Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Excerpted From Kathy Krajco's Blog

Facing Facts About NPD

Taken together, my last few posts make an important point:
  1. If people suffering from NPD can keep themselves from abusing when there would be witnesses, they can keep themselves from abusing when there wouldn't be witnesses. They just don't.
  2. By going to great lengths to abuse on the sly while portraying themselves to the outside world as the very antithesis of what they are, NPDs prove that they know that their behavior is wrong and shameful = something to hide.
  3. Most children of narcissists do NOT choose to imitate the parent who hurts them so and therefore do NOT become narcissists themselves.
This is why the courts (in the US) don't regard NPD as a defense. That's because it isn't insanity. The insane
  1. attack people in broad daylight, in front of God and everybody, like that tiger I mentioned in this previous post.
  2. are NOT cunning; they don't do evil on the sly; they don't cover up their true character with an impressive facade; they don't plan (premeditate) how to sneak around and get away with wrongdoing on the sly.
The insane show by the way they go about a crime that (a) they don't know what they're doing, (b) that they don't know it's wrong, something to hide and be ashamed of, and (c) that they can't control themselves to keep from doing it.

Does any of that fit the NPD modus operandi? No.

This is why NPD is legally a CHARACTER disorder, not a mental disorder that leaves a person free of responsibility for what he or she does.

In other words, NPD is NOT insanity. NPDs are twisted, not insane.

Are they then just evil?

Nobody needs anyone to tell them the answer to that question. Just follow simple logic: Add 2+2 = ?

NPDs don't do evil to do evil: they do it because it makes them feel good = because doing evil is like a drug, a pain killer.

So, we cannot get on a high horse of moral superiority, because we aren't tempted as they are. We don't have their predatory urges.

But that doesn't mean that we should close our eyes to what they are. If hurting others makes you feel good, you like hurting others. Sorry, there's just no getting around that.

If you want to hurt others, you're malevolent. Sorry, there's just no getting around that.

It's DANGEROUS to be in denial of these facts. Dangerous to regard NPDs as people of goodwill, as suffering victims who can't help it.

That just plays right into their hands. That's what they want -- for you to be a sucker and feel sorry for them. To make excuses for them. To assign them a lower set of standards to live up to.

There's a sucker born every minute. Before you know it, they have you regarding THEM as the victim, feeling sorry for THEM instead of their victims. All hell must be laughing their heads off at this joke. What a travesty of justice. What a perversion of Truth.

It's a false choice -- that suggested choice between hating them and sympathizing with them. The sensible choice is simply to regard them as what they are: predators. In other words, STAY AWAY FROM THEM. NEVER TRUST THEM. AND DON'T GO INTO THEIR CAGE.
If you lie, you are a liar. If you kill, you are a killer. We are the sum total of what our CHOICES to date have made us. Narcissists too are the sum total of what their choices to date have made them. Adult narcissists have passed the point of no return long ago.

Perhaps some day psychiatrists will learn some way to help them pay the toll to that demon at the door, so narcissists can return to the human way of life. Let us hope for that day, but let us not, in the meantime, be dangerously naive.


Are Narcissists Evil?

Some, including narcissists and politically correct social workers, protest plain talk about narcissists and claim that they are not evil. Even Sam Vaknin does this, and he makes no excuses for narcissists. In fact, in several of his writings, he admits in one breath that “some” are sadists and then tries to tell us that narcissists are not evil in the next breath.

I’m not afraid to know a lie when I hear one, but I see no reason to think that he is lying when he says this. I think he is just failing to be completely honest with himself. Which is perfectly understandable, because EVERY person’s most prized possession is their self concept of themselves as an essentially good person. No one can bear the thought of being inherently evil. Here I mention a narcissist who told me she contemplated suicide when confronted with the fear of being inherently evil, saying that she would have been one of those suicides “who doesn’t even leave a note.”

So, I don’t blame narcissists for denying that they are evil. No one must condemn himself. Ever. No matter what.

And though I disagree, I think Vaknin makes a valid and important point here – a distinction that we all should recognize.

First, where I disagree.

As I often say, I am convinced that the only rein on a narcissist’s behavior is what he thinks he can get away with. So he will be as sadistic as he can. All are sadistic then, but only some are sadistic all the time, and most are sadistic some of the time.

Also, if you hurt others because hurting others makes you feel good, youlike hurting others. Sorry, there’s just no getting around that. Trying to makes as much sense as trying to say that you don't like eating steak, you just eat steak because it tastes yummy. Sorry, that means you LIKE eating steak.

And, to LIKE hurting others is wickedness, malignance, malice, malevolence. No matter what other euphemistic name you prefer to cloak it with.

BUT, Vaknin is correct in viewing the narcissist as inconsistent with our image of “evil beings.” The mythology of the devil portrays him as a being who loves evil and does evil for it’s own sake. Just to do evil.

This is an understandable error, because the (truly) good love goodness for its own sake and do good just to do good, for its own sake. Naturally then, we just take the flip-side of that coin and apply to our image of the Evil One.


First, there is no such thing as the devil. It’s a symbol for something. Ill will. It is not some other kind of being from an eternal realm, a bodiless PERSON. It is the malevolence in some people.

Since it is the product of human nature gone awry, at bottom it is LIKE human nature. It differs ABOVE the root, not at its root.

Narcissists don’t love evil. They don’t do evil for its own sake. Which is why they don’t ALWAYS choose evil. Sometimes they advance their plan by choosing to do good for the wrong reasons. They do what they do because it makes them feel good. They are people in pain, and Narcissistic Supply (various forms of attention) are like a pain-killing drug to them. They must have it all. Like any addict who can’t get enough of his or her pain-killing drug, the narcissist will attack you and steal any you have.

That’s all. It may seem like splitting hairs, but there is a difference. They don’t hurt you just to hurt you: they hurt you because they like hurting you = hurting you makes them feel good.

The worse they hurt you, the better they feel, so they are sadistic.

I say that makes them evil. BUT, I also say that this should teach us an important lesson about evil.

Nobody does evil just to do evil. Nobody loves evil. Nobody does it for its own sake. Indeed, this is why the narcissist can’t face the facts about his conduct. He hates evil as much as anyone does. So he lives in denial of the evil he does, in deniel of the sickness/malignance within him. For, he too has brought up in the belief that the evil are inherently evil because they love evil and do it for its own sake. The dread of knowing himself as THAT is what compells him to malignantly narcissistic behavior.

But both he and we are WRONG. Narcissists are NOT inherently or essentially evil. No one is. They just make themselves evil by choosing to do evil, disregarding the consequences to others. Like selfish three-year-olds. Like us, they are the sum-total of all their life’s choices to date. So, they can become un-evil by making a 180-degree turn and living the other way.

Which will cost them each an arm and a leg, and Vaknin explains whyhere. Yet theoretically, it can be done. And perhaps the first step is to realize that this doesn't make them INHERENTLY evil. Not any more than stomping people makes them INHERENTLY superior.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Murry Wilson: Narcissist dickhead

Beach Boys aficionados are already familiar with the sadistic child-rearing methods employed byMurry Wilson, sire of the famed surf-pop-experimental-beardo band. Murry was a songsmith himself, albeit a far less successful one, a fact that drove a bizarre and irrational competition with his own sons — especially Brian, the brilliant architect of the band’s sound.
Rumor has it that BW is half deaf due to Murry boxing one of his ears during a fit of rage. He regularly beat the shit out of Dennis and humiliated Carl. Perhaps the only thing he ever did for his sons was secure them a record deal with Capitol, a fact that he lorded over them for the rest of his embittered life. Eventually, the Wilson boys got so tired of his abuse that they sacked him, the guilt over which surely contributed Brian’s subsequent mental decline.
Proof of Murry’s arrogance and cruelty can be heard on a number of Beach Boys studio outtakes, where he belittles Brian even as the young composer was crafting some of the most indelible music of the 20th century. Brian himself has spoken about his father’s abusiveness, and a plethora of Beach Boys biographies testify to the physical and emotional scars he visited upon his progeny.
Now, there’s a brand-new example of Murry’s dickheadishness. A letter has surfaced in which the elder Wilson reveals just how cold-blooded and delusional he could be. Why do the boys hold him at an arm’s distance? It’s everybody’s fault but his own — his wife AudreyMike LoveDavid Marks,Gary Usher… the list of anti-Murry conspirators goes on and on.

The letter was written just a few months before Brian set out to record what is arguably the band’s masterpiece, Pet Sounds.
May 8, 1965
Mr. Brian Wilson
1047 N. Gardener
Hollywood, California
Dear Brian:
Your mother and I are leaving with Carl and Gwen for a twenty day trip of Europe, and confidentially, because Carl is not a well man, we are taking them on this trip with us to give both Carl and Gwen a little more happiness, because we fear something might happen to Carl within the next two or three years. Under NO circumstances, ever mention to Shirley, Gwen or any of his family of our fears.
Both Gwen and Carl told us that all three of our sons thought their house is wonderful now and I am very proud of the job I did in supervising and helping to design their remodeling. Actually it was a fairly easy job.
Now to the point of this letter; it has become very apparent to me that our family can no longer exist under the worrisome and trying conditions that have been going on for the last five or six years, and I think the time has come for us all to face facts straight in the eye. As long as I can remember, we had a code of honor in the family regarding my sons: First, I tried to teach all of you never to be greedy or dishonest with anyone and be generous with each other. Second, if anyone ever approached any of my children with pills, bennies or dope of any kind, to run away from them, not just walk away. Thirdly, you were all told that if anything ever happened to me that I hoped you would take care of your mother.
Brian you were a wonderful young boy and regardless of what you may think, I gave you very much love and I idolized you as a baby. You can never know how many hundreds of times I picked you up and kissed you and carried you on my shoulders, sang to you and taught you words, songs and so many things because you were a baby. I can remember giving all three of my sons love in many forms and actually, when I was strict from time to time, it was because I felt it was my duty as a father to give you the security a punishment gives. As boys grow into the adolescent time of their life, their brain tells them when they have done something wrong, and, believe it or not, children are sometimes disappointed when they are not punished because their brain tells them right from wrong.
The fact that your Grandmother Betty did not love your Grandfather Carl Korthoff as the normal wife does caused her to transfer her great love to her children and this is the reason your Mother and your Uncle Carl loved her so much because they could do no wrong. It is time now to tell you that your Grandfather Carl was a very frustrated and unhappy man the last five years of his life because he knew fifteen years before that his wife didn’t truly love him and I pitied this man because although Betty was a wonderful woman, she was not woman enough to leave him just because she was afraid Audree and Carl would suffer financially.
Now, in our own family, years later, we had three lovely sons and little by little it was only natural for my wife to automatically transfer a lot of her love from her husband to her sons because her own mother did the same thing; and to complicate matters, she resented authority in me of any kind because when her own father showed authority, she resented him. Audree also resented interference of her own father against her brother, who was treated like a dog when he became old enough as a young man to have his own father become jealous of him. In other words, Brian, all your Grandfather Korthoff saw in his own family was that Betty, Audree and Carl loved each other so very much he was always on the outside, and although he was a very smart man he was grieving and the only way he could fight back was to show his authority against Carl, and on occasion, your mother.
Now it may be very hard for you to understand how your mother could be affected by this love transfer to herself and her brother and how it could affect her own family years later, but if you will recall back many years, you will remember that when I gave an order for my sons to do a job, even though my wife didn’t actually say something against me, the look of resentment against authority was there….. and if you will ask any psychologist about this, you will see that over a period of 15 to 17 years, looks of anger accompanied by swear words and degrading remarks to a father in front of his children while he is trying to do his job as a leader of the household, would render two automatic emotions to the children’s brains: 1) that they would agree with the mother and would have resentment against the father; 2) it would make the child think that although he may have done wrong himself, the fact that the mother and children were in complete rapport in their resentment and rebellion made the act which they had committed wrongly almost right in their minds and this second emotion is the undoing of the love, direction and teaching which I always tried to convey to my sons.
I guess the third major factor which caused a loss of feeling in the family from sons to their father was that my wife could only remember how kind her mother was, and although Audree did not realize what she was doing, she was trying to raise you boys almost like girls, just as she was raised by her mother, and, although from time to time she took a coat hanger to you boys or bawled you out when you did something she felt was wrong, none of her correction really meant a lot or was too effective because you could only compare the more strict punishment I could render as a stronger human being, such as spanks on the bottom and, on occasion, more violent punishment and severe tongue lashings. It is hard for me to explain, Brian, but I was powerless to cope with this situation and I was so much in love with my wife and adored her so much that I could not begin to undo intelligently the damage that was taking place in my own family. No matter how you weigh it, parental difference of opinion in raising children can only leave marks on the children in one way or another and when you have three completely different personalities in children, this even complicates matters more.
Maybe now you can begin to understand that the last seven years has been almost a living hell for me and although I have wanted to give up completely on two separate occasions, something told me to hang on and keep trying because I felt my sons were worth it. I believe I could have achieved part of the undoing of this unwholesome situation in our family when you all reached the ages of 17 or 18, but we found ourselves thrown into this vicious music business together. Instead of having a beautiful thing develop, money, and security of money began to change you so much that this and your first achievements as a songwriter, accompanied by the phony praises of Gary Usher, Lew Adler, Kirschner and countless other (Hollywood) people began to change you so much, in my opinion, that I could no longer reach you, and your natural resentment against me which had been building up through things mentioned before in this letter, became magnified to the point where you acted like you hated me on many occasions.
I can understand part of your becoming a man to give your father a bad time on some things, but not in your basic belief that you and Kent Lent agreed on that it was the smart way to use people and to not work if you could get by by outsmarting people and using finesse. As you will recall, I have always tried to be a honest man in business and I have made it almost an obsession never to cheat anyone in a business deal, and although I know you have told many, many people in Hollywood that I am an honest man and never to worry about me in a business deal, I have seen you take the opposite point of view and try to do it the “cool” way. The fact that you have told me on several occasions that you have to be ‘dishonest’ in business to get the big money never ceases to hurt and frighten me and my only hope to God is that you are not so far gone but what you can realign your thinking as to your business practics and the uses of deception, which you know in your heart you have used on many occasions, not only against your father but your own brothers as well.
I do not have to relate all of them, but you have broken contracts with me in the Sea of Tunes Publishing Company by giving songs to Kirschner’s Alden group. You have recorded on Jan and Dean’s record which was an absolutely treacherous act against not only your employers but the welfare of your family financially; but more important, the combined integrity of The Beach Boys group itself. Now you may not think this is important but if you have no conscience about anyone else’s feelings or that you don’t care if your actions will hurt them, then I would suggest that you consult not only an attorney with some morals but also a psychiatrist and try to unravel your thinking in these areas.
In other words, Brian, the whole concept of my teaching my sons honesty in business was to try to make good men out of all of you, and I can’t begin to remember the hundreds of times I was interfered with by my wife when I tried to make you all see the point I was trying to make; but I do know one thing, I can hold up my head in Hollywood and all over the world in the music as well as machinery business and you can’t. No matter how many hit songs you write or how many hundreds of thousands of dollars you may earn, you will find when you finish this short cycle of Beach Boy success that you didn’t do it honestly and for this reason you are going to suffer remorse. I have been trying to fight you on every act of what I thought was not honest to protect you from yourself some five or seven years later; because I knew that when competition hit you between the eyes that you would not be able to cope with this vicious competition, regardless of how talented you are, because you got so much much too fast and the fact that you used your own father and then threw him away when you thought you didn’t need him will come back into your mind over and over again.
The way things are shaping up now, The Beach Boys cannot go on and on because cycles of music change as well as fads, like The Beatles, Presleys, etc., but the fact that my sons’ singing your beautiful ballads and very catchy novelty songs can sustain you in this business over a longer period, and because you know this, you have used this extraordinary harmony talent and your great song writing ability as a tool towards your own ends. I mean specifically that when you found out that The Beach Boy image and success was on its way you began to listen to phonies who said that The Beach Boys needed you and that you didn’t need them (meaning your own brothers)… the fact that I was included as your guiding factor and manager didn’t mean much to you either, and if you don’t think this hurts to know that your son would abandon not only his brothers but his father as well, then you are completely mistaken.
I didn’t mind so terribly much when you left our home to get an apartment, but the fact that you were ready to hit me in front of Gary Usher, when my wife and I were trying to get rid of Gary Usher and his evil influence on our family, did cause much hurt because you left fighting against your own family for the benefit of Mr. Usher and to his purposes and to your own selfish purposes and which you and Gary were scheming out. You may have forgotten how Gary told you I was a square and didn’t know what I was doing and that you didn’t have to listen to me, besides countless other derogatory remarks made by other people such as Bob Norman, Jan Berry and the whole bunch. How you can be so gullible when you know right from wrong is beyond my imagination, and over the past three years I believe I have spelled out every phony, pitfall and wrong doing that could come from any one of The Beach Boys’ making foolhardy mistakes. I don’t believe I have to go too far into the Loren Schwartz bit because the proof of my estimation of this man’s character and ability spoke for itself. In other words, you would rather take the word of anyone against your father because you were taught to do this in your very early years as a young boy, hearing your mother tell me I was wrong in front of you, so I do understand what has caused some of your thinking.
Knowing how intelligent you are and how fertile your mind is, I know that you have come into almost an automatic way of thinking that you can succeed in life by taking the easy route or the “cool” way and I state flatly that you may get away with it financially, but you can’t escape the eventual understanding that will come to you as a forty year old man that you are and were wrong.
I cannot believe that such a beautiful young boy, who was kind, loving, received good grades in school and had so many versatile talents, could become so obsessed to prove that he was better than his father. I can tell you, although I am strong in many areas and consider myself fairly competent in not one area of music but in countless other fields as well, that I have something between my ears besides vacant air and I am proud of the job I did with my sons as their manager and guiding force, although I know I was wrong in my approach, but there again, what the hell could I do when my own wife, Mrs. Joanne Marks, Mike Love and a bunch of phonies that kept coming out of the walls would trick you all into thinking I was a mean man.
I am over the big hurt of losing my three sons as a manager for their benefit and good fortune, but I am not over the fact that I have lost my three sons’ love, and I mean real love, because you are all in a distorted world of screams, cheers and financial success. The money will not mean a damn thing to any of my sons if they are not happy when the job is done and it is a sad thing for three young beautiful sons to place their life’s success on the success of a record album or a 45 RPM disc or to how successful they are in the eyes of the music world from how many seats they sell in a live concert. I hope to God that you and your brothers review your thinking now before it is too late, because only more damage can arise from this temporary, fleeting image of success known as The Beach Boys. Try to get back to fundamental thinking of honestly and try to treat your careers as a job and not a way of life. Forget that you are trying to become the greatest producer and greatest songwriter for the benefit of the phonies. Make this achievement for your own personal satisfaction and have pride when you do an honest job.
If you will recall, I didn’t mind when you took practically all of the credit for the mixing and the productions for the first two years, but I know now it was wrong because you started to believe that you did it all single-handed. You forgot all the wonderful suggestions Carl made along with those of your mother, Dennis and myself. It was an easy thing for me to learn how to mix you guys because I knew the strong points of each of you as well as your weak points., and coupled with the natural music ability, if you can call it that, that I have, I know I did a good job and I have yet to have a son come up to me and kiss me with an honest emotion for doing many, many good recordings – and you may well believe that this is a slap in the face.
When you think of how you and Gary conned me out of a recording session and let me pay your bills, not only for that series of deals, but paying for studio time while you were experimenting with other artists, using my advice and on occasion my mixing ability, etc., you may begin to understand that it does hurt a father when his son conspired with weak people against his own father, and although I was delighted to be part of your growing success and to be around to see you develop into a great talent, I was grieving inwardly because I knew you were doing it the wrong way (the weak way). You must not listen to the phonies if you expect to become an honest man.
I tried to counsel your cousin but he was a problem child and got into trouble while in High school, later on with his first wife and by the grace of God, no bad publicity got into the papers until the paternity suit thing. I am proud that my son, Dennis, reminded you all in front of Mike that I predicted he was trouble and would be disgracing all of us if he continued to go his way. I can understand how five young men could become rebellious because everyone resents authority, including myself, but when five young men are so damned dumb in business at the start of their careers and will still give an experienced business man nothing but trouble from the word go, it is almost unbelievable, and although we did achieve a lot of good things together, the hurt that comes from knowing that most of this was achieved under duress of threats, punitive measures and arguments is almost disgusting and I say honestly that my intent was pure and honest, and I handled myself in all facets of your careers so as to set an example of honestly as a figurehead, and not one of The Beach Boys can say that they always acted in honest endeavor and in good faith, as much as I did.
In other words, we all goofed, each in our own way, but I didn’t do anything dishonest and I don’t think that any of you can match my achievement in business experience and business practices, at this point of your lives.
The financial success and achievement of the Beach Boys’ vocal group as given each and every one of its members a sense of false security and it has given vent for each member, in his own way, to take pre-calculated risks and on many occasions where if two or three of these premeditated risks were taken got into the papers and trades, this gigantic business deal could have gone down the drain. I am referring, of course, to such things as statutory rape, drinking, lacsivious conduct on the part of one of the members, which I can prove, along with one or two more vilations of the law which could be construed as felonies by a judge in a court of law. Dennis has done his share of things which have made me tremble from time to time and he has taken advantage of his position in the business with no regard to the out come of his actions to please his own personal self and to his satisfaction. I state firmly and finally now that I will not now or ever go along with the thinking of my sons along these lines and I am worried that a continuance of this mockery in handling your lives and careers can only end in personality disasters, one way or the other, not to mention the character of each and every young man, who ever he may be. The simple fact is that we all have to face up eventually to our mistakes and when this time comes, each and every one of you will become men.
Brian, your mother and I are growing further apart and a beautiful thing is becoming destroyed, and though she is a very wonderful woman, she is weak in her way because she loves you all so much and cannot bring herself, after all these years of siding with her babies, to do the right thing and really lay down the law to you fellows on the honesty and character bit. Although she knows you are all three wrong in the way you do things from time to time, she cannot face up to anyone of you now because she has given up; and she is afraid to lose your love and you cannot blame her. The fact that my wife and I are growing apart may not be a great concern to you as a human being, but it is a sad thing for me and with all of the memories, both good and bad, about my family of which I have been so proud, I have come to the final decision that all three of my sons should immediately be taken out of the music business to salvage the rest of their lives, and although this may be against the thinking of your employers, your attorneys and yourselves, you had no right collectively, or individually, to handle yourselves in the manner in which you have so boldly done, and you don’t have the right individually to castigate anybody else for your own wrong doings.
I believe the best thing is for you all to have a serious talk in front of your own attorneys and explain the terrible things that have taken place, and then when I return from Europe we will have a general meeting, with your attorneys and three whom I have employed to give you all the facts of life; and I believe when this meeting is finished the attorneys will all concur that it would be the best thing for you all to dissolve yourselves as a group because the temptations are too great for young men who will not take honest direction and who have boldly flaunted the laws of the land in one way or the other, and this is indeed a sad thing because the talent is so great and the achievements have been so wonderful.
I want you all to know that I loved you as my sons and still do, but I am absolutely crushed to think that it would all turn out the way it did and I do not say that it is all your fault – I know I failed my sons many, many times and couldn’t spend time with them in their earlier stages of life when I wanted to, but it is pretty rough to run a vicious machinery business against millionaires and try to form your son’s character and their sense of respect in front of a woman, wonderful in so very many ways, who could not face up to her real roll of responsibility as a parent.
I have protected your income tax payment for the year of 1964, and I am paying a sizable amount for doing this, but now I must see that you are paid in full sometime this year. I have been trying to prevent Capitol from paying the Sea of Tunes Publishing Company the fortune owing to yourself so that you would not be penalized by the income tax bracket you have achieved. My books are going to be audited by CPA’s and I expect to pay you, after the audit and after receipt of funds from Capitol Records, approximately $276,000 and I am proud to turn over these funds to you as a tribute to your great talent, and if I should die by accident prior to this audit, I would ask that you, as my eldest son, obtain the audit from my legal records and see that you are paid.
Always be honest from now on in business, regardless of what business you may be in, and I now ask that after our legal meeting, which should take place in about thirty days, that we disassociate ourselves in any form of business together, such as artist and publisher, etc., because we can no longer work together in a truly honest father and son relationship, and I release you now completely as a young business man in this respect only; and ask that you answer now for all your own mistakes and do not now or forever complicate my honest business practices and life by your breaking legal contracts with me or anybody else.
Please try to understand that all I tried to do was make you all honest men, and instead of hating me for it, I ask that you all try to search your own hearts once in a while and try to be better.
After this  harangue of calling Brian Wilson a talentless hack with no future Wilson went on to write and record pet sounds 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dangerously Sensitive..... Another kick ass piece by Jim Goad.

Dangerously Sensitive

Dangerously Sensitive
Political correctness, that great misguided ennobler/enabler of disgruntled losers and embittered misfits, may have helped pave the way for Bradley Manning and Nidal Hasan to achieve infamy.
Before his decision to start leaking highly sensitive military information to svelte albino panda cub Julian Assange in 2010, Bradley Manning gave his Army superiors every reason to suspect he was a mentally unstable and potentially violent homosexual who was perhaps too emotionally hypersensitive to be trusted with highly sensitive documents.
Before he decided to blow away a baker’s dozen (plus a bun in the oven) with two handguns at Fort Hood in late 2009, Nidal Hasan gave his Army superiors every reason to suspect he was a jihadist turncoat gunning for his 72 virgins because he had trouble getting laid.
(Full disclosure: Not for a moment have I approved of the US military’s foolhardy forays into the Middle East. If I had my druthers, I’d bring all the boys—and they’d all be boys, meaning no girls and definitely no boys who suddenly decide that they’re girls—home to guard the true national-security threat, the one along the Mexican border. Before any of you perpetually sour-pussed pea-picking peckerwoods in the peanut gallery start grousing that I’m some sort of neocon, allow me to sternly instruct you that it’s possible to simultaneously disapprove of Islam and Zionism. It is also possible to deplore American military expansionism while being concerned about the fact that bullied loners and cultural outcasts lurking within the armed forces can throw tantrums and endanger American lives because people are terrified of calling them fags and/or ragheads.)

It appears beyond question that inadequate screening and culturally masochistic Islamo-tolerance allowed Nidal Hasan to claim American lives. Whether you view Bradley Manning as a hero or a heel is largely a matter of taste, but on August 14, he claimed his actions led to “unintended consequences” and had “hurt people.” That comes straight from the little sparkle pony’s thin lips.
By the way, his name is Bradley Manning, and he’s a guy. To claim he’s suddenly a chick is to deny biological reality. Last Thursday, the day after being sentenced to a 35-year prison bid, Manning issued a statement containing the following gems:
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female….I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun….
NO, dude. And as a preemptive strike, I also rule out the possibility of ever calling you Bradley Womanning.
Still, several major news outlets immediately swapped out “he” for “she” and “his” for “her.” If you type “Bradley Manning” in Wikipedia’s search box, it redirects you to a page for “Chelsea Manning” that features such head-scratching passages of abject reality-denial as this one:
Manning was by then living as an openly gay man. Her relationship with her father was apparently good….
Long before he was deployed to Iraq and divulged a flood of state secrets, Manning revealed himself to be quite the fragile orchid. When he was 13, his stepmother reportedly observed him running into walls and declaring, “I’m nobody now.” In 2006 he allegedly threatened her with a knife. In August 2009 he was referred to Army mental-health counselors after reportedly crying for hours after watching the films The Last King of Scotland and Dancer in the Dark—a sure sign of mental instability by any objective standard.
In 2009, two months after being sent to Iraq with a security clearance, Manning angrily flipped over a table during a counseling session, damaging a computer. During this hissy-fit, he had to be restrained by another soldier from grabbing a gun from a nearby gun rack and was dragged out of the room. Still, his security clearance remained intact.
Before he started blowing whistles, Bradley Manning was obviously blowing other things. Despite the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that was in effect at the time, Manning was apparently telling everyone who’d listen that he was gay. Perhaps even though Manning was eager to “tell,” no one wanted to risk the appearance of having asked. He reportedly told his roommate he was gay, at which point his roommate allegedly instructed Manning to stop talking to him. Manning divulged the ins and outs of a failed gay relationship on Facebook. He was even said to have kept a fairy wand at his desk. At a pre-trial hearing, Army officials claimed they were fully aware that Manning had also created a female alter ego he called “Breanna Manning.”
On May 7, 2010 he was found in a cupboard, curled in a fetal position, a knife at his feet after having sliced the words “I WANT” into a vinyl chair. A few hours later, he punched another soldier in the face. Through it all, his security clearance was not revoked. And despite being as obviously gay as a pair of white-leather girl’s ice skates whose glimmering blades are lubed with K-Y Jelly, he was not discharged as the rules would have demanded.
It is unclear whether this was all due to basic military incompetence or an increasingly pervasive phobia about being labeled homophobic. But in the case of Nidal Hasan, the evidence strongly suggests that a fear of being deemed afraid of Islam enabled him to anoint himself a mujahideen and go on a shooting spree.
Hasan was a solitary worm burrowing deep inside a military-industrial apple that refused to stop him for fear of being deemed wormophobic. Despite raising more red flags than a May Day demonstration, he was allowed to operate unimpeded.
There was the PowerPoint demonstration he gave to fellow soldiers that appeared to justify suicide bombings and contained the line “We love death more then [sic] you love life!” There were email exchanges with Anwar Al-Alwaki of which the FBI was fully aware but insufficiently concerned. There were repeated statements to other classmates that gave the impression he felt sharia law superseded the US Constitution. There were public pledges of allegiance to the Koran as he stood in Army uniform. There were classmates who described him as a “ticking time bomb” and a colleague who claimed that no one complained for fear of appearing bigoted. There was his “Allah is Love” bumper sticker and the business cards he handed out that used an acronym to describe himself as a “Soldier of Allah.”
And then there was the shout of “Allahu Akbar!” and an ensuing bloodbath.
Stepping on over a dozen corpses, General George Casey infamously said he feared that “it would be a greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.” And despite Hasan’s claim that he went on a rampage to defend the Taliban, the government defined his act as “workplace violence” rather than terrorism.
In its multifariously deluded manifestations, political correctness denies reality and often inverts it. But it is never more dangerous than when it enables physical harm to the masses in the service of preventing emotional harm to the few.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Second Wind of the Cuckold.

I found a dialogue between a fictitious author and his "critic" that really captures the mindless and humorless exchange one finds oneself in after about three volleys in with an anonymous troll. And demonstrates why I have discontinued their ability to shit my blog and use it for toilet paper to facilitate their post shit clean up.  This is from John Irving's "The World According to Garp".  And Mister Irving?  if you find my unauthorized use of your writing....write your cease and desist on a 8 by 10 head shot and address it to Doug @ The Rumble-strip, and it will be removed in record time.

Then Garp got some hate mail of his own. He was addressed in a lively letter by someone who took offense at Second Wind of the Cuckold. It was not a blind, stuttering, spastic farter - as you might imagine - either. It was just what Garp needed to get himself out of his slump.
Dear Shithead,
[wrote the offended party]
I have read your novel. You seem to find other people's problems very funny. I have seen your pictures. With your fat head of hair I suppose you can laugh at bald persons. And in your cruel book you laugh at people who can't have orgasms, and people who aren't blessed with happy marriages, and people whose wives and husbands are unfaithful to each other. You ought to know that persons who have these problems do not think everything is so funny. Look at the world, shithead - it is a bed of pain, people suffering and nobody believing in God or bringing their children up right. You shithead, you don't have any problems so you can make fun of the poor people who do!
Yours sincerely,
(Mrs.) I. B. Poole
Findlay, Ohio
That letter stung Garp like a slap; rarely had he felt so importantly misunderstood. Why did people insist that if you were "comic" you couldn't also be "serious"? Garp felt most people confused being profound with being sober, being earnest with being deep. Apparently, if you sounded serious, you were. Presumably, other animals could not laugh at themselves, and Garp believed that laughter was related to sympathy, which we were always needing more of. He had been, after all, a humorless child - and never religious - so perhaps he now took comedy more seriously than others.
But for Garp to see his vision interpreted as making fun of people was painful to him; and to realize that his art had made him appear cruel gave Garp a keen sense of failure. Very carefully, as if he were speakingto a potential suicide high up in a foreign and unfamiliar hotel, Garp wrote to his reader in Findlay, Ohio
Dear Mrs. Poole:
The world is a bed of pain, people suffer terribly, few of us believe in God or bring up our children very well; you're right about that. It is also true that people who have problems do not, as a rule, think their problems are "funny".
Horace Walpole once said that the world is comic to those who think and tragic to those who feel. I hope you'll agree with me that Horace Walpole somewhat simplifies the world by saying this. Surely both of us think 
and feel; in regard to what's comic and what's tragic, Mrs. Poole, the world is all mixed up. For this reason I have never understood why "serious" and "funny" are thought to be opposites. It is simply a truthful contradiction to me that people's problems are often funny and that the people are often and nonetheless sad.
I am ashamed, however, that you think I am laughing at people, or making fun of them. I take people very seriously. People are all I take seriously, in fact. Therefore, I have nothing but sympathy for how people behave - and nothing but laughter to console them.
Laughter is my religion, Mrs. Poole. In the manner of most religions, I admit that my laughter is pretty desperate. I want to tell you a little story to illustrate what I mean. The story takes place in Bombay, India, where many people starve to death every day; but not all the people in Bombay are starving.
And among the nonstarving population of Bombay, India, there was a wedding, and a party was thrown in honor of the bride and groom. Some of the wedding guests brought elephants to the party. They weren't really conscious of showing off, they were just using the elephants for transportation. Although it might strike us as a big-shot way to travel around, I don't think these wedding guests saw themselves that way. Most of the were probably not directly responsible for the vast numbers of their fellow Indians who were starving all around them; most of them were just calling "time out" from their own problems, and the problems of the world, to celebrate the wedding of a friend. But if 
you were a member of the starving Indians, and you hobbled past that wedding party and saw all those elephants parked outside, you probably would have felt some disgruntlement.
Furthermore, some of the revelers at the wedding got drunk and began feeding beer to their elephant. They emptied an ice bucket and filled it with beer, and they went tittering out to the parking lot and fed their hot elephant the whole bucket. The elephant liked it. So the revelers gave him several more buckets of beer.
Who knows how beer will affect an elephant? These people meant no harm, they were just having fun - and chances are fairly good that the rest of their lives weren't one hundred percent fun. They probably needed this party. But the people were also being stupid and irresponsible.
If one of those many starving Indians had dragged himself through the parking lot and seen these drunken wedding guests filling up an elephant with beer, I'll bet he would have felt resentful. But I hope you see I am not making 
fun of anyone.
What happens next is that the drunken revelers are asked to 
leave the party because their behavior with their elephant is obnoxious to the other wedding guests. No one can blame the other guests for feeling this way; some of them may have actually thought they were preventing things from getting "out of hand," although people have never been very successful at preventing this.
Huffy and brave with beer, the revelers struggled up on their elephant and veered away from the parking lot - a large exhibition of happiness, surely - bumping into a few other elephants and things because the revelers' elephant plowed from side to side in a lumbering wooze, bleary and bloated with buckets of beer. His trunk lashed back and forth like a badly fastened artificial limb. The great beast was so unsteady that he struck an electric utility pole, shearing it cleanly and bringing down the live wires on his massive head - which killed him, and the wedding guests who were riding him, instantly.
Mrs. Poole, please believe me: I don't think that's "funny." But along comes one of those starving Indians. He sees all the wedding guests mourning the death of their friends, and their friends' elephant; much wailing, rending of fine clothes, spilling of good food and drink. The first thing he does is to take the opportunity to slip into the wedding while the guests are distracted and steal a little good food and drink for his starving family. The second thing he does is start to laugh himself sick about the manner in which the revelers disposed of themselves and their elephant. Alongside death by starvation, this method of enormous dying must seem very funny, or at least quick, to the undernourished Indian. But the wedding guests don't see it that way. It is already a tragedy to them; they are already talking about "this tragic event," and although they could perhaps forgive the presence of a "mangy beggar" at their party - and even have tolerated his stealing their food - they cannot forgive him for 
laughing at their dead friends' elephant.
The wedding guests - outraged at the beggar's behavior (at his 
laughter, not his thievery and not his rags) - drown him in one of the beer buckets that the late revelers used to water their elephant. They construed this to represent "justice". We see that the story is about the class struggle - and, of course, "serious", after all. But I like to consider it a comedy about a natural disaster: they are just people rather foolishly attempting to "take charge" of a situation whose complexity is beyond them - a situation compsed of eternal and trivial parts. After all, with something as large as an elephant, it could have been much worse.
I hope, Mrs. Poole, that I have made what I mean clearer to you. In any case, I thank you for taking the time to write to me, because I appreciate hearing from my audience - even critically.
Yours truly,
Garp was an expressive man. He made everything baroque, he believed in exaggeration; his fiction was also extremist. Garp never forgot his failure with Mrs. Poole; she worried him, often, and her reply to his pompous letter must have upset him even further.
Dear Mr. Garp,[Mrs. Poole replied]
I never thought you would take the trouble to write me a letter. You must be a sick man. I can see by your letter that you believe in yourself, and I guess that's good. But the things you say are mostly garbage and nonsense to me, and I don't want you to try to explain anything to me again, because it is boring and insulting to my intelligence.
Irene Poole
Garp was, like his beliefs, self-contradictory. He was very generous with other people, but he was horribly impatient. He set his own standards for how much of his time and patience everyone deserved. He could be painstakingly sweet, until he decided he'd been sweet enough. Then he turned and came roaring back the other way.
Dear Irene,[Garp wrote to Mrs. Poole]
You should either stop trying to read books, or you should try a lot harder.
Dear Shithead,[wrote Irene Poole]
My husband says that if you write to me again, he'll beat your brains into pulp.
Very sincerely,
Mrs. Fitz Poole
Dear Fitzy and Irene,[Garp shot right back]
Fuck you.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bill Hicks. Still Dead.

Bill Hicks is Dead was co-opted (which is a polite way of saying  copied) from the British zine linked below. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I shot past flattery and I am boning this writer .... hard.   JoshSaitz @gmail.com   Josh......I tried to e-mail you for permission but it bounced back.  I  want to spread the word on Hicks and keep his memory alive. You did it so well I would feel remiss trying to remake the wheel you so ably invented.


Bill Hicks is dead. Why not begin at the beginning? Oh, I see. Death is the end, you say. Is that right? Well, if he’s dead, it’s certainly implied that at some point he was alive. You can debate whether there’s life after death, but if there’s a death, there must’ve been a life. But no matter how you feel about this argument, Bill Hicks is dead. There’s nothing anyone can do to change that, so I won’t even discuss it. It’s obvious. Dead people get tributes, and this is a tribute to Bill Hicks. And he’s dead.

Bill Hicks was a stand-up comedian from Texas. Does that tell you something you didn't know? Probably not. Bill Hicks is one of only two performers in my life who has never let me down. And because he’s dead, he never will. I mean, unless it surfaces that Bill was secretly into Jesus and was lying about everything he believed in, which isn't likely. And even if that was the case, I figure he has done enough to advance the unpopular opinion that religion is a sick, evil fraud that it will immediately nullify any of his secret motives. But I know, and you know, that he meant every motherfucking word, and that’s why I love him.

When I heard he had died, I was really depressed. I mean, I never even knew he was sick. It seemed like the world was very much as Dr. Eldon Tyrell explained it in Blade Runner—the light that burns twice as brightly burns half as long, and Bill Hicks burned so very, very brightly.

He died when he was just thirty-two years old, leaving behind a legacy and a body of work that is both awesome and cautionary. Awesome, because his words and ideas still resonate in my head and in this zine, and as long as I publish, I will be carrying a torch for his ideals. I know his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of thousands of people who were touched by him. His body of work, while certainly not overwhelming, was sufficient to leave a meaningful and enduring personal statement. I would also like to think that his death prodded me to start doing this zine because like Bill, I have a lot of unpopular but heartfelt opinion, and I certainly feel unappreciated. Certainly I’ve felt the sting of institutional rejection and the horror of being shunned by my sellout peers. Certainly we both rejected our parents’ values (my father was a thoughtful and serious Jew, Bill’s folks were likewise devout and well-meaning Christians) and without a doubt, we both dabbled in many different drugs on a regular basis. The difference is that Bill probably died before his best work and I still have a chance to take a different path. But don’t expect either of us on a sitcom or to hawk some shitty discount long distance service like that fucking whore sellout asshole Dennis Miller.

When someone is dead, you’re not supposed to say that you love them. You’re supposed to say that you loved them. That’s bullshit. You can love someone you've never met even if they died hundreds of years before you were born. Not in a gooey, romantic way. No one’s ever going to get all moist in the panties over some famous corpse. Well, except maybe some creepy, chubby goth chicks get all hot and bothered over Anton LaVey or maybe Edgar Allen Poe. But those chicks are probably fucked in the head anyway, so they’re not worthy of comparison to the sane, right?

I still love Bill Hicks. Sometimes, when I watch an old video of one of his performances, or listen to one of his CDs, I get sad, and sometimes even a little gooey. Many people who don’t know me but are familiar with this zine like to disparage me by comparing me to people they feel are easily dismissed. It’s like saying to a young girl, “Your opinion means nothing, after all, you like the Backdoor Boys!” That’s not right, and when people try to lump me in with someone else to dismiss me, they do us both a disservice. I love Howard Stern. He’s given me a lot of pleasure and laughs. He acts as a bullshit detector on everyone in the entertainment industry. If they can laugh at themselves, if they can act like a human being, if they can drop the guise of being a famous person, they can allow their true selves out for a moment. But this is not a tribute to Howard Stern. My point is that Howard Stern also loved Bill Hicks. If I am invoking Bill’s name, it’s not for the purposes of gaining credibility or seeming hip. It’s because Bill Hicks meant something very important to me. The fact that he’s dead, before his time, before I got a chance to say thanks, is one of the saddest things in the world.

Bill Hicks was the purest performer who ever lived. It’s one of the many reasons that this tribute is so long in coming. I tried to write it for my first issue, back in the summer of 1997. At the time, I couldn't get a handle on my emotions. I knew I could not articulate the quiet sadness that sometimes sweeps into my being when I think about him. Do you ever listen to sad songs just to reaffirm that you’re capable of feeling something? I know I do, and I’m considerably less emotional than most. It’s rare to find one person who can make you laugh, think and cry, all in a phrase, all in a moment, all in the pause between words.

I can never say that Bill Hicks would or would not have liked something. I hate when people do that for other people, and please, for fuck’s sake, don’t do it for me when I’m dead and gone. You can’t know, and it’s better that way. Some things endure because there’s an air of mystery. What’s not revealed is as real and as authentic as what is revealed, but the mystery makes it mean more, to me. I don’t know if Bill Hicks would’ve liked my zine. I don’t know if Bill Hicks was really ready for this world and I don’t know that the world was ready for him. I don’t even know if Bill would have wanted a tribute written to him.

Bill Hicks began his stand-up career while still in grade school. From a very young age, his mind was active, fertile, questioning. He worked on short routines and did them in class, to the distraction of the other students. His teacher couldn’t handle the distraction and limited Bill to a few minutes before class each day to do his routine. After a while, one of his teachers realized she’d lost the class and implored Bill’s mother to help her get it back from Bill. Of course, Bill’s mother Mary told the teacher that it was her own fault for giving Bill the opportunity. It was not the first time nor the last time that Bill would attempt to negotiate with authority only to have his attempts undermined. The truer he was to himself and his art, the harder the world made it for him to just be.

Even though Bill never reached the professional promised land, he did often joke about his future sellout. During the last shows he did before he went home to die with his family, he often said that it was going to be his last show. He was officially retiring from stand-up, like so many other stand-up comics he had known. Jay Leno took The Tonight Show, Tim Allen was recycling his tired macho shtick for the amusement of blue-collar dullards throughout the country and of course, Richard Jeni was hawking a situation comedy called Platypus Man, which died a horrible death on one of those new “networks.” [2010 update: Richard Jeni committed suicide with a gun after a long battle with depression. Maybe even he knew he sucked and couldn't take it anymore.] But Bill wanted to tell people about the new show that he was leaving comedy to host, scheduled for the fall line-up on CBS, called, "Let’s Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus." It’s a concept so high that the title was the pitch itself. [2010 update: if Bill had only gotten this show, we might not have to hear about Miley Cyrus. Can you imagine that world? I sure can.] When explaining the show to the comedy club audience, he would pucker up his face like a CBS executive, asking incisive questions about what would be on the show. They’d ask Bill’s about his proposed show, “Will there be titty?” But of course, Bill would assure the network executives. Checks would rain down on his head. Then they’d ask, “And what will these titties do?” Then Bill would smile broadly. “Jiggle?” he would wonder aloud, as more checks rained down on his head. “I’m a producer now!” he would say with glee. Anyone concerned that the show might not have a shelf life was reassured by the new, slick, sellout Producer Bill Hicks that there were still many more avenues to explore. How about a Christmas special with Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer? Nowadays I’m sure he’d have organized a Millennium Special featuring Garth Brooks and Celine Dion. I would have watched that show, no matter when it aired. [2010 update: these days I think he'd be calling for the Jonas Brothers and the Twi-hards to be incinerated.]

Though Bill was born in Georgia, his family moved around and ended up in Texas, where he met Dwight Slade. Together, they discovered something in themselves—a love of comedy. According to an excellent GQ article on Bill’s life (there’s a link to it at the end of this story) Bill had a Woody Allen poster on his wall, but it made me wonder, Where the fuck does someone go to get a Woody Allen poster in the 70s in Texas? [2010 update: I was in a pizzeria on the Upper East Side and they had a Woody Allen poster over their closet that was clearly from the 70s, so perhaps it was not that uncommon.] They also watched the Tonight Show and discovered that somewhere in the world there were professionals who got paid to tell jokes, just like the jokes they wrote. It’s like discovering coal in your backyard and then finding out that people will pay good money for coal. Holy shit! No way! Jokes? I make so many jokes I practically shit jokes! And I tell shit jokes!

Together they found an agent, in the Yellow Pages, of course. He got them gigs, including a late-night slot on the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Together they blew away adult audiences and groups of their peers. It became a ritual for them to party, perform, enjoy the adulation, and then go back to school. I’ve always felt that Texas represents everything evil and hypocritical about Americans. We talk about conserving energy, but they drive huge, gas-guzzling cars, RVs and monster trucks. We as a country talk about tolerance and forgiveness, but in Texas they drag black dudes behind their trucks until their heads come off. We like to think that we’re more evolved, more informed, and more refined than the religious fanatics holding daily executions in Iraq and Libya. Yet Texas executes more prisoners than every other state, and probably some innocent ones are thrown in for good measure. I hate every fucking thing about Texas, but if Texas weren’t such a disgusting cesspool of undigested beef and Bud Lite–flavored vomit, the world might not have had Bill Hicks. Because it sucks, he had to rise up. Because it was repressive, he had to fight back. Because it wanted to crush him, he had to stand firm.

As a teenager, Bill worked the stand-up circuit around Texas, even though he was too young to get into the clubs where he worked. His friend Kevin Booth said that they had to get a special permit just so they could work. And Bill was a sensation, drawing huge crowds and selling the place out on a regular basis. It wasn’t like one of those shitty, hollow things where some cute dumb kid spews adult jokes and the humor is supposed to be that kids don’t talk that way. He was just funny. Not for a kid, not for a retard with a helmet, not for a Star Search contestant. Just funny.When he was old enough he moved to Houston, even though Texas is no place to get famous, unless you’re a fucking pro wrestler or can drive real fast with a pig on your lap, like some guys I saw on TV last night. I’m sure to some people that’s a sport, but to me it’s just sad. While working there, he met another up-and-coming talent, Sam Kinison. They bonded quickly, but realized that Houston wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. They’d have to move to L.A. or N.Y., and to do that, they’d need money. Sam got together some other comics, including Bill, and billed them as the Texas Outlaw Comics, because Texans are way into faux-rebellion. It was a smashing success, and caught the attention of a guy who worked on the Young Comedian’s Special for HBO. It was, professionally speaking, the beginning of everything.

On Oprah the other day I saw a fat woman crying her heart out. Her daughter had been killed in a car crash at nineteen, but that was more than ten years ago. The mom had abandoned the rest of her family, driven her husband away, all so she could wallow in her grief. That’s the worst thing you can do for a dear, departed friend. Don’t make them haunt you. Don’t be a martyr. Don’t keep asking why they died. It made me think again of Bill Hicks, because the best way to remember Bill is not to fixate on the death, but to celebrate the life.

Early in his career, Bill was working at L.A.’s popular Comedy Store which is owned by Mitzi Shore. Initially hired to do odd jobs and the occasional comedy spot, he worked side by side with Dice, Elayne Boosler (who sucks and ought to have fiberglass splinters embedded in her colon, just underneath the skin) and a few others who’ve gone on to greener pastures. The funniest job he had was picking up Mitzi’s retarded son from school sometimes. Well, he’s not really technically “retarded,” but I think it’s safe to say that Pauly Shore is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

He didn’t get the HBO special, but he did get Mitzi’s recommendation to do a TV pilot. It never panned out and I guess I could explain why in two words: Lyle Waggoner. If you know who he is, you get it. If you don’t have any clue who the man is, you also understand why he couldn’t carry a show, even with Bill in the cast. You can’t build a show around a talent vacuum.

Bill did reasonably well for a new comic in a big city, but he decided to move back to Houston in 1982. He had a band, he had friends, he had a reputation and he had a home, so he went home. I understand that feeling.

His journey back to Texas also drove him to a greater journey, back to himself. He rejected religion because it was full of such ugly hypocrisy. The safe, warm feeling that religion gives people is just like the safe, warm feeling you get after you pee in your diaper. Sure, it’s a nice feeling not to let go, but the truth is, you’re still sitting in your own piss, and it’s not getting any warmer. He also experimented with new philosophies, sensory deprivation and telepathy. He wanted to know who he was, and what he was doing here. The most important lesson he has to teach you at this moment is, “No one can give you any answers. There aren’t any. You have to discover for yourself—you must learn to navigate the mystery.”

After some time back on the circuit, living in a neighborhood we might euphemistically call “in transition,” he was frustrated that things weren’t going well. He wondered if he was any good, and if he was, whether a life of comedy was worth doing anyway.

According to that GQ piece, Bill wanted to know why the comics he so fervently admired—Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin—were into drinking and illicit substances. Up until that point Bill had remained relatively pure, no smokes, liquor or drugs. He went to see a friend of his and declared that he wanted to get drunk. A dozen tequila shots later he was smoking, alert, and suddenly very angry. He seemed to be a man who’d finally been released.

He spent his nights ranting onstage about hypocrisy and religion and war and death and old people and everything he’d ever known was bullshit but had never had the courage to publicly condemn. Audiences were shocked, appalled. They left in droves. Some vets beat him up after he criticized them. His days were spent discovering a whole new universe inside his own head. Each new pill, line, hit and dose brought him closer to finally understanding himself. He tried LSD, mushrooms, cocaine, ecstasy, Quaaludes, Valium, crank, meth (hey, just like me! See “Lost in the K-Hole”)—everything in heroic doses.

As he unleashed his long–dormant demons, his career started to kick into high gear. He finally got a Young Comedian’s Special, then a gig on Late Night With David Letterman! Articles were being written about him and he was starting to get bigger and bigger bookings. But he was also getting further and further away from reality. Every club was another chance to score some drugs, have a party, and keep it all going. He played hundreds of little holes, blasting audiences with a new kind of humor—caustic, almost toxic—that people didn’t know how to react to. He indicted them for their stupidity, their small-mindedness, for their very existence. But it wasn’t making him happy. One night he realized he’d hated what he’d become, a drugged out joke-blower who’d settled for less because it wasn’t as hard.

After wandering around for a while, trying again to find himself, he decided to go to New York City. He got a manager and did hundreds of shows, refining his act, working his craft. All of his life experience had given him more than enough fuel to keep his fires burning. On stage and off he was finally completely focused on what he was doing—thinking for himself.

The first time I ever saw Bill Hicks was on TV, on a stand-up comedy show on A&E. There was something about the menace in his voice that really woke me up. He had such obvious contempt for his fellow man and the fact that he made no attempt to hide it was a revelation. In my own life, I had always displayed contempt for my fellow man and it had helped me to avoid meaningful relationships for most of my adult life. You might think that it sounds bad, but it was what I wanted. I wanted people to like me on my own terms, knowing full well that I might eventually hate them.

After beginning to make a name for himself in NYC, he got more spots on Letterman, then made a video and recorded his first album, Dangerous. From there he got an HBO special, another video, another album and another extended tour throughout the UK. For some reason, his comedy never seemed to take off here in the U.S. But in England, he was recognized on the street, given major comedy awards and played to huge crowds all the time. I’d like to think that it was because the homogenizing forces of the mass media conspired to keep Bill’s dangerous ideas from the masses, but the truth is, in order to get your word out, sometimes you have to compromise. Bill wasn’t interested in compromise because he was on a mission to force uncomfortable truths down the throats of the ignorant. Cigarettes kill. Steak is made from the butchered carcasses of innocent cows. Your parents fucked to make you. Blacks have bigger dicks than whites but make less money and can’t get cabs in NYC. Life sucks and then you die.

Bill was reportedly offered roles in sitcoms and movies, but turned them down. It wasn’t even so much that the work was beneath him or that he was afraid. It seems to me that working on a TV show for a network would engender the kind of compromise that Bill abhorred and the only place he was really free to be his own boss was on the stage of a comedy club. Sometimes I can’t help but speculate, so I’m sorry, Bill.

After that things really started looking up. He was headlining big clubs and festivals, getting his name out there, racking up almost a dozen Letterman appearances and putting out more of his own material. He’d started writing a column for a British magazine while working on a screenplay and his own compromise-free TV pilot. He even began work on two separate comedy albums, which were eventually completed and released on Ryko.

The defining moment of his career came on his twelfth and final appearance on Letterman, which has become legendary. Bill’s act was very edgy, very confrontational, very funny and of course, it wasn't for everyone. He’d done Letterman many times before, and for this appearance, he was asked to do his act for the show’s producers over the phone so they could clear the material. He killed. He was then asked to do it again live at a rehearsal. Again, he killed. He was brought out to do his set on the show for the live audience, and again, he killed. In an odd coincidence, that show also featured Kathie Lee Gifford and scheduled for the next night was Howard Stern! But something went wrong between the taping and the time the show was supposed to air. Depending on who you believe (the lying corporate whores or Bill Hicks), someone at the show, or the network, or Dave himself, felt that the material was too strong, and for the first time since Elvis had been censored at the same Ed Sullivan Theater, Bill’s entire set was excised from the broadcast and replaced with something toothless. Afterward, Bill wrote letters to his friends in the media and the fact that he had been publicly censored made headlines around the country. Even though Letterman has since claimed that he tried to make things right and have Bill back for another appearance, I think he’s full of shit and I’m almost glad that Dave has to live with the knowledge that he wounded a genius and can never undo the damage.

After the Letterman debacle, Bill continued performing, working on his various projects and making it clear to anyone who would listen that the corporations controlled everything and everyone. If you didn't believe it, you had only to look at what happened to him. They couldn't even take a joke. They couldn't accept anyone saying that there might be another way to do it. There’s an ominous bit that became standard in his act and every time I hear it, I get chills. It goes something like, “Go back to bed, America, your government has figured out how it all transpired. Your government is in control again. Here’s American Gladiators, watch this. Shut up. Here’s fifty-six channels of it. Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together for your entertainment and congratulate yourselves on living in the land of freedom. A land where you’re free... to do as we tell you. Where you are free TO DO AS WE TELL YOU!”

In 1993 Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he knew he didn't have much longer to live. He moved back home with his parents where he told them that death would be his greatest adventure. As he lost weight and grew weaker, he said his final goodbyes to everyone who meant something to him in his life. Right at the end, according to the GQ story, he stopped talking, saying that he’d said all he had to say. I think the rest of us can only hope that we get to say everything that we want to say before it’s too late. If you’re looking for a moral, you’ll have to find it yourself. All I know is that I love Bill Hicks, and Bill Hicks is still dead. If I were you (and you were smart) I would try to get my hands on some Bill Hicks material and start thinking for myself more often. I’m not going to give you some jive “seize the day” speech because that shit works for a week at best. You live your life the way you want to and I’ll do the same. But make sure that you don’t postpone anything good and you don’t waste your life waiting for other people to make you happy.

As a public service to my readers, I've reviewed some Hicks material that I have as part of my living tribute to his memory in the NC3 section of my site. There will be more things added as I get and review them, but regardless, it’s certainly worth your effort to find some Hicks material. There’s also one review below, of “It’s Just a Ride.” If you don’t have web access, send me a dollar and a self-addressed stamped envelope and I’ll print you a copy of my reviews.

It’s Just A Ride

This British special is the single most moving documentary/tribute that I've ever seen and even after a dozen viewings, it never ceases to make me laugh and break my heart. Mixing new interviews, television appearances and lots of cool stock footage, this special takes a look at the life and career of Bill Hicks. The title comes from one of Bill’s theories that life is just a ride, and if you realize that, you won’t take it as seriously and might just enjoy it.

The interview segments, when taken together, offer a viewer humor, insight, pathos, irony and of course, a long, sweet look at the life of my hero. All of the greats in comedy step forward to stand in awe of Bill’s talent, but there’s no obvious jealousy or bitterness—they all just know he was better. When Richard Jeni says “[Bill] was the type of guy—you’d watch him and you’d kinda feel bad. You’d kinda go, ‘I really should be doing more of this—I really ought to be telling the truth,’” you might miss the irony. He says that comedians, more than any other group, are beholden to no one and have more license to tell the truth than any other group—and most of them waste that opportunity. Of course, this is the same Richard Jeni who did the heinous TV show Platypus Man, and now does voice-over work for Office Max, so when he says wistfully that he ought to be telling the truth more, it’s about as much soul-searching as a soulless asshole like Dick Jeni is capable of.

One of the most wonderful parts features Bill’s folks, who seem like gentle, loving people. Jim Hicks, Bill’s father, recalls discussing profanity with his son and says, “I couldn’t understand why Bill used the F word so much. I said to him, ‘I never hear Bob Hope, or any other well-known comedian using it.’ Of course, Bill didn’t think much of Bob Hope.” Bill’s childhood friends recount early experiences and their shared lives in a way that’s neither maudlin nor sentimental. It’s the best kind of tribute—one that celebrates the life rather than mourns the death. It’s in these moments that I was first able to see beyond Bill’s performer side and really get a glimpse of the man.

Web Bonus Info:
Since this was published Bill Hicks has gotten a lot of press. Many people wrote to me after reading this to say that they had never heard of Hicks before and now they loved him. It makes me sad to think that Bill never got the respect he deserved while he was alive, but in death, he's become a counter-culture icon, a rebel who never compromised. A few books have been written, including American Scream, Love All the People, which features Bill's own writing and Agent of Evolution, which was written by Bill's close friend Kevin Booth. A documentary movie about Bill Hicks is due for a 2010 release in the UK, I don't know if it will make it over here, but I am hopeful. There were also rumors that Russel Crowe had purchased the rights to make a movie about Bill and planned to star in it and produce it. I think he's a decent actor, but I just feel like an Australian trying to do Bill's unique delivery will be forced and awkward, but hey, who knows. I thought they would Zack Snyder would butcher the film version of Watchmen and he did a fantastic job.

in 2010 the movie American: The Bill Hicks story was released in the UK. It had a few showings and I am hoping it will get a theatrical release here in the US. The movie is a documentary featuring new interviews with his friends, family and fellow comedians. It also uses old footage of Bill in a unique animated style to tell stories from his life. Here's a link if you're interested. http://www.americanthemovie.com/