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The Expansionist
Monday, June 23, 2008
Drugs Kill Another 'Genius' — ? The headline on the Associated Press story as carried on AOL today is "Legendary Comedian George Carlin Dies".
Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. ***

Despite his reputation as unapologetically irreverent, Carlin was a television staple through the decades, serving as host of the "Saturday Night Live" debut in 1975 - noting on his Web site that he was "loaded on cocaine all week long" - and appearing some 130 times on "The Tonight Show."
Carlin made his living trivializing drug use. And now he's dead at 71. Speaking of John McCain, who is running for President at that same age, 71, William Saletan in the New York Post yesterday said:
The latest figures suggest that remaining life expectancy for a 70-year-old man is 14 years.
(Tho I provide a link to the original source, I would recommend you not follow it unless you have a popup blocker that defeats fastclick-media ads, because otherwise you face having your machine hijacked for two or three minutes while fastclick fites and defeats your popup blocker.)
Obviously not everyone now 71 can be expected to reach age 84, but George Carlin died much before his time. Why might that be?
Cocaine use has been associated with both acute and chronic cardiovascular diseases. These include acute myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia (both silent ischemia and ischemia associated with angina), acceleration of the development of atherosclerosis, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy (both dilated and hypertrophic), arrhythmias, hypertension, aortic dissection, and endocarditis. An estimated 25 million Americans have tried cocaine at least once.
And why would so many people try something so dangerous (and expensive, and illegal, as could cause them permanent problems, as with admission to college or getting a good job, if they are arrested)? Because key people in the popular culture have utterly trivialized hard drugs. In an audio routine now on YouTube, George Carlin implicitly equates children's aspirin and coffee with heroin and cocaine. Now he's dead. Good riddance.

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