This past week saw the death of one of my great comedy heroes, Don Rickles, along with one of my great libertarian heroes, William N. Grigg. As a libertarian humorist, that’s kind of a tough week!
Will Grigg was the great libertarian thinker and writer who is responsible more than anyone else (with the possible exception of Radley Balko) for shedding light on the atrocities committed by the modern American police state. Over the past ten years, Grigg wrote hundreds of articles at his own blog, Pro Libertate, most of them dealing with the American criminal justice system and the wreckage it leaves in its wake. Will Grigg also wrote countless articles and blog posts for lewrockwell.com, and was one of the founding members of the Libertarian Institute. I cannot (and do not) claim to be one of the many people Will Grigg’s work helped to get free from the clutches of the "punitive priesthood," as he called it; I am merely someone who learned from Will Grigg, but that, to my mind, is high praise as it stands.
Don Rickles, of course, scarcely needs an introduction. He was the legendary insult comic dubbed "Mr. Warmth," and was possessed of an inimitable ability to command a stage with his rapid-fire, ceaseless wit. No subject was off limits for Don Rickles, very much including the sacred shibboleths of modern America: race, sex, and handicaps. Rickles had a joke for any occasion, and usually a flood of them; he was callous, he was politicially incorrect, and he was a member of the old school of Jewish comedians who would spontaneously shift into Yiddish just to annoy the audience. He was, in short, the best.
Not that I intend to turn this blog into yet another "endless celebrity eulogies" blog. I’m going somewhere with this. With the passing of Don Rickles, the world has become less funny. With the passing of Will Grigg, the world has become less honest. This has gotten me to thinking about what I’m doing with what time I have; I don’t suggest, of course, that I can fill the void left behind by even one of these giants, much less both, but I should do whatever I can to offset the loss. I gained so much from both of these men that, even though my own modest talents can’t possibly measure up, I think I owe it to them to try.
I mean, we’ve lost Don Rickles! I need to comedy harder! And we’ve lost Will Grigg! I need to liberty harder!
All of which reminds me of Walter Block’s story about Murray Rothbard’s death. As Dr. Block tells it, when he heard of Rothbard’s death, he was depressed, so he went out and rented a stack of movies, then returned home and sat down to binge-watch them. He got partway into the first one and thought to himself "what am I doing? Murray just died! There’s work to be done!"
I’m just that way. There’s work to be done! I need to be writing more: more jokes, more philosophy, more biting social commentary. All of which means: look for an explosion of content here in the coming days! I have those peace bits to do, plus I need to sharpen the knives for Last Week in Weird, and there’s lots of injustice and stupidity that needs some round mockery…
… and sooner or later, I’ll run out of time myself. So for now, I’ll leave you with this Tom Woods meme I made yesterday:
Thanks to Arkansas Libertarian’s Tom Woods meme generator for saving me a few minutes of work on this one. I’m a busy man! I ain’t got time to choose my own font!