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An Earth Day Tradition: George Carlin on “The Planet”

What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good.

Transcript follows:”We’re so self-important. So self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet! What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

“I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

“Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

“The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

“We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

“You wanna know how the planet’s doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet’s doing. You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

“The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

“So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that’s begun. Don’t you think that’s already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

“Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.”

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  • ghostsniper April 22, 2018, 9:56 AM

    Carlin’s right of course. Thinking humans or any “living” creatures have detrimental effect on the earth is the height of ignorance and arrogance which frequently go hand in hand. Look at a textured globe, the one with bumps indicating the mountains and oceans. Then imagine the thinnest film in select areas and you’ll have an idea of the human occupancy of the planet. Earth was here before and will be here after this very brief experience called humanism has run it’s course. Next time you see that silly coexist thing punch the possessor in the face, just because. And as far as all the “earth first” nonsense goes, so what? Like you ever had any say about it in the first place. Silly ninnies.

  • BillH April 22, 2018, 10:11 AM

    I’ve always thought Limbaugh just cleaned up Carlin’s act for a wider audience, and got filthy rich in the process.

  • james wilson April 22, 2018, 11:23 AM

    I’ ve seen Carlin’s acts, live and on tape. This is the only one that made his own audience uneasy. He was talking about them.

  • Joseph Krill April 22, 2018, 11:43 AM

    Algor mortis, where are you.

  • Anonymous April 22, 2018, 5:17 PM

    Mutations from radioactivity and genetic manipulation could cause permanent damage to the natural evolution of the global ecosystem. Don’t underestimate the destructive power of huminoids.

  • Howard Nelson April 22, 2018, 8:00 PM

    Human stupidity, human viciousness, human capability, and human carelessness handling intersystem complexity are expanding faster on Earth than is the dark energy driven universe.
    Just as no one explains what the universe is expanding into, we Earthlings don’t know our asses from the dark masses of AI, medically impervious infectious mutant bioagents, spreading nuclear weapons capability among our enemies, EMP and computer system hack attacks against our utilities (electric and water), food and fuel distribution networks, …
    We’re so vulnerable to civilization collapse it’s a good thing our political incompetents take holidays rather than more quick!y making things deliberately, or nondeliberately, worse.

    Robots are now being programmed to reciprocate emotions of the humans with whom they interact. I’m very respectful in accordance with their sensitivities. I hear they are beginning to reprogram themselves; I am fearful since they’ve figured out how to block us from findng the purposes of their changes.

  • ghostsniper April 22, 2018, 8:37 PM

    “Don’t underestimate the destructive power of huminoids.”…to other humanoids.
    And gaia sighs.

    This sphere wiped out everything on the surface several times and it will again.

  • Frank P April 22, 2018, 10:21 PM

    Don’ worrie! Be ‘appy!

  • Tom Hyland April 23, 2018, 8:24 AM

    Carlin’s Earth Day comments are right on. But I’ll take this opportunity to place here possibly his most profound statement…. “I’m talking about the real owners now… the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests… it’s a big club… and you aint’ in it.”

  • GoneWithTheWind April 23, 2018, 9:08 AM

    Environmentalism is the incestuous stepsister of socialism. It is simply a way of taking other people’s money and acquiring political power. In the end it must be advanced and enforced by violence. The proposition and argument of the environmentalist at the extremes is pure foolishness but it works. They have acquired both other people’s money and power with a combination of scare tactics and violence. They won’t give up and they are at their most violent when backed into a corner.

  • ghostsniper April 23, 2018, 1:55 PM

    Bought a big piece of norfolk island pine on ebay a few years ago, intending to work a 14″ platter on a friends lathe. Upon receiving it I inspected it and saw a small hole on the edge and stuck a nail in there and touched something. WTF was it? Went through the process and got the thing on the lathe and while turning the inside I felt the chisel “touch” something. It was silver. The chisel had cut the surface off a piece of metal. I grabbed an older chisel and kept working, exposing more of the metal. It was a steel rod of unknown length, perpendicular to the axis of the tree. I drilled a 1/16″ hole in the rod and using a pointed drift I drove the rod back out the side. It was 8″ long and had a nail head on it. I contacted the seller and he said that happens a lot up there in the pacific northwest where he harvested that wood.

    The american communists, in their adolescent thinking, trying to save the trees from them nasty loggers drive nails in trees. The think that will blow the chainsaw and thus save the tree. Idiots. Driving an 8″ nail into a 18″ diameter tree kills it. Not instantly, but eventually. That’s the heartwood, the life force of the tree lives in there. And, commercial logging is not done with chainsaws and hasn’t for about 60 years. Large circular saw blades on booms is the order of the day. That 30″ blade will go through a nail like a bayonet through a snowflake’s play-do skall.

    The seller offered me my coin back but I refused as the wood where the nail resided was going to be removed. If, however, I had mounted that blank backwards on the faceplate the nail orientation would have rendered the thing useless. I’ve found several bullets in wood before but this was my first nail, and hopefully last.

    I turned that 14″ platter and finished it out in my legendary “celestial” style and 20 coats of satin poly with 12,000 grit micromesh sanding in between. Couldn’t look at it straight on the first time, had to look at it from the corner of the eye then rotate the skall and let the cerebrum get used to it before taking a full straight on shot. And then stand there and bask. Breathtaking. Go look up “norfolk island pine wood turnings” and see for yourself. My piece was partially spalted and that alone pushed it all the way over the top. Sold it on Etsy for $295 and got requests from 72 other people wanting one. Couple months later a neighbor down the road said he had a stand of 11 norfolks out at the end of his driveway and he was tired of them shedding all over the drive and would give me $50 each to bring em down, cut in 18″ lengths and stack off to the sides. Though softwood, he was going to burn em in the fireplace. I did his task and filled my quill with NIP for the next 2 centuries.

  • Vanderleun April 23, 2018, 2:04 PM

    “20 coats of satin poly with 12,000 grit micromesh sanding in between. ”

    And it is ghostsniper for the OCD win!

  • Casey Klahn April 23, 2018, 10:02 PM

    Erf Day?

    I like what Bob Dylan once said, and I imagine most turn a deaf ear to it. He said: “I don’t dig nature. You can’t trust it.”

  • Nori April 22, 2020, 8:23 PM

    Interesting how every single comment here could have been written moments ago.

    Carlin’s wicked wit and disdain for hypocrisy are sorely missed.
    Somewhere at a cosmic table,Carlin smokes a fine smoke,sips a heavenly nectar,and smiles at this asinine silliness.