The Sixties: It Didn’t Have To Happen Like That
It’s not easy contemplating the decade in America between 1960 and 1970. Generally, the part most worth discussing is the latter half, mostly because so much happened it is hard to sort out. It’s easy to figure out the early years and the 1950s. For the first time in human history, men and women did not have to fear being surprised that someone was going to kill them because the nuclear bomb put an end to that fear in a certain corner of the world called America. It is not a coincidence that “The War To End All Wars”, World War One, brought the Roaring Twenties, a time of booze, less clothes and lots of dancing in the same manner that the Fifties brought the same damn thing.
When you don’t fear death anymore, you can start to play. But if you play too much, you’ll forget that there are children on the playground somewhere with ouchies, who have just fallen down. Some are being tormented by bullies. But all you know is that you have never swung so high on the swingset before, and it is glorious. It sounds like everyone is laughing, because you have become dizzy. The sun is out, it’s April, you have nice clothes on. What could be wrong?
That will do, a decent metaphor for the Sixties. Anyone who lived there, if they are honest, will tell you the same thing. What they do not want to tell you is how they fucked it all up. That is a story for the first children of the seventies to tell you and, quite frankly, they haven’t told us the whole story either. That is because they are dead or dying. The swingset flipped upside down, and America hit the concrete.
Why? How could it have been so great, and then so grim?
Because we honestly thought we could have kept playing forever. Even my German Shepherd will roll over and say “I’m done, I need water” after half an hour of ball chasing. I swear, it looks to me like I could just keep throwing and throwing and he’ll keep running and running until he has a heart attack and dies. But at some point he will say to me “I’m tired, Daddy, let’s go in”.
This is what America forgot to do. Get tired of itself.
You boomers, you all thought it could go on forever in blue jeans and tie-dye. That it was always April. You forgot one thing; that someone was dying somewhere else so you could play on the swingset. You are all of a bunch of fucking morons. You saw the headlines. You watched your leaders die. But for some reason, it was OK to keep goofing off. You would think that when you lost your president, that perhaps what you were doing was wrong. You should have gone back there and find out what JFK had gotten himself into before you starting taking all that acid, or at least perked up when Eisenhower said the military was spiraling out of control. But you didn’t, did you? You told him you wanted to go to the moon, and when he put you there, you wanted to go…well, wherever it is one thinks they are going when they are delusional. They call it psychosis these days. You called it a “real good time”. You said “fuck it, there’s the swingset. I used to have a really good time there!”.
Some of you may know who Bill Hicks is. A comedian ahead of his time, of this there is no question. It’s hard not to listen to him and say “well, goddamn! This guy is right, isn’t he?” And he was. Then, as he progressed, he become very philosophical and began to say things like “We can live forever and go to space together if we end poverty now!!!!!”
It’s the type of statement that is so exciting, you might think that a comedian had figured out the secret to life and all we would have to do is follow Bill Hicks and everything would be One.
Bill Hicks died from believing in this idea. Many of you are dying on your feet thinking that someday, someone will appreciate what he said and we will go to space together.
If you think about it just a little, it is probably one of the stupidest things that has ever been said. However, knowing what I know about religion, we’ve been believing this stupid shit for centuries.
Here’s what I think has happened: we have been afraid for most of our monkey lives, either of ourselves, other predators larger than we, or the reckless fluctuations of nature. We have done so much thinking about how scared we are that we have scared ourselves shitless. We have been tormented by fear for a long time, fear of our own home. The Earth has a tendency to do that to people. It is literally the most violent thing we have ever seen. To our little eyes, nothing could be worse than this.
Now I must ask; does the endless void of Space sound any better? Supernovae? Liquids boiling at 10,000 degrees, ice cold death in places where suns do not shine? Black holes that will allow you the opportunity to disintegrate for eternity?
All I can say to Bill Hicks, rest his soul, is fuck you, bro.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have to look very far to find out what a mess we have made right here on Earth. I shudder to think what the Universe would do if an idiotic species like ours decided to go swing on its swingset. In case no one has noticed, the Earth is already getting tired of us. It has given us a fairly strong signal. It reads: keep fucking with me, and I’m going to make it very hot here and then you will wish you were in space. I like it here, personally, which is why you can all go to space for all I care, and you can take all of your designer clothes and your credit cards and your good times and your Paris Hiltons and your Bill Hickses and charge up a fortune somewhere else. Because when you finally kill yourself from hanging upside down from the swingset EXACTLY like your sick, aggrieved mother told you not to, I will look up from my ouchies from across the playground and I will laugh my ass off. I will not die from any of this poison, because I will remain quiet and wait for you to get the hell away from me. I take the small pleasures I need and the love I have and do some real living. The type of living that takes so long that it will seem like an eternity before I die.
People are going to get confused now because it sounds like I hate a guy like Bill Hicks. Simply not true, he had a clear moral vision, one that most of us would be jealous to have if we had any sense about us. I’ll take a mad shaman like him any day over the people I see around me now. Bill Hicks may have been the physical manifestation of what could best be termed as an allergic reaction. He hated life. He hated you. He hated himself so much that he spent his life trying to tell you how much he hated you and life. And he reacted like an ugly hive. That hive he became turned into cancer. He died of that cancer, and that upsets me greatly, because none of you deserved Bill Hicks. He was dumb enough to get close to you.
I ain’t. I hate quietly. I live longer that way. That is why the sixties failed. We loved ourselves way too much, and we forgot that other people were suffering, that everything was suffering and it was requesting silence instead of freaking the hell out. I’ll throw my pearls at people who need pearls, not swine who will stomp up and down and ask for more, for ever, for eternity, for all of the things that we want except for the things we have.