Monday, October 23, 2006

OVERDUE REQUIEM FOR SAINT BILL OF TEXAS

"I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out."

Bill Hicks 1961-1994

I don't have any heroes; pretty short on role models too. This is the curse/blessing that comes of belonging to the blank generation. Cynicism is so hard-wired it's impossible to revere a fellow Earth bound organism and only just possible to believe in God or extraterrestrial benevolence if you submit to voluntary lobotomy.

But if I had heroes Bill Hicks would be one of them. Hicks was the most sacriligeous preacher, the most irresponsible social commentator, the noblest man to drag the human race's nose in its own turds. Smell this you little shit. Whack and don't do it again. There should be more like him, but sadly that's extremely unlikely. How many people in the world could get up on a stage and demonstrate George Bush giving Satan head. How many would think of it? Bill Hicks the best kind of American. The avatar of the democratic chaotic genius of that country. Fuck my bullshit let's hear the gospel of American defence policy according to St. Bill:

"We're like Jack Palance in the movie Shane, throwing the pistol at the sheep herder's feet:
'Pick it up.'
'I don't wanna pick it up mister, you'll shoot me.'
'Pick up the gun.'
'Mister, I don't want no trouble, huh. I just came down town here to get some hard rock candy for my kids, some gingham for my wife. I don't even know what gingham is, but she goes through about 10 rolls a week of that stuff. I ain't looking for no trouble, mister.'
'Pick up the gun."
[Boom, boom!!]
'You all saw him. He had a gun.'"

There's a lot of comics out there riling likewise (eg Jon Stewart). A lot of 'em do a good job. Sadly Hicks died before George the second came to power. Sad for us not for him, he was pissed off enough at the first Gulf War. That at least had some kind of justification. Iraq made the first move but this...

I wonder what he'd say. What would his take on September 11, the War on (of) Terror be? Would he riff on conspiracy? I couldn't say. His mind was his own. He had a knack of raving on like a soapbox jockey and pulling back with the most irreverent and disrectful quip. Take his barbs at the 'pro-life' movement:

"If you're so pro-life and you're so pro-child, then adopt one that's already here, that's very unwanted and very alone and needs someone to take care of it to get it out of a horrible situation. Okay? People say, 'Why don't you do that?' And I say, 'Because I hate fucking kids and couldn't care less.'"

When he finally quit smoking this is the guy that said every cigarette looked "like it was made by God, rolled by Jesus and moistened shut with Claudia Schiffer's pussy." He was an old-fashioned antiestablishment libertarian. Libertarian these days, especially in the States tends to bring to mind some Republican suburbanite who supports your right to sniff cocaine and keep Mexican slave labour. Sure P.J. O'Rourke's a funny guy but it just ain't the same. And the left mostly just aren't funny. They're good at making George W. the dumb arsehole jokes but none of them would bring up Claudia Schiffer's pussy.

He was one of the last people to speak unafraid of the consequences, the ratings, the opinion polls. Fuck all that. Bill didn't just tell political jokes or make fun of religious dickheads. He was a philosopher; a psychadelic preacher. He had a vision that the human race could be more than just a skanky bunch of fat-arsed monkeys hell-bent on blowing each other to meat scraps.

"All our beliefs are being challenged now, and rightfully so – they're stupid."

No qualifications, none of the limitations that come with writing a 'serious' book about the geo-political situation or the distribution of wealth. Not the half-arsed, completely mislead bigotry that spews out of talk back radio or the 'readers' comment section of a right-wing blog. That shit ain't worth two cents, this was priceless.

The beauty of stand-up is it's litmus test is to make people laugh. People laugh it works. Say anything you want. Of course to make people really laugh you've got to really piss a lot of people off. Bill was good at that. Born again types (showing how much they learned from Jesus) beat him up and broke his ribs, networks banned him, there's even a rumour that Bush had something to do with his death. Who knows. Whatever, he's badly missed. If you've never had the pleasure check out Sane Man or Rant in E-Minor and get the real religion.

And finally a reading from the gospel accordingly:

"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourself.

"Seriously, though. If you are, do. No, really. There's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, okay? Kill yourself. Seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No, this is not a joke, if you're going: "There's going to be a joke coming." There's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked, and you are fucking us. Kill yourself, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself. Planting seeds.

"I know all the marketing people are going: 'He's doing a joke.' There's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend – I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations.

I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too. 'Oh, you know what Bill's doing? He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart.' Oh man. I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags! 'Oh, you know what Bill's doing now? He's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. Lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research. Huge market. He's doing a good thing.'

God damn it, I'm not doing that, you scumbags. Quit putting a goddamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet! "

AMEN

3 comments:

F. Rohmer said...

I don't understand how you can call Bill Hicks the best kind of American. He was the absolute worst. Hicks did nothing but run this country down time after time. He disrespected the military, He disrespected God. He disrespected his own parents, the people who brought him up. Bill Hicks was a disgusting sewer mouth who was incapable of anything constructive except bringing about his own early demise by overindulgence in drugs. Thank goodness. Maybe you should develop a nice heroin habit of your own and do the world a similar favour.

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