The ‘Anti-Columnist’ Part 2: Enter George Carlin

“If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help. That’s help!” ~ George Carlin

Humor provides greater access to truth than seriousness because it has a disarming effect that gives us all permission to laugh at our own folly. But deliver serious lessons in a humorous way and you have one powerful combination.

Therefore, when considering content for my second article submission for the MarketWatch “World’s Next Greatest Investing Columnist” competition, I thought to myself:  “I’d like to win but I won’t take this contest too seriously, especially considering the fact that ‘winners’ in the first two rounds are selected by ‘Likes’ on Facebook—a joke within itself.”

Enter George Carlin—a philosopher that just happened to use humor as his tool to spread truth and to enable the kind of critical reasoning that is missing in today’s world of business and finance.  In different words, Carlin is simply the most brilliant smart ass I’ve had the privilege of encountering in my lifetime; I thought he would be a perfect centerpiece to my Round 2 submission of the MarketWatch contest.

In his classic rant about the American Dream, about which he says “you have to be asleep to believe it,” Carlin stresses that the powers that be in this country have no interest in citizens who are “well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking.”  It was probably something more like the American Awakening that Carlin intended in his work.

“I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: ‘Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no ‘I’ in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an ‘I’ in independence, individuality and integrity. Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, ‘We’re the So-and-Sos,’ take a walk.  And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death.  And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.” ~ George Carlin

This “funny truth,” as I call it, was my purpose in using his philosophy in my Round 2 MarketWatch contest submission—to provoke a few laughs while pointing a few more people in our investor community toward more independent and critical reasoning that is free of the noise that deafens individual thought.

If you are among the rare combination of intellectual person and Facebook user, please go to this article and vote for it by hitting the “Like” button at the top of that page:

The Funny Truth: 5 Investment Lessons From George Carlin

Thanks for keeping this ‘Anti-Columnist’ in the competition thus far!  I look forward to hearing from you in Comments…


Kent Thune is blog author of The Financial Philosopher. You can follow him on Twitter @TheThinkersQuill.

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