Thursday, September 15, 2011

On the Street where George Carlin Lived ...

Many a time on this blog, I have quoted and paid tribute to the brilliant, late comedian George Carlin. He was a legendary comedian, pushing social boundaries that most of us didn't even know existed, saying things most of us would never dare even to think about let along say out loud. 

His place in history was secured in the 1970s when his "Seven Dirty Words" monologue challenged FCC guidelines that ended up in a Supreme Court case, and then in 1975 he was the very first host of "Saturday Night Live." Over the decades he influenced and inspired every comedian who came after him and his insights on the insanity of American life made him the Mark Twain of his time (in fact Carlin was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for comedy).

Carlin was an American original -- and a native New Yorker. 

Best of all, he grew up in Morningside Heights -- my neighborhood! (I've only mentioned that on this blog a couple million times.) Now there is an effort underway to rename a part of 121st street, the street where Carlin lived on Morningside Drive, after the late genius. This effort is, not surprisingly, something that Carlin would have mocked and pointless vanity. But his daughter Kelli is supporting this drive and so are many others. Thus far, almost 3,500 people have signed this petition, including yours truly. It is a petition to Community Board 9 in Morningside Heights, formally requesting that this name change be considered. And I greatly encourage all of my readers all over the world to sign this petition as well.

Oh, and while some might thing this re-name is a bit silly, consider this: Carlin was a life long, avowed atheist and yet he grew up, as all of us Morningside Heights natives did, in the shadow of Riverside Church. So a street bearing the name of an infamous atheist just down the block from a house of worship has a certain irony to it -- and it's something that I'm sure the great one would have approved of.

Sign it now!

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