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643. Darkening of the light (XII)

There are few things in life more ugly than a Muslim man who wears his salwar kameez with a pair of trainers on his feet—the reason behind this fashion choice confuses me, obviously for the women the trainers are about modesty; however, no one, no woman, would be aroused if a Mohammedan’s rear were to be slightly elevated by his footwear. It falls under the general heading “modesty wear”, yet it also symbolises what contemporary Britain—the contemporary West—really constitutes: the unaesthetic mish-mash between an imported religion and modern consumer society; the crescent and the Nikes.

The mish-mash is very typical in the West, and not even among immigrant groups. The stand-up comedian Bill Hicks, once storied in the 1990s but now forgotten, exemplified a similar religious mash-up: as with Leary and Anton Wilson, Hicks experimented with mushrooms—he saw UFOs, experienced “cosmic consciousness”. Yet he remained an asinine leftist.

Hence he would make observations to the effect that “the Supreme Court says that ‘pornography’ is sexually arousing material that is without redeeming social importance; therefore, all ads, since sex sells, constitute pornography—the Supreme Court is made up from hypocrites”. Hicks would then conjure up an image of an ideal Coca-Cola advert where a woman inserted a bottle into her vagina and unscrewed the top with a seductive twist. All very well, except the supposed hypocrisy was nothing: all it meant was that ads are pornographic now—ads need to be restricted more thoroughly.

I had a politics lecturer at university who loved Hicks—put little quotes from him on his door (along with a cringey poster about the Red Indians who died on “the Trail of Tears”)—and would quote Hicks as a religious authority. Despite his love for the oppressed, when I worked on a group project and one other guy plagiarised the work in his section the lecturer announced we would all be punished. He had a thing about plagiarism, being a dull bureaucrat at heart (Hicks himself started by copying Woody Allen)—naturally, collective punishment is the answer to an individual’s crime; and so the people who appear the most “laid back” are really the most anal. Every leftist revolutionary is a petty bureaucrat at heart.

As with many shroomers, Hicks almost got it—yet never quite got it; perhaps because a spiritual position requires more than to whack down a few mushrooms interspersed with cocaine and excess booze. Hence Hicks would decry LA as an unnatural city that needs to vanish into the sea—yet his denunciations always rang hollow once you realised that Hicks was bitter that he never had his own show or series in LA. In the few years before he died, Hicks found success in Britain—among people like my lecturer—because he could mock America in front of British audiences and be rewarded for it, especially with his particular progressive take on America. “Americans are people who never read a book in their lives, doncha know. Not like us smart Brits.” Well, actually…

Men like Hicks get close to a kind of divine troubadour act when they are very candid on stage. Hicks was very funny when very drunk, when he spoke his truth without inhibition—he became less funny, more successful, and more politically correct as he sobered up…What he could never appreciate is that there is a way to be drunk sober. Men like Hicks never go completely mad; they grab the microphone and say, “I’m a real Hick, a Southern Baptist—a real dummy. We don’t want no anti-bi-art-tics here, Cleetus.” They never say: “It’s funny how the Jews run everything, isn’t it?” (an act sure to get a belly laugh). Hicks thought that to speak from the heart was to be like Jimmy Hendrix or Lenny Bruce, but those men just spoke from emotions and desire—men like Hicks cannot be still enough to speak from the heart, and they die early because they escape the quietness with narcissism.


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