EducationMedia & TechnologyPolitics

Internet Meme Demolition Derby Pit Stop: About that George Carlin Meme

Not a big takedown today, but I wanted to amplify this Daily Kos article by AnnieJo, not just because I’m a huge George Carlin fan, but because I’m a huge George Carlin fan who didn’t catch this the first time this meme rolled across my Facebook wall.

George Carlin has got to be rolling in his grave.

The Heartland Institute has posted a meme with his photo, fabricated a quote about education that says something VERY different than Carlin himself said when he talked about education, and it’s getting “liked” and shared by conservatives by the thousands, all over Facebook.

The offending meme can be found on Facebook:

Here’s what the Heartland Institute claims that George Carlin said:

Governments don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking.  That is against their interests.They want obedient workers who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork.  And just dumb enough to passively accept it.

See what they did there?  They’re setting up to make a case for the free market to swoop in and privatize/profitize public (government) education — because George Carlin!

Except that George Carlin hated everything that the Heartland Institute espouses, and the selectively-quoted words actually come from a prophetic Carlin rant, that rails in irrepressibly colorful language against the very wealthy-business-interests that Heartland represents!

Click over (here’s the LINK again) and read the whole thing, because AnnieJo did the legwork and deserves the page views.

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of Comedy, George Carlin would be up there next to Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks and Carol Burnett (Hey, it’s my imaginary mountain.) The idea of not only taking his words out of context to score a cheap political point pisses me off enough. But to mangle those words in order to change their meaning and push a political orthodoxy that Carlin himself spent his career campaigning against? That makes you real scum. Evidently the Heartland Institute (I love Wikipedia for this kind of stuff btw, lets me point to a scummy organization without giving their website hits,) was not the originator of the butchered Meme. But they certainly failed in their due diligence by spreading it without vetting it. Google is easy my friends.

Featured Image Credit:

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at

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