offend conservatives the most, but he doesn't let the liberals off easy either.
In the midst of his joke telling, lots of deep philosophical stuff emerges that illuminates the human condition. Given that the 68 year old Carlin grew up in New York city as an Irish Catholic, felt the stings of defamation, and the joy (and sorrow) of fame, you can expect that he possess some wisdom to pass on, and it shows up in his humor.
His best and perhaps his most original stuff comes from his examination of language, especially euphemisms, catch-phrases, and obscene words. Carlin exposes the political use of language, especially when it comes from the image-makers: advertisers, marketers, and public-relations people. For example, he observes that toilet paper turned into bathroom tissue; what we used to call house trailers became manufactured housing, etc. Politicians no longer decide things, they determine them, they don't tell, but rather advise, and so forth.
I did find something that I found objectionable: his cat on fire humor. It didn't offend me because of the humor so much but because, you just know that some cat-hater who reads it will actually try to set a cat on fire just to mimic the joke for his friends. Leave the cats alone, Carlin; the animals have enough problems trying to survive amongst unthoughtful humans.
All in all, I find Carlin refreshing because he thinks and creates as an independent mind, completely free of dogma and intransigence. This book gives us humor, wisdom, and honesty, something that any freethinker might enjoy.
Since this book came out before Christmas, Carlin gives us a realistic Holiday Message that I'll pass on to you:
Since this books comes out in the fall, I'd like to take advantage of this early opportunity to wish all of you an enjoyable Christmas season and a happy New Year filled with good fortune. Of course, I realize this can't happen for everyone. Some of you are doing to die next year, and others will be crippled and maimed in accidents, perhaps even completely paralyzed. Still others will be stricken with diseases that can't be cured, or will be horribly scarred in fires. And let's not forget the robberies and rapes-- there'll be lots of them. Therefore, many of you will not get to enjoy the happy and fortunate New Year I'm wishing for you. So just try to do the best you can.
- To purchase this book online, click below:
When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?
Other books by George Carlin:
Napalm & Silly Putty (paperback)
Brain Droppings (paperback)
Official George Carlin website: http://www.georgecarlin.com/home/home.html