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relationship to commercial servitude could still draw a thin but appreciative crowd. Domestic terrorism was an FBI raid in Waco, which provided a close-tohome target almost tailor-made for Hicks’ Big-Brother-Lies-To-You sensibilities. “I was in Australia, and the Australians had a big contingency at the Branch Davidian compound, and I’m from Texas so they were very curious, they were asking me all about it. Oh he’s so weird, isn’t he? This guy Koresh is so weird … And I was thinking, well, wait a minute [scratches chin]: frustrated rock musician with a messianic complex, armed to the teeth and trying to fuck everything that moves? I don’t know how to tell you this, but it sounds like every one of my friends in Austin. I don’t know if this is going to be an isolated incident …” It wasn’t just Hicks’ Austin friends who shared Koresh’s Jesus Christ Rock Star trip. Hicks did too. You can hear it in his amateur guitar work, unfortunately layered onto the albums Arizona Bay and Rant in E-Minor, released three years after his death. You can hear it in his master-of-the-universe riffs on Jimi Hendrix, and in the withering smackdowns he aimed at Madonna and “Rockers Against Drugs.” Unlike rock stars, there aren’t many stand-ups that people miss even 15 years after they’re gone. Already nobody misses Jerry Seinfeld, and he won’t be dead for years. There’s Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin. You could argue for John Belushi. You could make a case for Jello Biafra in this lineage, but Jello Biafra isn’t funny. Or dead yet. Since Hicks, who knows? David Cross maybe, though his outrage seems more forgiving, a little on the Sedaris side. Mitch Hedberg had the charisma but his targets were too diffuse, and then he died young, too. Dave Chappelle is too fundamentally mellow. Hicks was the antithesis of mellow. Tina Fey is too eager to please. Hicks couldn’t have cared less. Hicks liked to stand in front of a room full of people with drinks who’d paid to see him and ask invitingly if anyone worked in marketing or advertising, and then tell those people to go kill them But on Tuesday she finds this tiny snake under a clump of piss weed. It skitters across her palm like a light craft on a glittering sea. selves. He wasn’t quite joking. He thought it was hysterically funny it wasto impress upon the smug nonsmokers in the crowd that they were going to die, too. Bill Hicks didn’t think your children were special. He would have had a field day with Hope and Change. He did, in fact: there any hope in Clinton? the guy. They’re all the same. I’ll show you politics in America, here it is, right here: shares my beliefs.” left is more to my liking.” one guy holding up both puppets! AMERICA, YOUR GOVERNMENT IS IN CONTROL. watch this and get fat and stupid! By the way, keep drinking beer you fucking morons! The obvious thing to wonder, on the 15th anniversary of his passing, is what Bill Hicks would have had to say about all the Hicksian horrors he died too soon to see. There’s already a book out on Soft Skull Press called What Would Bill Hicks Say? There’s also , where fans are invited to join the titular speculation. His official Web site invites followers to Twitter their own What-Would-Bill-Hicks-Say musings into the everlistening ether. I suspect he would have made Michael Moore look like Dubya’s fiercest apologist, spun spiteful fantasies about Paula Abdul that would make Larry Flynt blush, and been scared to holy hell of Dick Cheney with the rest of us. Imagine what Hicks could have done with Paris Hilton, or Alberto Gonzales. Lord forbid he notice Miley Cyrus. What might Hicks have made of an iCulture in which seven different Facebook pages channel his memory through community-categorical interests in “philosophy,” “humor,” “beliefs & causes” and “religion & spirituality”? POETRY I STELLA BRICE LIVING WITH THE FORCE OF WAR The woman cooks dogmeat on the dung fuel stove. She ignores her neighbor’s corpse bloating two weeks in the street. She says to herself: God forgot about me. To her self she says: No help anywhere. The snake tangles in her rough pocket; & it has stripesdeep rose on greenish gray. FEBRUARY 6, 2009 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25