Friday, 11 March 2011

A line for every occasion

An e-mail from a friend on the subject of reading for pleasure (he does, his colleagues don't) reminded me of the rest of the Bill Hicks routine quoted in my profile:

I've noticed a certain anti-intellectualism going around this country; since about 1980, coincidentally enough. … I was in Nashville, Tennessee, and after the show I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, but I was hungry. And I'm sitting there eating and reading a book. I don't know anybody, I'm alone, so I'm reading a book. The waitress comes over to me like, [gum smacking] "What'chu readin' for?" I had never been asked that. Not "What am I reading?", but "What am I reading for?" Goddangit, you stumped me. Hmm, why do I read? I suppose I read for a lot of reasons, one of the main ones being so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress.
I've posted it before, but it's worth seeing again:

This led me on to another reading related reference:
Books are a load crap

by the great misanthropic poet Philip Larkin (in 'A Study of Reading Habits').

Then I remembered another line from Bill Hicks with particular relevance to current affairs:
You know we armed Iraq. I wondered about that too, you know. During the Persian Gulf war, those intelligence reports would come out: "Iraq: incredible weapons – incredible weapons." "How do you know that?" "Uh, well … we looked at the receipts. But as soon as that check clears, we're goin' in. What time's the bank open? Eight? We're going in at nine. We're going in for God and country and democracy and here's a fetus and he's a Hitler. Whatever you fucking need, let's go. Get motivated behind this, let's go!"
I’m so sick of arming the world and then sending troops over to destroy the fucking arms, you know what I mean? We keep arming these little countries then we go and blow the shit out of em. We’re like the bullies of the world, you know. We’re like Jack Palance in the movie Shane… Throwing the pistol at the sheep herder’s feet: “Pick it up.” “I don’t wanna pick it up mister, you’ll shoot me.” “Pick up the gun”. “Mister, I don’t want no trouble huh. I just came down town here to get some hard rock candy for my kids, some gingham for my wife. I don’t even know what gingham is, but she goes through about 10 rolls a week of that stuff. I ain’t looking for no trouble mister.” “Pick up the gun.” Boom bom “You all saw him. He had a gun.” 


Benjamin. said...

I've seen Philip Larkin's house in Hull*- its a shitehole so one can understand his hatred of the world.

*In no way is Hull to be associated with the beauty of Yorkshire despite its close promixity.

The Plashing Vole said...

He grew up in Coventry, so Hull probably looked like paradise to him.

His father was a bigshot in the Town Hall. His colleagues had to ask him to remove the Nazi memorabilia decorating his office…in 1939.

What a charming family.