Please be advised that the following video clips contain explicit language.
As I have been reflecting on the outcome of the presidential election, my mind returned many times to the work of Bill Hicks. In particular, I find myself considering this bit about the Kennedy Assassination:
I wonder what Hicks would think about the fact that we elected a celebrity, made famous playing a high-powered executive on reality TV. I wonder what he would say about the anger towards the intellectual class (especially when I watch this clip about him reading a book) that was on display throughout the campaign. I wonder what he would think about the state of our news media, and the frenzy and shock that seems to accompany every story (definitely when I watch this bit about CNN – this was 1992):
Bill Hicks was a visionary stand-up comedian who embodied the role of soothsayer by addressing some of the biggest hypocrisies of his time. He got his audiences to face some tough-to-swallow truths by giving us the ability to laugh at our shortcomings. He’s one of the original inspirations for the creation of The LAMP, and it’s why he is my LAMP Luminary for this month. His approach of always asking the tough questions, the ones you were encouraged not to ask, inspired me to create an organization that insists on fostering a young person’s thirst for curiosity and answers. I was inspired by his rejection of mediocrity, and his celebration of those who bucked the status quo. His pursuit of this last principle earned him the status of the only person to ever be censored from the David Letterman show. He passed from our lives shortly after, succumbing to pancreatic cancer in 1994 — an odd way to die for someone who was a proud smoker.
I wonder what he’d say about the state of our elections, the state of our country, but most of all I wonder what he’d say about us. I wonder if he might even be optimistic. After all, as he points out, we all are one:
Like Bill Hicks, I imagine a world where our oneness is newsworthy. With critical thinking, I hope we can get there.