I’ve been called Che, for better and worse. I’m taking it upon myself in this comparative essay to analyze my similarities with American comedian Bill Hicks. The video clip embedded below is the trailer for a documentary film created near two decades after his death in 1994.
I share Hicks’ vision of “saving the world” by eliminating fear from our individual lives. I don’t share his perspectives on immortality or the infinite-growth paradigm. I’m sure there are many other differences between us. And in this brief missive I’ll instead focus on our similarities.
My primary resemblance to Hicks, who was born in the early 1960s about two years after me, is in the realm of social criticism. Hicks used humor as his primary truth-telling, dominant-narrative-disrupting device. I use humor when my creative juices take me that way, but I’m hardly in the same league as the inimitable Hicks. My attempts at stand-up tragedy are pathetic relative to Hicks’ incomparable stand-up comedy.
As with Hicks, my professional career began at a young age. I wasn’t paid to perform at the age of 14, as he was, but my career began and ended at ages considered young within my chosen profession.
As with Hicks, I’m not timid. He was masterful at speaking his mind. As a result, he was heavily censored by mainstream institutions. And he didn’t censor himself in response. Neither do I.
As with Hicks, my views are supported by evidence and they are contrary to the views of people within a population purposely dumbed down and willfully ignorant. As with Hicks, I point out the absurdities in a culture characterized by absurdity. Consider a lengthy quote from Hicks about the jail cell of life in the United States: “There are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”
As with Hicks, I am often subject to personal attacks. A quote from Hicks is relevant, with my detractors in mind: “Here is my final point. About drugs, about alcohol, about pornography and smoking and everything else. What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take into my body – as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?”
As with Hicks, I freely speak my mind. As with Hicks, I am freer than most people in this culture. I’ve been off the culturally imposed treadmill for years.
As with Hicks, I love the country of my birth. As with Hicks, I detest the profoundly powerful minority pulling the strings of American Empire. As with Hicks, I am able to distinguish between a country and its people, and also between individuals and herds.
As with Hicks, I am routinely criticized for my work. As with Hicks, these critiques almost never include evidence.
Toward the end of his short life, Hicks worked very hard to transmit his message of love to as many people as possible. Perhaps this approach is familiar.
Obviously, I’m not Bill Hicks, and not merely because our talents are dissimilar. However, his final weeks provide inspiration for me as I pursue excellence and love.