ABOUT THIS VIDEO: Oh, George. You may have been considered one of the three comedians who made up the Holy Trinity of Stand-Up (the other two being Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce), but you were so off-base on this topic that it hurts me. In fact, it hurt me enough to inspire this video.
Upon listening to George's rant, it might seem like he is initially going against the self-esteem MOVEMENT and not self-esteem itself. However, a further exploration reveals he is going after self-esteem itself. Just listen to the part where he talks about how good self-esteem doesn't mean you will get better grades or jobs. Then he even talks about how criminals have good self-esteem, so it doesn't even guarantee you'll be a good person.
No one ever countered George on these statements. Well, by that I mean no other stand-up comedian. I'm certainly no comic, but I can and will counter him by saying: "George, you are wrong, wrong, and so what if criminals have good self-esteem? What are you trying to say there? That it would be bad if NON-criminals had good self-esteem?"
Having struggled with poor self-esteem until recently, and knowing what a difference it has made once I DID develop good self-esteem, I must say that I am sorely disappointed with the sentiments George expresses in this rant.
What George fails to realize is there is a difference between true self-esteem and the kind that was/is promoted by the "self-esteem movement." True self-esteem is based on facts. In other words, you don't praise yourself unless you actually did something to earn it. The kind promoted by the movement is empty, invalid, shallow. It is all about giving praise for the sake of giving praise.
It would be the equivalent of firing a handgun with blanks in it at your martial arts students, and then convincing them they are impervious to bullets.
However, George does not make this distinction in his piece. He seems to be implying that good self-esteem is "bad for ya" (as this HBO special was named) or, at the very least, is useless.
As I said above, I have been through this. Low self-esteem is no joke. It will keep you from reaching any goal you set for yourself. Hell, sometimes it can keep you from even getting out of bed! Sadly, most people who enjoyed George's comedy swallowed this hook, line, and sinker without even giving it a second thought, and that is sad.
You want to know why it's sad?
Because one of George's rules for living was to QUESTION EVERYTHING. Never take anything at face value. Don't follow blindly. Find out things for yourself. If you don't do that, then you missed the entire point of what this man stood for...unless of course you think that, when he said to question everything, he meant you should question everything except HIM.