How strange does Newsweek get on the subject of religion? See this week’s appreciation of the late George Carlin by director Kevin Smith (who cast the obscenity-laced comedian as a ridiculous Catholic bishop in "Dogma"). Smith concluded: "He was, and will likely remain, the smartest person I've ever met. But really, he was much more than just a person. Without a hint of hyperbole, I can say he was a god, a god who cussed." That was Newsweek’s headline: "Remembering a God. A God Who Cussed." (Online, it was simply "‘A God Who Cussed’.")
Stranger than that was Smith’s anecdote right before that ending. As his film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" wrapped, Carlin responded to Smith’s thank-yous by saying:
"Just do me a favor: Write me my dream role one day."
When I inquired what that'd be, he offered, "I wanna play a priest who strangles children."
It was a classic Carlin thing to say: a little naughty and a lot honest. I always figured there'd be time to give George what he asked for. Unfortunately, he left too soon.
Perhaps it’s not as surprising, with all the cleric-bashing, that Smith announced he’d abandoned the religion of his youth for Carlin Worship:
I spent years turning friends on to the Cult of Carlin, the World According to George, and even made pilgrimages to see him perform live (the first occasion being a gig at Farleigh Dickinson University in 1988). Carlin influenced my speech and my writing. Carlin replaced Catholicism as my religion.
Does Newsweek find any of this testimony odd?