Revamped "Anti-SubGenius" essay and URL

From: "Lucius Richards" <>
Subject: Re: revamped essay
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 20:37:42 PDT

Lucius said:
>Hey, you'll be happy to know that I took down that misguided essay about
>>real agenda of the Subgenius Foundation. Now I have a brand new one at
>>same address. If you have a bit of time to read it, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

>From: "Rev. Ivan Stang" <>
>Well, you would have to tell me the URL, first. No offense, but I can't remember which "misguided essay about the real agenda of the SubGenius Foundation" you're refering to, since there have been quite a few, all of them mutually contradictory (now I wonder why that is!) Sometimes I get the impression that certain folks just can't take a joke -- much less tell one. I certainly wish it was easier to SELL one.

>Are you the person that deduced that we actually DIDN'T believe in magic, ghosts, spooks, omens, portents, necromancy, astrology, Mystic Soul Travel (TM) and Get Rich Quick Schemes, but were (SECRETLY!!) just a gaggle of fun-loving scientific rational humanists that like to throw surreal parties, launch amateur rockets, sell Dobbs Wisdom and geek out? Man, I gotta hand it to ya, the Secret Service, Eckankar and the FBI had to PAY guys to figure THAT one out. (The IRS could have set 'em all straight from day one.) Yep, just clowns, trapped, milling about here in the Mud Plane, ignoring the Higher Realms that lie just beyond our apish grasp. And not even making THAT much money at it. Bummer! But, what ya gonna do. Primates Will Be Primates. What is the Law? We Are Not Men!

>1st Stangian Orthodox MegaFisTemple Lodge of the Wrath of Dobbs Yeti, Resurrected

Dude, I'm humbled in the shadow of your superb wit.. now I realize what a dunce I've been about you guys! I'm afraid I wasn't totally straight with you: the essay I wrote is a critical one. Still, I figure the "Church" is REALLY about having an open mind, so you're not the kind of people to just say "I don't wanna deal with that" when you come across ideas which contradict your own. No, you have found a better way; you look it over, cut it up, and paste whatever bits you can satirize into your "rationalist" metanarrative.

Oh, gee, I did it again, didn't I? I guess I'm one of those people who REALLY rants--like, I take stuff seriously but haven't realized the mind-expanding effect of buffering it all with spiteful jest. Talk about elitism--I'm "too good" to be in the ultimate club. I guess I'm just a hypoctite...

Oh yeah, just in case you'll really be moved by what I've written, the address for that essay is:

Why I have a Problem With the Church of the SubGenius

The following is an abbreviated list of my main "issues" with
people the Church, addressed in the second person:

You claim to mock elitism, while representing a clique based on
intellectual superiority, paradigm dominance, and spiteful
stereotypes of a number of groups in our society. The
justification for this is that your club "could, and should,"
include just about everyone; it's only a few sad cases that could
never make it to your level of realness. Apparently, some people
are just too dense to realize that fascist materialism is the
definitive religion of the next millennium.

You assume that cleverness is an indicator of understanding. You
believe that there are two extremes for how people go about life:
one can be smug, clever, and strong, or alienated by a pathetic
insistence on pursuing "insignificant" questions.

You follow an actual pseudo-religion based on finding targets for
mockery in any non-materialistic paradigms. You run these
attributes through your propaganda machine, and the end result is
a brilliant job of spin-doctoring designed to give people
simplistic, pigeonholing beliefs about everyone who doesn't follow
your own brand of Western Materialism. This ongoing cultural
narrative presents the selected attributes as a single stereotype,
disregarding any diversity in the belief systems you attack. Most
of you are smart enough to know that all of this is happening, but
you're also self-deceptive enough to think that all of this
doesn't taint the ideal of honesty guiding your culture.

You mock cultish societies and beliefs, yet you:

* ..Immerse yourselves in an environment of people who
constantly affirm each other's acceptance of the Church

* ..Orient all of your thoughts about certain subjects toward
bolstering basic tenets. You seem to believe that you've come
upon this "truth" collectively, when the fact of the matter
is that the basic opinions are handed down a pyramid by
people who claim to know what "We" all think. You might
consider reexamining the word "They."

* ..Mock others' lack of objectivity, but assume that you've
hit upon a multitude of Ultimate Truths about everything from
society and political ideals to the nature of reality. Your
culture's emphasis on not questioning these meta-narratives
is largely justified by the belief that you "don't follow any
religion." Oh no, you just agree on certain non-Truths that
would be obvious to anyone with a normally functioning brain.
It probably wouldn't do any good for me to point out that
enough non-truths about religious subjects form a solid,
almost fundamentalist foundation for how you view human

You consider yourselves so "real.." yet, despite pretensions of
confidence that you're strong and reasonable, you have to
continually affirm the idea of your worth and righteousness. You
do this with an endless stream of spiteful talk about people who
you regard as inferior to yourselves at an almost inherent level.
(sound familiar?) In other words: if you're so sure of yourselves,
why can't you seem to shut up about it for a day or two? "Bob"
forbid you should stray from your internal censors without the
affirmation of your peers...

You have certain implicit beliefs which you think represent some
kind of innate human wisdom; for example, "if it we feel good
enough about it, there must be something real going on," or "if
enough of us all agree on something at the same time, the truth of
that idea is confirmed." My own take on this is that you're
pursuing an almost religious mission of perpetuating attitudes
which have historically subverted objective thinking in society.

Among other people, you mock those who are openly passionate about
their ideas (as opposed to your own tendency to conceal opinions
in convoluted masses of self-affirming, propagandistic dialogue).
You seem especially bent on making parodies of those who oppose
the suppression of social knowledge--by institution , or simply by
convention. Maybe you do this because your own culture emulates
many of the patterns through which institutions, or society, can
work to subvert objective thinking. The Church teaches people that
it's OK to bask in the feel of a "power in numbers" bully
complex--that Unity excuses subordination. I tell ya, you people
have really got the human spirit all figured out.

You frown upon taking an individualistic sense of passion and
inspiration about developing one's understanding. Instead, you
emphasize an almost fascist mind-set toward forming one's beliefs
and attitudes. You attach mottos such as "No Doubt" or "Question
Questioning" to what's basically in-group conformity. Dogma by any
other name...

Your culture's unity relies heavily on antagonism toward a host of
designated "enemies." The only real difference from other
warmongering is that everything is worded as an endless joke.
Malicious, sardonic wit always helps out when you feel a bout of
doubt. Still, you do have an underlying sense of seriousness, and
a clarity of purpose, which I sort of respect... despite the
slight odor of zombie-like zealousness. Contrary to popular
belief, the best kind of Zombie is the kind that really knows how
to laugh--especially when they find themselves taking an
"incorrect" thought too seriously.

You set up your dialogue--internal as well as external--such that
ideals of true objective thought are always cast in opposition to
your lauded "real" values. Objectivity about your own dogma is
depicted as the enemy of every vague but stirring ideal from
"knowing what's really what" to "being there for each other." For
some reason, I don't always see the connection; it must be because
I lack the intelligence to realize how utopia can only be realized
through homogenous viewpoints and immutable explanations.

You claim that "scientific logic" forms the basis for every
unequivocal statement you adhere to; you don't seem to notice that
also thrown in the pot is a medley of presumptuous inferences,
sweeping generalizations, and many dubiously unsupported
assertions. Your faith in the righteousness of this "logic" is
closer to that of a religious zealot, who eats up any "facts" that
his supposedly omniscient god throws out, than that of a true

...Of course, that's not to say that you're wrong about
everything. To assume that you're "not wrong" about everything,
however, doesn't quite seem to capture the essence of scientific

You work to continually downplay the impact of the beliefs which
really make up your cultural paradigm. The constant barrage of
attacks on "subgenii" obscures the ways that your leading figures
have laid out a whole world view. The technique is simple: tell
people you're not asking them to believe anything, but give them
so many things not to believe that you establish a whole paradigm
without ever saying any of it directly. The "subgenius foundation"
has created a veritable religion, by leading people to put their
faith in "non-beliefs" about politics, biology, the human spirit,
trans-material realities, and "non-ideals" for social interaction,
personal ethics, and so on.

(Along the same lines..) You use the most extreme examples of
non-materialistic philosophies, and refer to the most outrageous
kinds of people from the mystically inclined segment of society.
The fallacy here is that you connect these laughable images to
everyone who falls under the non-materialist umbrella. Considering
the diversity of beliefs among all those people, it seems that
your propaganda's stereotyping is deceptive--a Beavis and Butthead
dialogue justified by your dire mission of "spreading skepticism."
It's a good thing all you brilliant skeptics don't turn your
scrutiny back on your own assumptions; you might actually doubt

Granted, there are a slew of flaky New Agers and UFO cultists out
there, but a person doesn't fall into this category simply by
virtue of living in a Western country and not accepting all the
Materialistic notions that society expects people to follow.
Sorry, guys; I know you have a lot invested in this stereotype,
but things just aren't that simple.

Many people under the umbrella of non-materialism have gotten
where they are largely because they are skeptical. They don't buy
into all the dogma of their self-stereotyping cohorts, but neither
do they accept the most widely upheld perspectives on
trans-material: that it is either a pathetic fantasy, or a
mysterious reality that we have to die to understand. They aren't
trying to be an alienated minority, unlike those who take pride in
an elitist or martyred separation from most of society.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of people like yourselves, however,
it is becoming impossible to be a non-materialist and have most
other people respect this. A large part of your mission, as I'm
sure you know, is not only to point out the alienation of certain
groups, but to actually engineer it. You might tell yourselves
that you're just helping along a natural process of "natural
selection" in our society, but it's more like Manifest Destiny.

Rampant stereotyping of non-materialists ensures that an
increasing number of people are so biased to begin with that any
sign that a person has non-materialistic beliefs will set off a
buzzer in people's heads; some stereotype activates itself, and
the person knows they're dealing with another "flower child" or
"dangerous crackpot." Through such machinations, groups like the
Church protect the integrity of "Normalcy" in our society, while
working to suppress any social openness to alternatives. And all
in the name of getting people to see things clearly...

You define your social attitudes as the antithesis of the "hive
consciousness" which you attribute to "subgenii," as if all it
takes is caring about your friends, having a sense of humor, and
having lots of fun. All these things are great (hey, I actually
like 'em too), but there is a little more to it than that.
Dogmatism takes root in associations that we form in the
background, while we're doing other things. You can be a drone in
a group mind at some level, while also being a happy, creative
individual; it's a little trick called compartmentalizing.

It seems that a lot of people in the Church believe that they
can't take the best aspects of their culture--the part that
encourages imagination, caring, and having fun--without also
accepting a slew of other beliefs and values. The truth is that
most of the time the other stuff is only related to those core
values by association; you don't need one to have the other. To
throw the Church's proclamation back in its own members' faces:
"Wake up; you could find joy and fulfillment without your

My biggest problem with the Church of the SubGenius is probably
the way it does things that have historically worked against a
society achieving freedom, awareness, and genuine peace, while
convincing people that it's the ultimate champion of those

Basically, you're incredible hypocrites, and most of you never
stop condemning others' hypocrisy long enough to catch the irony.
The Church of the SubGenius may be the pinnacle, to date, of a
social mentality which directly subverts the ideals which
humanity's wisest thinkers and mystics have explained.

As to why I even insist on making these observations... I guess I
just figure that someone has to. A total lack of critical
discourse can be a dangerous thing. (if you disagree, I could
mention all the historical examples that illustrate this point.)
I'd rather that a lot of people were doing this with me--discourse
was meant to be social--but that doesn't seem to be the way the
deck's stacked, so here I am...

It gets back to a certain basic division: I believe that people
should be able to form their beliefs themselves, and the Church
believes that people can be happy and creative and open-minded,
but should also conform to a basic foundation that it determines.
Think about all the times in human history when similar war-lines
were drawn; which side do you root for?



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