As you know, I’m very tuned into the doom meme, and I write and tweet a lot about past and current cultural variations on the fear and fascination of apocalypse. But I think I’ll never outdo George Carlin, who, in an absolutely brain-bending and jaw-dropping riff on the subject (see the video below), mounted the single most delirious, hilarious, and scandalous vision of The End that has ever been or will ever be articulated. What’s more, at the conclusion of it — and with a masterful control of tone — he brought it all down to a sudden and startling mood of melancholy, hope, and wistfulness. In short, it’s an amazing performance.
For the sake of introduction, here’s a transcription of how he starts:
I always hope that no matter how small the original problem is, it’s going to grow into bigger and bigger proportions and get completely out of control. And I’ll give you a concrete example. Let’s say a water main breaks in downtown Los Angeles, and it floods an electrical substation, knocking out all the traffic lights and tying up the entire city, and emergency vehicles can’t get through. And at the same time, one of those month-long global warming heat waves comes along, but there’s no air-conditioning, there’s no water for sanitation, so cholera, smallpox and dysentery break out and thousands of people start dying in the streets. But before they die, parasites eat their brains, and they go completely fucking crazy, and they storm the hospital, but the hospital can’t handle all the casualties, so these people rape all the nurses and set the hospital on fire. And the flames drive them even crazier, so they start stabbing social workers and garbage men. And a big wind comes along, and the entire city goes up in flames. And the people who are still healthy, they get mad at the sick people, and they start crucifying them, nailing them to crosses, trying on their underwear, shit like that. Then everybody smokes crack and PCP, and they march on city hall, where they burn the mayor at the stake, they strangle his wife, and take turns sodomizing the statue of Larry Flynt.
And at this point, it looks like pretty soon things are gonna start to get out of control.
And remember, that’s just the start.
Since it’s Carlin, be advised that, yes, of course, and as evidenced above, the language is totally NSFW.