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It’s Just a Ride: 3 Variations on a Theme by Bill Hicks

Interesting to see how different video creators put images together behind this classic monologue by the late Bill Hicks from 1992.

“The world is like a ride at an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round and it has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly colored and it’s very loud. And it’s fun, for a while.

Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: ‘Is this real? Or is this just a ride?’ And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and they say ‘Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid — ever — because… this is just a ride.’ And we kill those people.

‘Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry; look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.’ It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that — ever notice that? — and we let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter, because… it’s just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort. No worry. No job. No savings and money. Just a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy bigger guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.

Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, into a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defense each year and, instead, spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would do many times over — not one human being excluded — and we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever. In peace.”

It’s not wrong to have good ideals but it would be interesting to know how Hicks would reformulate this today in light of the woeful history of the 21st Century to date.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • WiscoDave August 18, 2017, 3:28 PM

    Sure. Just a ride. I’ll put down my gun after “they” put down theirs. Sure. Just a ride. I’ll gladly share love with others when they show themselves to be worthy of it. Sure. Just a ride. Too many “takers” for me to willingly become a “giver.”

    Sounds good.
    Easy to call but hard to run.
    Maybe I’m part of the problem.
    Maybe not.

  • Steve in Greensboro August 18, 2017, 3:34 PM

    For some reason, I am reminded of Country Joe’s immortal poem. (Throat clearing noises.) All together now.

    Roll another one.
    Just like the other one.
    You’ve been holding onto it.
    And I sure would like a hit.

    (Everybody now!)

    Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.
    Pass it over to me.
    Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.
    Pass it over to me.

  • Steve in Greensboro August 18, 2017, 3:37 PM

    Here’s Little Feat’s version.


  • Nori August 18, 2017, 9:10 PM

    Indeed, indeed. Easy to call, but hard to run. Sharp. Funny. Interesting mash-up in that man. He had an ability to sniff hypocrisy. Open about his drug use,and happily blew cig smoke into the 2nd hand recipients. 1990’s. Different world. Would face crucifixion today.
    His “Just a Ride”…20 some odd yrs later…well,sweet,but naive. We of Western Civ have been feeding, clothing, and educating the rest of Earth, and they really hate our fucking guts and want us all dead.
    To borrow a word from Ol’ Remus, “Next”.

  • Jim August 18, 2017, 9:58 PM

    After listening I am reminded of the below article – feed the children eh? Space eh? I’ll pay my taxes and trust government will protect our nation as I protect my property. We are so far from that man’s statements he may as well be speaking some alien language. Wasted breath.

    “AFRICA is giving nothing to anyone outside Africa — apart from AIDS and new diseases. Even as we see African states refusing to take action to restore something resembling civilization in Zimbabwe, the Begging bowl for Ethiopia is being passed around to us out of Africa, yet again. It is nearly 25 years since the famous Feed The World campaign began in Ethiopia, and in that time Ethiopia’s population has grown from 33.5 million to 78+ million today. So, why on earth should I do anything to encourage further catastrophic demographic growth in that country? Where is the logic?

    There is none.

    To be sure, there are two things saying that logic doesn’t count. One is my conscience, and the other is the picture, yet again, of another wide-eyed child, yet again, gazing, yet again, at the camera, which yet again, captures the tragedy of children starving.

    Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a low IQ, AK 47-bearing moron, siring children whenever the whim takes him and blaming the world because he is uneducated, poor and left behind.


    Alas, that wretched country is not alone in its madness. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, AK 47-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts and housing pirates of the ocean. Indeed, we now have almost an entire continent of sexually hyperactive, illiterate indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world or allowances by the semi-communist Governments they voted for, money supplied by borrowing it from the World Bank!”

  • Nori August 19, 2017, 7:35 AM

    “Easy to call but hard to run.” Well said. Hicks had a quick wit and sharp mind, but that routine seems hopelessly naive 20-odd yrs later. Look at the African continent-how many mega fucktons of aid has been poured into it, and to what result? Antarctica has a better GDP. Yea, I know, raycisss.
    I denounce myself and await the thought police at the door.

  • Jack August 19, 2017, 7:47 AM

    Screw it. Spend all that money on mass sterilization of blacks, muslims and left and right extremists.

  • Howard Nelson August 19, 2017, 7:53 AM

    Too often we refuse to admit a personal truth to ourselves. We are not achieving our potential. The next best thing is to believe that we are, in some way, superior to some other. Thus, we pursue one-upmanship, a phantom ride to our personal doom. For deep down we know our truth, our guilt, our shame, our betrayal. And we try to hide our personal failure by emoting anger at innocent others. And our success in this concealment is our greatest failure.

  • Hammond Aikes August 19, 2017, 9:20 AM

    It’s not “just a ride”. I was lucky enough to have had this demonstrated to me, without equivocation, almost forty years ago.
    Damn all philosophy based on Lysergic Acid Diethylamide 25.

  • Harry August 19, 2017, 11:59 AM

    I took that ride one time. Scared the hell out of me. Some of my friends had a great time and went back for more rides. Maybe it’s just me, but once was enough.

  • ghostsniper August 19, 2017, 3:14 PM

    @Nori, suppose the gov’t showed up at your door and stayed, and insisted you accept their *help*. They would then require you to wear clothes you don’t like, eat food you can’t stand, and behave as they dictate, and denounce your religion, morals, and thoughts, would you hate them too?

    Never forget, this rotten assed gov’t has never done one thing in it’s entire existence based in good for it has no good, it has only that which it has stolen from others. It is not possible for pure evil to do good, ever. The media only shows you what they want you to know.

  • Dink Newcomb August 19, 2017, 3:23 PM

    * “Howard Nelson” *
    “For deep down we know our truth, our guilt, our shame, our betrayal. And we try to hide our personal failure by emoting anger at innocent others. ”
    I have to admit Howard, I am still not sure if you believe your exact words or your very precise outline of the creation and function of an American liberal is just a slashing sarky comment on the ground we are losing minute by minute to the group who have for decades been shoveling money to the human insects of the world to breed and consume. Now there are so many in so many places, that group, gnashing their teeth and weeping loudly wants to “improve” the US by bringing them here. If I wanted to live in Zimbabwe, I would have moved there years ago or moved to Chicago to practice for the day I could enter paradise!

  • indyjonesouthere August 19, 2017, 5:43 PM

    Bill Hicks just reflecting the intellectual flower power children of the 60’s…small wonder OTC and under the counter drugs are needed to blackout all their bullshit…and why we need ever increasing safe spaces to retreat from reality.

  • ghostsniper August 19, 2017, 6:09 PM

    “…we need ever increasing safe spaces to retreat from reality…”

    Out here in the woods is my retreat TO reality.

  • Skorpion August 19, 2017, 11:45 PM

    Can you imagine any performer today having the balls to do what Bill Hicks did to a drunk heckler in this performance?

  • waitingForTheStorm August 20, 2017, 5:24 AM

    I lived in Houston many years ago where Bill Hicks was a member of the outlaw comedians. He was not famous then and the comedians did a new year’s ever show that was gut-splitting funny. When Bill started, he was one of the funniest comedians I had ever seen. When he took the path to social commentary, he became tedious. I don’t pay to be lectured.