• http://www.fruwiki.com Meg from FruWiki

    I actually love that piece, but I don’t think I took it quite the same way. Straw mans are pretty typical in comedy routines. They make it easier to knock someone down if you paint them in the extreme, and let’s face it, 99% of comedy is about knocking someone down a notch or two (even if it’s yourself).

    However, what I think is brilliant about the piece is that he’s not really knocking environmentalists. To the contrary, he’s saying that what they’re doing is absolute common sense — just simple self-preservation. And by making it look soooo common sense, he’s really knocking everyone else for being too dumb to care what they’re putting in their drinking water, the air they breathe, etc. etc. etc. In fact, he puts himself on the block by acting like an anti-environmentalist and showing how dumb their arguments are.

    At least, that is my take. And perhaps I am reading too much into it. But usually it’s safe to assume that good comedians are too smart to really be that dumb ;) Consider Stephen Colbert for an extreme example.

    • http://greenupgrader.com Matt Embrey

      I like the way you think Meg, but I’m going to have to totally disagree with you on this one. I think it’s pretty clear from his demeanor that he is not doing satire like Colbert. He’s doing an h’omage to environmentalists he is flat out saying they are narrow minded and phony elitists and he’s sick of hearing them preach.

      This may or may not be his true feelings but what I knew of Carlin, he was a self righteous SOB (no offense George, RIP) that used social commentary as comedy and he likely felt that way. Needless to say it was 17 years ago and a lot of people have come around in that time. What I find disturbing is the people that continue to degrade sustainability today in light of everything that we know and have been through.

      Also, I agree, comedy loves the straw man and there its not really an issue because it’s comedy, not a debate. I wasn’t knocking Carlin for employing a straw man argument, more so using his routine to point out the people that are using this flawed reasoning in policy debates.

      Anyway, thanks for chiming in.