Thursday, May 5, 2011

BILL HICKS: REST IN PEACE



CAUTION: TODAY'S POST CONTAINS "ADULT" TRAGEDY AND "ADULT" HUMOR!!


The century of health, hygiene and contraceptives, miracle drugs and synthetic foods, is also the century of the concentration camp and the police state, Hiroshima and the murder story. Nobody thinks about death, about his own death, as Rilke asked us to do, because nobody leads a personal life. Collective slaughter is the fruit of a collectivized way of life.
--Octavio Paz, from "The Day of the Dead" in The Day of Solitude

Sometimes—like every day—the food that isn’t food, the entertainment that’s not entertainment, the music that isn’t music, the literature that’s not literature, the supposed sex that’s not sex, the love that’s not love, the peace that is war, the pursuit of happiness that is hell, the vicious, narcotic lie of American culture can start to get ya down. 

Sometimes everything seems so fake, so leached of vitality, so insipid, that the only way to resolve the conflict is silence. The only way to stay afloat seems to be to hole up in your bedroom, read some Wislawa Szymborska ("Write it down. Write it. With ordinary ink/on ordinary paper: they weren't given food,/they all died of hunger…Sunny. Green, A forest close at hand,/with wood to chew on, drops beneath the bark to drink--/a view served round the clock,/until you go blind), and brood.

Then, one more time, you come upon someone (besides Szymborska, that is) with an actual spark. Someone who has not completely flat-lined. Someone who carried out the hard, lonely task of driving the money-changers out of the temple. Someone who reminds you that you have a job to do and if it drains you of every last drop of blood, and you go out a failure, scorned, alone, betrayed, and in the same screaming, searing anguish in which you lived, you will die trying. Someone who told the truth and gives you hope. 


Let's give the last word on peace, reflections about which have run all week, to this genius, outlaw, late, lamented comic. Thanks, all, for participating.

I had a vision of a way we could have no enemies ever again, if you're interested in this. Anybody interested in hearing this? It's kind of an interesting theory, and all we have to do is make one decisive act and we can rid the world of all our enemies at once. Here's what we do. You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense every year? Trillions of dollars. Instead, if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded ... not one ... we could as one race explore inner and outer space together in peace, forever.
--Bill Hicks, 1961-1994

8 comments:

  1. God be praised for poets (and for outlaws) who speak from the heart!

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  2. "Sometimes—like every day—the food that isn’t food, the entertainment that’s not entertainment, the music that isn’t music, the literature that’s not literature, the supposed sex that’s not sex, the love that’s not love, the peace that is war, the pursuit of happiness that is hell, the vicious, narcotic lie of American culture can start to get ya down. "

    A quote I won't forget.

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  3. see what i mean...a wonderful, powerful soul....funny as hell, too...
    xjk

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  4. oh yeah I have been inspired...dead funny but with a soul...and balls...and some kind of genius humanity all his own...did you see the clip of him describing the worst gig he ever did at that bar in Louisiana where everyone was blind drunk and with guns?...xhk

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  5. Thanks, Betty and Dylan--prophets come in all forms, it seems!...

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  6. Three of Wisława Szymborska's best: "The End and the Beginning"; "Tortures"; and "True Love."

    True love. Is it normal
    is it serious, is it practical?
    What does the world get from two people
    who exist in a world of their own?

    Placed on the same pedestal for no good reason,
    drawn randomly from millions but convinced
    it had to happen this way – in reward for what?
    For nothing.
    The light descends from nowhere.
    Why on these two and not on others?
    Doesn’t this outrage justice? Yes it does.
    Doesn’t it disrupt our painstakingly erected principles,
    and cast the moral from the peak? Yes on both accounts.

    Look at the happy couple.
    Couldn’t they at least try to hide it,
    fake a little depression for their friends’ sake?
    Listen to them laughing – it’s an insult.
    The language they use – deceptively clear.
    And their little celebrations, rituals,
    the elaborate mutual routines –
    it’s obviously a plot behind the human race’s back!

    It’s hard even to guess how far things might go
    if people start to follow their example.
    What could religion and poetry count on?
    What would be remembered? What renounced?
    Who’d want to stay within bounds?

    True love. Is it really necessary?
    Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
    like a scandal in Life’s highest circles.
    Perfectly good children are born without its help.
    It couldn’t populate the planet in a million years,
    it comes along so rarely.

    Let the people who never find true love
    keep saying that there’s no such thing.

    Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.

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  7. The language posted in the video? Catholicism that is not Catholic.

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  8. Thank you. Because of this, I'm going to confession tomorrow. Clear out all that crap that's kept me from seeing things as they are.

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