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BILLHICKS-BURNINGISSUES-2021

 

Truth Matters,

Bill Hicks Always Told It.

After the abrupt cancellation of his twelfth Late Night w/David Letterman performance, Bill Hicks called his friend, The New Yorker‘s John Lahr (Bert’s son), who after the conversation wrote (“THE GOAT BOY RISES”), a most accurate and entertaining profile of Bill, for the magazine’s November 1, 1993 issue.
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Burning Issues

BILLHICKSflag-SML

— Photograph b/ dave hogerty (originalnoise.org)

“As a young boy in America …

I was always told I could grow up to be anything I wanted to be. I could be a fireman, a policeman, a doctor, and then, for the first time, something called an astronaut.

Shit, I could even be President of The United States.

“But, like so many kids, especially those in Texas, I was brought up on a steady diet of Westerns, and what I always wanted to be was the avenging cowboy hero — that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it. 

Always standing for freedom, truth, and justice for all.

In my heart of hearts, I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go.

In my endless ride into the setting sun.”

BILL HICKS (1961-1994)

 

A Day in the Life of Bill
… preparing for a Late Night with David Letterman performance. (1992)

— CBS.

In 1991, the CBS News Feature program “48 Hours” followed Bill as he prepared for one of his 12 Late Night with David Letterman performances. In it, you see Bill with “Late Night” producer, Frank (full-of-himself-republican) Gannon, driving from club to club in New York City, working on the five-minute set Bill would do on the television show later that week.

Watch and listen to the arrogant Gannon explain how he knows best what will work for Bill when he appears on Letterman’s show, and later, Bill explaining to the reporter just how full of shit Gannon was.

Included, after the “48 Hours” piece, you’ll see the Friday night “Late Night” performance (his eighth) Bill had been preparing for, which includes his piece on America’s still raging GUN LUST.

 

Cameras Not Guns

The image of Bill lighting a cigarette with a burning American flag was taken in 1989, the same time The Court was making the first of its two decisions on the flag-burning issue.

Inspiration for the portrait came from flag burning and two of Bill’s most popular topics … tobacco and false prophecy.

When asked to stand for the photograph, Bill’s response was immediate and true. “Yes,” he said, quickly adding, “But I’d rather you take a picture of me pulling a knotted flag out of my ass!,” referencing the First Amendment/Pornography debate over photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s controversial, homoerotic exhibit on display at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. at the same time. /dave.

 

Robert Mapplethorpe’s

“PERFECT MOMENT” (Time Magazine)

Hillary Clinton?

Co-sponsors The Flag Protection Act of 2005 

Although delivered to elicit laughter, Bill never minded that his opinion might offend or anger anyone in any audience. 

“Burning Issues” (listen above) is Bill defending America, not attacking it, as accused by the Un-American Klan, marching under a racist banner. Bill was often criticized for directing his vicious opinion against the right-wing, racist, and corporate power in America, never more than when he defended the United States Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling that the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution protects every American’s right to non-violent “Free Speech,” including burning a piece of legally purchased fabric, even a Made-in-Japan, American flag.

The image of Bill lighting a cigarette with a burning American flag was taken in 1989, the same time The Court was making the first of its two decisions on the flag-burning issue.

I shot the portrait of Bill, lighting a cigarette with a burning American flag, in 1989, at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court was debating a number of Art vs. Religion issues, not the least being the U.S. Congress (including New York Senator Hillary Clinton) wanted to jail individuals, so seditious that they would dare burn, wipe their ass with, or display improperly, a their chosen piece of fabric. NOW, THAT’S WHAT A WHITE SUPREMACIST CALLS FREEDOM.

When asked to stand for the photograph, Bill’s response was immediate and true. “Yes,” he said, quickly adding, “But I’d rather you take a picture of me pulling a knotted flag out of my ass!,” referencing the First Amendment/Pornography debate over photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s controversial, homoerotic exhibit on display at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. at the same time. dave.

Although delivered to elicit laughter, Bill never minded that his opinion might offend or anger anyone in any audience. 

“Burning Issues” (listen above) is Bill defending America, not attacking it, as accused by the Un-American Klan, marching under a racist banner. Bill was often criticized for directing his vicious opinion against the right-wing, racist, and corporate power in America, never more than when he defended the United States Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling that the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution protects every American’s right to non-violent “Free Speech,” including burning a piece of legally purchased fabric, even a Made-in-Japan, American flag.

FULL-LENGTH PERFORMANCES (YOUTUBE)

It’s Just A Ride (1994) Documentary
Sane Man (1989) Houston
One Night Stand (1991) Chicago
Relentless (1992) Montreal
Revelations (1993) London

 

Carry Guns, Not Cameras

We who knew Bill, no doubt, wish he were still around, to discuss the sad state of 21st Century affairs, to hear how he would express his anger at how successful Budweiser has been in keeping America stupid and drunk. How corporate leaders have always understood the importance of entertainment in the art of persuasion, and the dumber a consumer is, the easier they are to entertain, and sell cheap shit to.

— dave. OriginalNoise.Org

Sad, that after Bill’s death, America became more and more the country Bill spent his short life screaming in anger against. The stupidity in rewarding anger and hate, while shamelessly punishing the poor. Ironic that today, the right-wing assholes who Bill loathed, and made most fun of, are so stupid, that today, they make up a loyal group of Bill’s after-death cult following.

More Video/Audio

Bill Hicks vs. CBS
— A bootleg (audio) recording of Bill’s first performance,
after the Letterman cancellation
Bill Hicks “UnResurrected”
— Criticizing organized religion and corporate advertising
always kept Bill out of the mainstream.
Bill Hicks vs. War
— Bill was virtually alone, speaking out against
America’s first War in Iraq (1991).

 

The Last Word

Two years later, just months before his death, Bill did his twelfth “Late Night,” which was pulled from the broadcast, after David Letterman (agreeing with the CBS “Standards and Practices” department) deemed it too offensive to air. Sixteen years later, Letterman invited Bill’s mother onto the program, publicly apologized for having pulled the set, and broadcast it then, posthumously.

The Last Word, Bill’s final Letterman Performance

Another tribute by Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten.

While many (especially right-wing Christians who think Jesus was American) called Bill “Un-American,”” for his desecrating the American flag, and for his aggressive delivery of an extreme, Libertarian, and anti-Republican message, the more enlightened knew Bill was a most honest patriot and compassionate American Citizen.

 

“Loving Rush”

 

LISTEN TO THIS (If You Dare)
— Bill Hicks (1993) pornographic depiction of Rush Limbaugh,
with Barbara Bush, as you never saw her.

… and then came Trump.

Nearly 30 years later, Donald Trump, in another example of his monumental ignorance, “tweeted” out his belief that anyone daring to burn an American flag should lose their citizenship.

Of course Limbaugh hasn’t changed since Bill’s 1993 description, and today kneels as one of the most notorious Trump-suckers. “Loving Rush” was a bit on Bill’s last recording, Rant in E Minor, released four months before Bill died. It was a sad day for what’s become a languishing progressive movement … a day when the left-wing lost one of it’s most consequential and viciously funny social commentators.

After listening to his opinion of the 1990’s republican hierarchy, and imagine what he’d have to say about today’s Donald Trump, Fox News propaganda, and the alt-right’s favorite sons, Steve Bannon and Breitbart News’ favorite pussy Milo Yiannopoulos.  It would surely be a description far less pretty than Yiannopoulos  thinks he is.

Ironically, in the fucked up era of Donald Trump, so stupid is Alex Jones and his Elmer Dinkley army, that they claim Bill as hero of the alt-right, going so far as to claim Alex Jones might actually be Bill Hicks, reincarnated, and that InfoWars is the word of Hicks … It’s Not!
If anything, if the stone were to be rolled away, and Bill were resurrected, he wouldn’t waste the time to shit on Alex Jones and InfoWars … both too stupid to live.

The flag-burning portrait of Bill, shot in the mens’ room at the Palm Beach Daily News, where I was an editor at the time, had been scheduled as the cover of posthumous box set of Bill’s four performance CDs (Dangerous, Relentless, Arizona Bay, and Rant in E Minor). However, considering the picture “unpatriotic” and “offensive,” Bill’s evangelical Christian parents refused it’s publication.

In the end, the (Rhino Box Set) project was never realized … the recordings were later released individually.

As Bill often said on (and off) stage, his Southern Baptist parents were never really “fans,” thinking their son was too often pornographic, personally embarrassing, and fundamentally Un-American.

All true, except the Un-American claim. Bill was an unapologetic patriot who loved America, and passionately railed against the commercial, social, and political ills he believed were destroying the country he lived in and loved.

After his death (February 26, 1994), Bill attained something of a cult status, revered by the more open-minded, free-thinking, and inquisitive members of a younger generation, those likely to also know Miles Davis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and modern-day philosophers, Noam Chomsky, Terence McKenna, and Joseph Campbell (“The Power Of Myth”).

If you’re interested, there is much more information (and of course, misinformation) to be found in books, documentaries, and on youtube. As I say, be warned that Bill is not for the easily offended, faint of heart, or dim-witted republicans, but if you appreciate honest, unfiltered, and viciously funny social commentary, put the kids to bed, strap in, and ENJOY THE RIDE.

dave hogerty

 

 

YouTube/Full-Length Performances

FULL-LENGTH PERFORMANCES (YOUTUBE)

It’s Just A Ride (1994) Documentary
Sane Man (1989) Houston
One Night Stand (1991) Chicago
Relentless (1992) Montreal
Revelations (1993) London