Home » A+E » Commentary: Analyzing the strange from Bob Ross’ happy trees to William S. Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’

Commentary: Analyzing the strange from Bob Ross’ happy trees to William S. Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’

“My favorite people in the world are as mad as they come, but they all know the score – we’re all doomed because we’re all f—ed up, not because some god failed to set us free.” -James Hunt’s “RoboChildren: The Tussin Generation (2009).”

I’ve decided this week’s theme will be strange people doing strange yet wonderful things. Things that have changed lives, if only in my own twisted reality.

Bob Ross was the host of a well-known television series called “The Joy of Painting,” in which he taught the world how to draw happy trees, how to make big decisions in our little worlds and how it is OK to walk around talking about rabbits and squirrels with strangers in public.

But most of all, he taught us artists are allowed to be a “bit different.”
“We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents,” Ross said.

My parents actually said the same thing about me. That is, until they realized I don’t quite qualify as a “happy” accident after I stumbled into my house sans-clothing with cheap vodka on my breath.

Time Magazine put Louis C.K. on its 2012 list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” I agree completely with the judgment here. This balding, aging, swelling creature is one of the most genuinely funny people I have ever listened to for hours without once forgetting my mortality, my distaste for most people or how depressing life is.

That’s not easy to accomplish and it goes down a bit sour, but only because of how honest and telling it is.

“I don’t have a gun, but if I did, I would shoot a baby deer in the mouth and feel nothing,” C.K. said in his stand-up special “Chewed Up.”

I try not to get too repetitive in my references within this column series, but some people are just too great and too strange to ignore. William S. Burroughs, author of one of the most influential novels of our time, “Naked Lunch,” is one of those people.

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. A psychotic is a guy who’s just found out what’s going on,” Burroughs said.

This man once helped our country overcome a giant language barrier, a barrier created by phony politicians and uptight lawyers who once had control over the content, the definition of what art is. We are entering a time very similar to the one in which Burroughs roamed free, his paranoid veins filled with heroin and a typewriter churning out his madness, fighting against all authority to say something real in an age of frauds and materialism.

And speaking of phony politicians, uptight lawyers and heroin:

Ron Paul is one perseverant b—–d, stealing 12 out of 13 delegates from Minnesota over the weekend, despite Romney’s commanding lead in the Republican race. Paul’s vision for the country is possibly the only positive message this country has had since Richard Nixon stepped down from office, facing an impending impeachment.

“Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place,” Paul said in 2007. “Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.”

Now for some honorable mentions.

David Lynch: weirdest director ever for his films “Eraserhead” and “Mulholland Drive.” Strangest serial killer: Albert Fish, known as the Boogey Man. And Walmart: housing the most depraved people in the world.

And, of course, the weirdest column in today’s issue of The Lantern: “Jerry The Fly: Weirdness from Below.”

You’re welcome.

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