George Carlin's Class Clown.
|Back in the day, there was no namby-pamby |
"Parental Advisory" label on albums.
I knew the definition of "subversive" by then, but I didn't really understand it until I heard his seven words you can't say on TV, the most famous track from the album. If you asked me back then, I would have definitely said that was my favorite bit. To this day, it's the one I can recite almost from memory. But even more influential to me was "Special Dispensation-Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Limbo" and "Heavy Mysteries." In fact, most of the B side of the album dealt with Carlin's Catholic upbringing. It was gentler stuff than the seven words. There was nary a cuss word in any of the bits that I can recall, These bits were so much more tame than the scathing and blunt pieces he would do in later years. He gently poked and prodded religious dogma in ways that at the time seemed simply amusing. Still, they left me thinking things I hadn't ever considered before.
As I've said, we didn't really have any religious instruction growing up, so things like catechism and communion were completely alien to me. However, ideas like God being all-powerful were a given. When Carlin talked about asking his priest if God could make a rock so big he himself couldn't move it, I laughed at the idea of an authority figure stammering to answer the unanswerable, but on a deeper level, I really started to consider the implications. I was introduced to the paradoxes of dogma that I would eventually shove out of my brain for a few years. They would eventually, inevitably come creeping back and gnaw and fray the threads of blind belief.
Carlin's later stuff was far less subtle, far more hostile to religion than that early album, but even though I enjoyed just about everything he put out. That first little taste of rationality sticks with me the most.