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A ‘Massive Media Diss of an Artist’?

In the world’s-smallest-violin contest, George Carlin-promoters Tony Hendra and Kelly McCall roar and caterwaul at The Huffington Post over how their Crown Prince of Profanity has not received the bust on Mount Chucklemore that he clearly deserves. After a “great review”in USA Today, a half-hour on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and a shout-out on the Olbermann show (and later a “rave review” in the Washington Post), they still see a massive blackout of publicity:

Was this massive media diss of an artist who has been called one of the greatest if not the greatest comedian of the second half of the 20th century, intentional? Possibly. But we leave media conspiracy theories to the rabid raccoons of the right (and Hillary Clinton).

Was this the snobbery of the upper-middle-class media for an outsider? Equally possibly. However incisive George’s intellect, however wide-ranging his autodidact knowledge, he remained forever a 9th-grade dropout. The Harlem edge and earthiness of his work never sat that comfortably with our college-educated cultural bourgeoisie. (One worthless 20-something drone at CNN where Tony went to record a segment for a Canadian morning show, dismissed George’s work as “foul-mouthed”).

Was this the MSM, craven as ever, slavishly following the lead of the artistocracy – those who decide which frauds and daubs, which slabs of self-obsessed upper-middle-class logorrhea – constitute Art and Literature? Was the whole self-important, self-obsessed media establishment refusing to grant the term ‘artist’ to a mere stand-up comedian, however brilliant and vastly influential? Also possible.

Perhaps Rodney Dangerfield had it slightly wrong. It isn’t just comedians who don’t get no respect. Unless you’re 300 years old and French, it’s comedy itself.

Whatever the reason: ignorance, arrogance, snobbery or just media ADD, it was in the end, not tawdry so much as sad.

This would seem to be exactly the kind of pompous balloon of self-importance — or in this case, projected self-importance — that comedians like Carlin would puncture with glee. Many people fondly recall Carlin’s comedy. You don’t honor that memory by insisting jokes about how the word “yogurt” sounds funny make you a Great Historical Figure.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...


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