Jun 27, 2008

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In Memory of Two Great Lovers – Carlin and Russert

       George Carlin died, Tim Russert’s term expired.   That’s probably the way they’d like it expressed.  Two men from very different world’s, Carlin cranky, reckless and very definitely anti-religion and Russert, the devout Catholic, polite, and very definitely blue collar.  But they both shared in mastering the energy of the mature lover.  Now for clarity, the mature lover is not someone who masters the art of sex and revels in carnal knowledge.  Rather it is someone who has mastered the art of communication and connection.  Russert and Carlin were such masters but they did it in distinctly different ways.

            The mature lover has the capacity to connect with his audience by both communicating with clarity in a way that any listener can relate to.  Carlin did it by meticulously mastering the English language.  Now matter how cutting edge his schitck. Carlin was always clear about where he was going.  No mater how acerbic his take on the world, you couldn’t help but laugh.  Carlin managed to distill the inconsistencies of society, language and religion to such a basic essence that it was hard to posit a counter argument.  Not that you’d want to because you were too busy laughing.

            On the other hand, Russert mastered the Lover’s art of empathy.  Russert had the reputation of being a relentless and tough interviewer but he did it with such a disarming manner that his targets actually reveled in the exchange.  Russert gave great effort to preparation but he did not get lost in his questions.  He listened, so that no matter how intrusive his questioning, it came directly out of the very words his subject had spoken.     So no matter how contentious the exchange was it was never a debate but a dialogue.

 The mature Lover lives by two cardinal rules:

It is difficult to dislike someone who makes you laugh and you naturally respect someone who confirms that they have heard what you said.  Comics rarely stay relevant for long periods of time, someone else is always viewed as the next comic working o the cutting edge, but Carlin remained in high esteem across generations and amongst his peers.  His longevity is a testament to his mastery of the first rule.  Russert excelled at the second rule within the intersection of two of the more visible and ego driven forums on the planet – the media and American politics.

            While they clearly would not agree on what the after life held for each of them, I am certain that they would easily embrace both their commonality and the legacy they each left behind.    

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