Monday, January 11, 2010

George Carlin on silly mantras (1) - "happens to be"

The great comedian George Carlin (pictured) often ridiculed silly mantras. For example, he made fun of “guilty white liberals” who speak in silly mantras when referring to minorities.

In one of Mr. Carlin’s routines, he has a conversation with an imaginary liberal:

LIBERAL: “I have a friend who happens to be Black.”

CARLIN (aside): “Like it’s a f***ing accident, you know?”

CARLIN (to the liberal): “Happens to be Black?”

LIBERAL: “Yes, he happens to be Black.”

CARLIN: “Ahhh, yes yes yes yes yes. He had two Black parents?”

LIBERAL: “Oh, yes, that’s right. Two Black parents, yes.”

CARLIN: “And they f***ed?”

LIBERAL: “Oh, indeed they did. Yes.”

CARLIN: “So, where does the surprise part come in? I should think it would be more unusual if he just happened to be Scandinavian.”

The Takeaway: Silly mantras are good raw material for comedy. But they are useless – even counterproductive – when we are trying to communicate seriously and clearly.

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