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Seven Dirty Words: The Life and Crimes of George Carlinby James Sullivan
Synopses & Reviews
In Seven Dirty Words, journalist and cultural critic James Sullivan tells the story of Alternative America from the 1950s to the present, from the singular vantage point of George Carlin, the Catholic boy for whom nothing was sacred. A critical biography, Seven Dirty Words is an insightful (and, of course, hilarious) examination of Carlins body of work as it pertained to its cultural times and the man who created it, from his early days as amore-or-less conventional comedian to his stunning transformation into the subversive comedic voice of the emerging counterculture. Sullivan also chronicles Carlins struggles with censorship and drugs, as well as the full-blown renaissance he experienced in the 1990s, both personally and professionally, when he became an elder statesman to a younger generation of comics who revered him. Seven Dirty Words is nothing less than the definitive biography of an American master who changed the world, and also a work of cultural commentary which frames George Carlins extraordinary legacy.
"A recipient of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, stand-up comedian Carlin (1937 — 2008) wrote three bestselling humor books and looked back over his five-decade career in his recent memoir, Last Words. Now music journalist and culture critic Sullivan, a contributor to Rolling Stone and the San Francisco Chronicle, offers an overview, starting with the young Carlin in 1950s New York. The Air Force sent him off to Louisiana, where he began as a Shreveport radio personality. As a DJ in Fort Worth, Tex., he polished a comedy act with Jack Burns, and the two left for the West Coast, performing together for two years before they split in 1962. Going solo, Carlin's taboo topics and 'subversive attitude' took center stage. In this linear summary of Carlin's career, Sullivan dissects the comedian's classic iconoclastic routines, probes his working methods and successfully captures his rocketlike ascent to fame from night clubs and the 1960s comedic cauldron of Greenwich Village to television acclaim, controversy, and creative conflicts. However, those who want to experience a full explosion of the cynical and caustic Carlin blasting off minus the heat shields should instead seek out the finely tuned and wit-saturated Last Words. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Standup comedian Carlin (1937-2008) is perhaps best remembered for his taboo-breaking shtik about the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," for which he was arrested in 1972. Journalist/culture critic Sullivan (Boston Globe contributor) traces his tumultuous life, comedic evolution and legacy as a counterculture icon, and his role in battles over censorship that led to a landmark Supreme Court decision on broadcast indecency. The book includes photos of Carlin throughout his career. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The definitive biography of the life and work of the legendary comedian, provocateur, and social critic George Carlin
On the heels of George Carlins bestselling memoir, Last Words, the definitive chronicle of the life and art of the legendary comic, provocateur, and social critic
"Sullivan convincingly makes the case that for 50 years Carlin 'may well have produced more laughs than any other human being.'"--New York Times
Journalist and cultural critic James Sullivan tells the story of Alternative America from the 1950s to the present in this definitive biography of the Catholic boy for whom nothing was sacred: George Carlin. Seven Dirty Words is a hilarious and insightful read, documenting the life and art of the legendary comic, provocateur, and social critic who fearlessly questioned the American way of life through the words we use.
About the Author
James Sullivan is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. He previously served as the pop music and culture critic at the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for Rolling Stone and many other publications.
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