So, yeah, why not make today a day to write about people I have never met that inspire me. That works. I know that’s going to seem a bit unusual to you. Oh no, what’s wrong? Christine is writing schmaltzy paeans to her favorite bloggers and comedians! Oh no! It’s the apocalypse! Seriously though folks, don’t worry. First off, I kind of need it, as should be obvious from this post. Second, this one is not going to be anywhere near as saccharine. This post is going to be about an entirely different kind of funny man.
If Dan Pearce is the oil that keeps my social justice blogging engine from breaking down, The Right Reverend William Melvin Hicks, or as he is known to everyone else on the planet, simply Bill Hicks, is my fuel. He was not gasoline or diesel though. No, Bill was pure plutonium. He was an unstoppable force of nature that took absolutely no prisoners. There were times he went too far, even for me, but he had zero respect for your sacred cows and would kill them, butcher them and cook them up to serve to you.
I have often said I do what I do, both as a blogger and an activist, because of my parents, and because they exposed us to folk singers like Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. That is absolutely true. I would not have the attitudes I have about society without that. It is also true, however, that I don’t think I would have the fire in my belly if it weren’t for Bill Hicks. He told the truth as he saw it, no matter how uncomfortable it was. For instance, this little gem:
You want to know the truth about politics in America, I’ll show you the truth:
“I think the puppet on the left talks to my point of view.”
“Well I think the puppet on the right speaks for me.”
“Hey, the same guy’s holding up both puppets.”
“Shut up and go back to sleep America. Here drink some beer and watch some American Gladiators and get fat and stupid.”
Is that brutal? Absolutely and it was, and still is, what this country needs. Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives, he played no favorites. He had zero patience for cognitive laziness and more than once got into vicious verbal matches with hecklers. He saw the corruption in our system and railed against it, but at the same time let himself, and helped us to, laugh at it. We need that slap in the face.
Bill came to me after he died. No, not like that, I just hadn’t discovered him until he had been gone a few years. He passed on way too young. I was introduced to him at a time when I was skeptical to the point of despondency. I didn’t think anyone else, even the intelligent people I knew, saw or understood what I saw, then I heard Bill and I knew at one time, at least one guy got it. I’ve since met plenty of people who get it too, who can both skewer the goblins in our culture while making fun of them, and themselves, at the same time. I couldn’t have made it this far with out Bill and his righteous indignation and his unapologetic attitude toward sticking it to the fools mucking up the works.
Lest you think I only love him because he was a misanthropic goblin that amused me, I want you to know that despite his anger, Bill displayed amazing love for all humanity. He was like that angry teacher that knew we weren’t applying ourselves. So, I guess I am going to get a little schmaltzy here and leave you with my absolute favorite Bill quote:
Life is like a ride in an amusement park. It goes up and down, round and round, it’s very brightly colored, it’s loud, it’s fast and it’s fun… for a while. Some of us have been on the ride a very long time and we start to wonder “is this real, or is it just a ride?” Others come back to us and say “no, it’s okay, you don’t have to worry, not ever, because: it’s just a ride.
It is just a ride, and I for one want to stay on just a bit longer to see what happens.