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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 07/27/2008

The Morning Line: Carlin in the [Censored] Comics

By Michael Cavna

Doonesbury: How much did George Carlin inspire us? There's so much we just can't say. [click to enlarge](Universal Press Syndicate)

George Carlin had his Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. According to today's "redacted" "Doonesbury," drawn in memoriam to Carlin, there must be at least, oh, Twenty-Six Words You Can Never Say in the Comics.

In the days and weeks after Carlin died, cartoonists' professional tributes to him are a sign of just how respected he was in humor circles -- especially for his wry observations and boundless curiosity involving the English language. Satirists of any stripe can appreciate just how inventive he was when at his best, turning words and phrases on their head, plumbing their etymology, spoofing their misuse -- and challenging our perceptions and fears of them.

So Trudeau, in a dig at print censorship, today pays him a wonderful tribute. And "Candorville's" Darrin Bell recently provided a very thoughtful, weeklong remembrance of Carlin that showed a true understanding of his comic point-of-view. (Bell -- citing some of George's stated thoughts on faith -- even skewered those cartoonists who depicted Carlin at the pearly gates.)

We recently interviewed Bill Maher and, in the course of that talk, he reserved his highest praise for Carlin. Maher said Carlin was the one guy he considered both inspiration and competition as a satirist -- because Carlin's material would go out where other comics feared to tread.

We saw Carlin perform live twice, and both times, through his comic curiosity and fearlessness, he sparked and inspired our cartoonist's mind. It's gratifying to see how many other cartoonists were similarly inspired. RIP George -- you said everything we could not say.

By Michael Cavna  | July 27, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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You missed a good opportunity to comment on today's Zits. Just as Jeremy's Dad completes the arrangements for a romantic evening with his wife (that even features a bed!) and they begin the festivities, Jeremy sticks his head in the door and asks politely, "Can one of you guys go pick up Hector, Tim, and Pierce and bring them back here for band practice?"

In reality wouldn't it be more like, "One of you guys needs to go pick up Hector, Tim, and Pierce and bring them back here for band practice."?

Posted by: Bruce | July 29, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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