Bill Hicks and I Have Some Life Advice For Marketers
By Ben Bartee - November 28, 2023

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

“500 channels of a day-dream stimulation
helps me to resent my life and raise my expectations.
Locked into re-runs, your memories repeating,
and all your ideals seem so self-defeating.
For you and yours, the Pepsi generation,
and when you’re discontent, you change the T.V. station,
And when you hate your life, no qualities redeeming,
a million brainwashed zombies will always be heard screaming…
And when there is no hope,
‘I’ll smoke some crack, I’ll shoot some dope!’
When there’s no enemies,
I sit and stare at my T.V.
and in my ignorance,
I’ll be a slave and sycophant!”
-Choking Victim, ‘500 Channels’

More apropos, perchance it would be appropriately described as “anti-life advice”:

“If anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Just a little thought, I’m just trying to plant seeds… Kill yourself… There’s no rationalization for what you do, and you are Satan’s little helpers, okay? Kill yourselves. Seriously… There’s no fucking joke coming… You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with vile and garbage, you are fucked… Kill yourself. It’s the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself. Planting seeds… I know all the marketing people are going ‘he’s just doing a joke’; there’s no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tailpipe, fucking hang yourself…. I don’t care how you do it.”


No one ever accused Bill Hicks of soft-pedaling his act.

I recall this bit without fail every time an ad for some stupid pharmaceutical drug or life insurance product or chemical-castrating cleaning solution interrupts my YouTube crust punk playlist.

Isn’t the first rule of marketing to “know your mark” or whatever? What kind of fiduciarily derelict platform would put an ad on a music video like the one below and expect any kind of return on investment, assuming the viewership even has any expendable income in the first place?

Just take a look at the production value! This is not your “demo.”

(An affiliated band is called “No Commercial Value,” just in case the song title “Corporate Trash” was too subtle.)

Crust punks, almost by definition, have no money, nor do they have jobs worth a damn. The crust thoroughbreds sustain themselves on EBT cards and panhandling. The quasi-crusties, or crusty-adjacents, have minimum-wage jobs and barely pay their rent while they stew in resentment and hope for revolution.

On the occasion they do have cash, they tend to purchase 40 ounces (of malt liquor, for the higher alcohol content) and crack rocks with it. That’s what they do.

Advertising pleather boots and overpriced Whole Foods slop to them is barking up the wrong tree.

Far be it for me to stop advertisers from wasting their money; I just wish they’d save everyone the trouble and take Bill Hicks’ excellent advice.

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

Follow his stuff Substack if you are inclined to support independent journalism free of corporate slant. Also, keep tabs via Twitter.

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