The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'subgenius'
A judge in the United States has denied a woman custody of her child after seeing photographs of her participating in Church of the SubGenius events; or so she says, anyway:
On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. Kohl has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.
The judge, allegedly a very strict Catholic, became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ — especially the photo where Jesus [Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a "dildo".
His Honor also strongly disapproved of the photos of Mary Magdalen [Rachel Bevilacqua] in a bondage dress and papier maché goat's head. The judge repeatedly asked, "Why a goat? What's so significant about a goat's head?" When Rachel replied, "I just thought the word 'goat' was funny," Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a "pervert," "mentally ill," "lying," and a participant in "sex orgies." The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect "severe mental illness". Rachel has had no contact with Kohl since that day, February 3, 2006.Various SubGenii, Discordians, pagans and miscellaneous freakonauts are getting involved in mounting an appeal, a process which is expected to cost US$50,000. Some are concerned that, should this judgment be allowed to stand, it may set a precedent denying practitioners of non-traditional lifestyles equality before the law when it comes to child custody.
There is a discussion of this case on Metafilter, with some comments casting doubt on the SubGeniis' account of the case.
(via Boing Boing)
An interesting article about Jack Chick, author of numerous Christian Fundamentalist crackpot tracts and ironic inspiration to several generations of underground comics artists, including Daniel Clowes and Robert Crumb.
When Clowes, whose screenplay for the indie film Ghost World received an Academy Award nomination, was in college, he read 80 Chick tracts in one sitting. "By the end of the night I was convinced I was going to hell," he says. "I had never been so terrified by a comic book."
The movie will consist of a series of oil paintings that the camera will dramatically pan across to give the appearance of movement. Carter has completed most of the paintings, which are being stored in the offices of Chick Publications. Fans have encouraged me to try to see them. Kurt Kuersteiner, Web master of the Jack Chick Museum of Fine Art (an online fan site that carries news and reviews of nearly all of Chick's works), describes them as modern masterpieces. "There is this beautiful picture of people languishing in hell, with a dragon's head blowing hot flames," he says.
(Hang on, isn't "Kurt Kuersteiner" an alias used by SubGenius church figure Janor Hypercleats?)
America is experiencing a rise in do-it-yourself religion; this ranges from trivial examples (i.e., Catholics who privately practice contraception or Jews who don't keep kosher) to more elaborate combinations (Judaism/Buddhism is an extremely popular combination, apparently, though others, like Buddhism, Islam and the Norse pantheon, exist), and various made-to-order pop-cultural syncretisms (such as Elvis religion and self-help-book "angel" spirituality). Is this the logical combination of the two American traditions of religious identity and commodity consumerism? (via Plastic)
Neopagans themselves mix all sorts of spiritual ingredients -- and not always consciously. Many carry baggage from the churches they've supposedly rejected. "The former Catholics are the ones that are into the big ceremonial magic, because that's what they grew up with -- the big Catholic ceremonies," argues Ceredwyn Alexander, a 33-year-old pagan (and former Catholic) who lives in Middlebury, Vermont. "And the Baptist pagans tend to be the rule-oriented pagans: 'You must be facing the east at this particular time of day, and anything other than that is evil and wrong!'"
Mind you, real-world religions aren't the only thing being appropriated into new DIY spiritualities; some prefer to base their religious beliefs on works of fiction and popular culture:
So it was that in 1993 members of the Order of the Red Grail, a Wiccan group in Nebraska, held an "experimental magickal working from the High Elven point of view," drawing on the world invented by Tolkien. And so it was that in the mid-'80s some occultists in California -- not a pagan group, my informant stresses, though there were some pagans among them -- attempted to channel the Amazing Spider-Man. The collective unconscious was probed, and a persona claiming to be Peter Parker emerged; the magicians then tested the alleged superhero by asking what would take place in the next few issues of the comic book. Alas, the channeler's predictions proved inaccurate, thus nipping the project in the bud.
One person's High Elven is another person's High Elvis, of course; "Elvis miracles" have been reported for decades now, and there are "serious" Churches of Elvis. There's even a book about "Elvis spirituality". And then of course are the Jedi; sure, most of them put "Jedi" on their census forms just for the hell of it, but there are surely a few who find deep spiritual meaning in lightsaber battles and dyslexic muppets.
Such playfulness marks the so-called Free Religions. Under this header one finds Discordianism, the "Non-Prophet Irreligious Disorganization" devoted to the Greco-Roman goddess of disorder; the Church of the SubGenius, inspired not by classical mythology but by conspiracy theories, UFO cults, and sales manuals; and the Moorish Orthodox Church, which might best be described as Discordianism crossed with Afro-American Islam. Other Free Religions are one-off efforts, sometimes launched by followers of other free faiths.
That seems to be right; what Discordian or SubGenius hasn't at some stage (and often under the influence of various substances) declared themselves on a whim to be the High Pope-God-Emperor of the First Universal Church of Spray-On Cheese or something?
A while ago I was thinking that, while memes like that occur everywhere, the placing of them in a religious context seems to be a very American idea. I.e., if Discordianism originated in, say, England or France (or even Australia), it probably wouldn't classify itself as a religion; perhaps it would be an art movement, or a philosophical experiment, or perhaps just a meme, a signifier marking out those In The Know.
(I put down "Discordian" on my last few census forms, though I don't regard it as a religion, any more than Dadaism or Situationism was a religion. (One could argue that Marxism, one of the parents of Situationism, shows the characteristics of being a religion, but that's another can of worms altogether.))
A researcher at the University of Hertfordshire (though it doesn't say which faculty he's attached to) claims that luck is a real phenomenon; there are "lucky" and "unlucky" people, and the former differ from the latter by having a more positive outlook on life. As such, Richard Wiseman has been running a "luck school" to teach people how to be more lucky, and claims an 80% success rate.
Of course, if that's too simple for you, you could always send money to "Bob" and request him to tilt the Luck Plane favourably for you.
Factoid of the day: Japanese has a word for the concept of slack. The word is "yutori" - to take it easy. It means having room or a surplus of something, be it time or money. (ta, Toby)
A few prank-related items: Via Jimbob, an interview with SubGenius Paul Mavrides from the Re/Search Pranks book (which is recommended; in particular, the Boyd Rice interview is most inspiring).
A SubGenius friend named Janor was watching a TV Preach-a-Thon. The preacher was taking phone calls from people who needed "the healing help of the Lord," so Janor put on his "hick" accent and called him up, impersonating a totally paranoid man who had been driven crazy by Jesus. He said something like, "Jesus scares me to death -- I'm sure Jesus is the Devil in disguise. Isn't Jesus like a vampire, because he rose from the dead and all his followers are supposed to drink blood and eat flesh?" The host immediately got sucked in, saying, "No, son! You're confused!" Janor continued (in a quavering voice), "I tried to go to church, but they said I was possessed by the Devil. Then they stood around in a circle and _beat_ me with their Bibles, and now I can't even go _near_ a Bible! I get scared just thinking about it!" He wasted the preacher's entire show taking in circles. The more the guy tried to help him, the worse it got!
And then, via the Law of the Playground site featured here earlier, there's an account of a prank performed on a Melbourne train line sometime in the 1970s; it reads like something out of How To Make Trouble and Influence People.
The Church of the SubGenius' bulldada artists have not been silent since the WTC attack and the Death Of Irony; indeed, they have come up with two galleries of themed art/commentary, which ranges from anti-Bin Laden posters to subversive propaganda and just plain Bad Attitude; not to mention this suggestion for how to rebuild the WTC, and an eerie actual ad run in a Belgian magazine sometime before the WTC attack. All in all, it's heartening to know that the SubG movement hasn't devolved en masse into jingoistic flag-waving glorps like certain web sites we could name... Praise "Bob"! (Ta, Peter!)
Rebranding for the New Millennium: Since X-Day, and the arrival of the Xist Pleasure Saucers, the Church of the SubGenius' profile in the fringe cult marketplace has declined somewhat. To counter this, the Church has now selected a new logo.
Personally, I love it. It's very clique-ish, as it represents a secret society (us) where only the *true* SubGenii wiill recognize the logo. The Dobbshead is everywhere, and any moron can (and does) rip it off and use it for whatever. But the "Bob" Icon represents only one thing: SLACK.
Expect to see the new SubGenius Eikon scrawled cryptically in random places, next to muted posthorns, three-fish glyphs and "THIS IS A HEAVY PRODUCT" stickers. And praise "Bob".
A piece interviewing Mark Mothersbaugh, former member of Devo, SubGenius minister, and film-score composer:
To resolve some of the contradictions between his earlier band and his current line of work, Mothersbaugh said that for a while he would slip subversive messages into his advertising music. He claimed to have inserted a subliminal voice saying ``sugar will rot your teeth'' into a commercial for Gummi Savers. He said he also added ``avoid conspicuous consumption'' to a campaign for BMW and ``biology is destiny'' to a cosmetics commercial.
(He's now making ring tones for Nokia?)
mp3.com update: SubGenius ranters Phineas Narco have some material up on mp3.com; mostly consisting of found sounds and ranting over a beat. Praise "Bob"!