Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Missing Bill Hicks today

The anniversary of Bill Hicks' death passed. I was too sick to blog about it, but I'm feeling better and didn't want to let the occasion go by unmarked.

Have you ever been so blown away by someone's intelligence and wit that there were no words left to describe the experience?

That's how I felt when I saw Bill Hicks perform his show "Revelations." It was one of the bravest, most astonishing, subversive acts of truth-telling I have ever witnessed. That performance will live in me always. Reading quotes or even the transcript is nothing compared to watching the master deliver the performance of his life, one that ended, ironically, with his simulated assassination - the price of all who stood up and tried to act on the most important truths.

In real life, Bill died young, an apparent victim of nearly a lifetime of smoking. [CORRECTION: he died of pancreatic cancer, which is not caused by smoking.] Billy Joel's song "Only the Good Die Young" plays in my mind whenever I think of Hicks. He was a Sagittarius, the centaur, using his man's brain and his horse's hooves to stomp all over the establishment, shooting his arrows of truth into the heart of all that matters.

Most geniuses are not known for their compassion. Hicks wore an odd mix of both, and hid it under that rough, sardonic armor he donned when he wished to do battle with all that was wrong with the world. "Think of me as Chomsky with dick jokes," he told audiences.

Get a DVD. Meet this performer posthumously and let him move your mind and heart and tickle your funny bone in places you didn't know existed. These quotes are but a paltry substitute for the real thing. Bear in mind this was performed in the early 90's, when the 'evil' Bush was Shrub's father:
People ask me where I stood politically you know. It's not that I disagree with Bush's economic policy or his foreign policy. But that I believe he was a child of Satan here to destroy the planet Earth. Yeah, I'm a little a little to the left there, I was. I was leaning that way. Yeah you know who else is going, little Quayle boy. Little Damien. Is that guy Damien? Tell me those blank empty eyes aren't gonna glow red in the very near future. [eyes roll back in head] Stop makingjokes about meee. Nrrr. I'll spell potato any fucking way I want. Nrrrr. Rioters in LA, let's nuke them. Bush was a pussy Nrr He held me back. Frightening people man. Bush tried to buy votes towards the end of the election. Goes around, you know, selling weapons to everyone, getting that military industrial complex vote happening for him. Sold 160 fighter jets to Korea and then 240 tanks to Kuwait and then goes around making speeches why he should be Commander-in-Chief because, "We still live in a dangerous world." Thanks to you, you fucker!
Not a lot has changed, eh? He told the lesson of all recent wars in American history in this fantastic scene:
I'm so sick of arming the world, then sending troops over to destroy their fucking arms, you know what I mean? We keep arming these little countries, then we go and blow the shit out of them. We're like the bullies of the world, y'know. We're like Jack Palance in the movie Shane, throwing the pistol at the sheepherder'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. I just came downtown here to get some hardrock candy for my kids, some gingham for my wife. I don't even know what gingham is, but she goes through about ten rolls a week of that stuff. I ain't looking for no trouble, Mister."

"Pick up the gun."

(He picks it up. Three shots ring out)

"You all saw him - he had a gun."
One of Hicks' favorite topics was the Kennedy assassination:

I love talking about the Kennedy assassination because to me it's a great example of, er, a totalitarian government's ability to, you know, manage information and thus keep us in the dark any way they... Oh sorry wrong meeting... Ah shit. That's the meeting we're having tomorrow at the docks. [winks]

I love talking about Kennedy. I was just down in Dallas, Texas. You know you can go down there and, er, to Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was assassinated. And you can actually go to the sixth floor of the Schoolbook Depository. It's a museum called... 'The Assassination Museum'. I think they named that after the assassination. I can't be too sure of the chronology here but... Anyway they have the window set up to look exactly like it did on that day. And it's really accurate, you know, 'cuz Oswald's not in it. "Yeah, yeh so wow that's cool." Painstaking accuracy, you know. It's true, it's called the 'Sniper's Nest'. It's glassed in, it's got the boxes sitting there.

You can't actually get to the window as such but the reason they did that of course, they didn't want thousands of American tourists getting there each year going [Mimes looking out of window] "No fucking way! I can't even see the road. Shit, they're lying to us. Fuck! Where are they? There's no fucking way. Not unless Oswald was hanging by his toes, upside down from the ledge."

"Either that or some pigeons grabbed onto him, flew him over the motorcade... Surely someone would have seen that. You know there was rumours of anti-Castro pigeons seen drinking in bars... Someone overhead them saying 'coup, coup.'" Coo. Unbelievable.

And you know what's wild? People's, er, attitudes in the States about it. Talking about Kennedy, people come up to me: "Bill, quit talking about Kennedy, man. Let it go. It's a long time ago - just forget about it." And I'm like alright, then don't bring up Jesus to me. As long as we're talking shelf life here. "Bill, you know Jesus died for you." Yeah, well it was a long time ago. Forget about it! How about this. Get Pilate to release the fucking files. Quit washing your hands Pilate - release the goddam files. Who else was on that grassy Golgotha that day? "Bill, it was just, you know, hur, taking over of democracy by a totalitarian government, let it go."

[Skipping a rant about creationists, and a bit re how Jesus wouldn't really want to see a cross around your neck when he came back, would he?]

You know, kinda like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on, you know. "Thinkin' of John, Jackie. We love him. Just tryin to keep that memory alive, baby." [mimes sniper, mimes being shot in the head] Back and to the left, back and to the left, back and to the left, back and to the left. Which, by the way, that action you see Kennedy's head go through in the Zapruder film - caused by a bullet... [points behind him] comin from up there, ha. Yes, I know it looks to the layman or someone who might dabble in physics... This action here would be caused by a bullet coming from... Well... [thinks] Up here, did you see that? Did everyone see that?

Yeah, but no. What happened was Oswald's gun went off, causing an echo to echo through the buildings of Dealey Plaza and the echo went by the limo on the left up into the grassy knoll hitting some leaves causing dust to fly out which 56 witnesses testified was a gun shot, cos immediately... Kennedy's head went over. But the reason his head went over is cause the echo went by the motorcade one the left and he went "What was that?"

So there, we have figured it out. Go back to bed America, your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed America, your government is in control again. Here. Here's American Gladiators. Watch this. Shut up! Go back to bed America. Here's American Gladiators. Here's 56 channels of it. Watch these pituitary retards bang their fuckin skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America, you are free, to do as we tell you, you are free, to do as we tell you.

"Oh good. Honey, I heard on the news that they've figured out that the gun, what happened is, is that there was an echo and Kennedy was, er, asking Jackie what it was, and that that's why his head flew u... Honey what time's Gladiators on? Are we missing it? I'm so glad we're free, Honey."
Hicks was a case study in manipulation. After he had you howling with laughter, he'd sock you in the gut with something outrageous:
By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself. No, no, no it's 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. Aaah, 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, 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. Machi... Whatever, you know what I mean.

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! "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet! "Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web. "Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?" "What didya do today honey?" "Oh, we made ah, we made ah arsenic a childhood food now, goodnight." [snores] "Yeah we just said you know is your baby really too loud? You know," [snores] "Yeah, you know the mums will love it." [snores] Sleep like fucking children, don't ya, this is your world isn't it?
And then just when you were nearly dizzy from his spell, he'd slip you some insight so smooth it almost went down without you noticing:
The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride..." And we... kill those people. Ha ha "Shut him up." "We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real." Just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus mudered; Martin Luther King mudered; Malcolm X murdered; Gandhi murdered; John Lennon murdered; Reagan.... wounded. But it doesn't matter because: It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love.

The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.
R.I.P., Bill Hicks. You tried to tell us. Some of us even tried to listen.

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Blogger Real History Lisa said...

YouTube has a bunch of clips of Bill Hicks - check them out. You'll see why his fans were so loyal.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still laugh hearing Bill Hicks. It's that kind of laughter you get when, in the face of what looks to be a whole bunch of dirt and darkness, you hear another voice that reassures you you're not alone.


12:07 AM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Well said, Cadeveo. That's exactly what it is.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

Bill Hicks died in 1994 and is still my favourite comedian of all-time. Nobody else, at least for me, has quite managed to be so brutally honest, so intelligent, and so damned funny all at the same time.

Oh, and tobacco smoking greatly increases one's risks of getting pancreatic cancer, so it's actually quite likely that his smoking killed him. But he kept on doing his smoking material even after he knew he was dying. And I respect him all the more for it.

5:29 PM  

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