George Carlin, Consumer Critic

His legacy includes opposition to American-style consumption.


Comedian George Carlin, who died Sunday, may be best known for his monologue "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," but he also had some memorable lines about consumerism:

Consumption—it's the new national pastime... The only true lasting American value that's left—buying things... People spending money they don't have on things they don't they can max out their credit cards and spend the rest of their lives paying 18 percent interest on something that cost $12.50. And they didn't like it when they got home anyway.

You can watch the whole profanity-laden performance here. After riffing against capitalism and Wall Street, he ends with a classic one-liner: "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."