(11:45 pm 2-2-95)What follows is a good example of why I don't usually write anything in the morning. I tend to be cranky as all heck-out for the first couple of hours of the day. I got in late last night from my trip to NYC and the Big Time, whupped, and when I looked at my mail and listened to the messages it was all rather anticlimactic. When I woke up, I wrote the nasty first part of this. As the caffeine balance leveled out I started feeling better, and you can actually observe that happening in the course of this little memoir. (I write these things so I won't have to answer the same questions over and over again.) By the end of it, I'm actually feeling fairly chipper.


(8 am to 10 am 2-2-95) NO WONDER some SubGeniuses quit the Church after working hard on it. They find they're being treated better by the PINKS than by their own fellow SubGenii. Sometimes I know just how it feels.

I get back from busting my butt in New York doing interview after interview, trying to sell this damn book since the publishers aren't, and what do I find on alt.slack? Some BRAVE dude has decided to "reveal the horrible truth" by reprinting Bob Black's kook letter to Mondo 2000 from 4 years ago (and alt.slackers are BELIEVING everything in it EXCEPT the ONE TRUE STATEMENT); three phone messages from Buck Naked COMPLAINING about my giving him credit for the Watch Smashing ceremony on the Jon Stewart show WITHOUT saying "FORMER Pastor Buck Naked"; and all of two letters from SubGenii in the email, both saying, "Well, I was disappointed by your appearance, but I won't take up any more of your time because I'm sure you're being FLOODED with congratulatory email from ass-kissers." And that's it. There WAS plenty of other email, but it was all from people who didn't mention the TV show. My ass does not feel particularly well-kissed.

WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER?? I mean, if I'm not gonna at least get my ASS KISSED?

((Later note: ass-kissery occurred later. My butt thanks you all.))

Hey, I'm REAL SORRY if the Jon Stewart show Stang appearance wasn't up to your expectations. I know how you envision it: I get off the plane and a limo picks me up. I suck down martinis all the way to my fancy hotel and immediately start partying with groupies. Then I get to the studio and say, "Listen, I want to go on in the LAST 5 MINUTES so I only have to do the most simple-minded intro to the Church I can think of," and after the show I go backstage for the 40 blowjobs.

I had intended to write a real FUNNY piece about how it really was, but what's the point? I'm the evil sold-out bad guy from now on. I think you should replace me with one of these Professional SubGenius Debunkers. Then, I could slack off and be just a regular, ordinary SubGenius, spreading nasty gossip about all the other SubGenii I ever met. (And you better hope I DON'T start doing that, because unlike most of you, I actually HAVE MET a large percentage of you, and I'm sure I could think of at least a few mean, snotty things to say about EVERYBODY. All I'd have to do is OMIT FACTS JUDICIOUSLY like the experts do.)


Rev. Ivan "Can't Do Anything Right" Stang
Exhausted and Feeling Sorry For Myself


Naw, naw, I'm not gonna let myself get sucked into that mode. At least my wife and kids said I did good. So did Rev. Bleepo, who was the one who gave the Jon Stewart people Revelation X and got the ball rolling. The kids at my kids' high school liked it -- and THAT was what made me feel better about the whole thing. Who WATCHES the Jon Stewart show? LONG-TIME SAVED SUBGENIUSES? No, HIGH SCHOOL and COLLEGE age POTENTIAL CHURCH SALES VICTIMS watch that show. While walking up to the building where they tape it, I got a look at the studio audience that was lined up outside, waiting to go in. IT WAS ALL KIDS!! Utterly "PINK" "LOOKING" kids. (Keep in mind, I'm an ancient codger of 41; anybody under thirty is a "kid" to me.) And I thought, "Man, if I can get even ONE of these creatures to laugh THE WAY I MEAN THEM TO, I'll have worked a miracle." Then I get inside and discover that the crooner Tony Bennett and the supermodel Zyla Twang or whatever her name is are on first, and also, the producers want me to wear some kind of WACKY CLOTHES instead of my plain jeans and Dobbs shirt (I declined), because nobody knows who I am and this is TV so there has to be some VISUAL INTEREST, and can I do some kind of ACTION SHTICK so the cameras will be amused? "And by the way you're only on for 5 minutes." The only ACTION SHTICK I could think of that could be done THAT FAST, with even two minutes left over to talk about Dobbs vs. the FUCKING CONSPIRACY, was the Watch Smashing, so I said, okay, I'll need a sledgehammer and an old watch -- and then I thought, OH HELL, that's Buck Naked's original idea from 1980, and Buck already thinks I'm a non-Hierarch-ignoring, snobbish sold-out bastard, so I should at least give him credit just to prove him wrong -- and even THAT backfired... I swear, you CANNOT WIN with some people. (Buck has no idea that he's been slammed, flamed and dragged through the mud on alt.slack no end, and that me and Nenslo are the only ones who came to his defense (mainly because he probably doesn't even know alt.slack EXISTS and thus can't defend himself))

And, needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves and headaches up until the exact moment that I walked out onto that stage in front of those cameras. I've done hundreds of radio interviews but I have NEVER been on American talk TV outside of silly local public access shows years ago. So I was scared shitless, although Jon Stewart was merciful and gave me a chance to "get into it," given the short time. THANK DOBBS there were 4 SubGenii in that live audience -- Rev. Bleepo Abernathy. who's started the whole ball rolling, plus younger Subs Rev. Nickie, Kid Ginsu, Rev. Matt -- AND I DIDN'T EVEN GET TO MEET 'EM!! I found Bleepo, but the 3 Dobbs Youth had already left, I guess; as soon as I could, I went back out to the stage area after the show, and then to the audience exit, looking for 'em... I know Kid Ginsu, but I NEVER SAW YOUR FACE, MAN -- I WAS LOOKIN' -- anyway, I feel bad about that, but at least Bleepo and I got to go get a burger afterwards. But we had to go to bed early in order to tape an interview for K-ROCK early the next morning. (In his day job, Bleepo is a Sunday morning DJ there as well as their main production head.)

Incidentally, K-ROCK is where Howard Stern's show is done live, and they were in the other rooms doing their thing while Bleepo and I were taping a short SubG interview. I got to meet Stuttering John briefly, but he and Babba-Booey were looking desperately for a tape at the time, so he probably doesn't even remember.) Then I got on the plane and came home.

BEFORE the Jon Stewart taping, a Washington Post reporter named Rich Leiby conducted an all-day interview with me that mainly turned into a nice long Slackful conversation. He seemed like a really in-tune, with-it reporter, and we had some fun browsing through NYC wholesale bulldada toy shops and porno stores. I have very high hopes for the Washington Post piece, which will probably be out Monday, Feb. 6. He has been interviewing other SubGenii (and one former SubGenius) yesterday and today.

Look, folks, I'm just trying to spread the word of "Bob" to somebody besides underground fanzine readers. WE ONLY HAVE 3 MORE YEARS!!!

Incidentally, when I first sat down with Stewart on the air, the first thing he did was ask about the embarrassing black smudge on my right hand. He said, "Is that a tattoo or dirt or what?" and I said, "Oh, we ALL have to get those..." (quoting something Sterno once told some Mormons about HIS tattoo)... but here's what it was. Rev. DuChez had sent a big box of MegaWarHeads candy to us, praise "Lou," and they come with little-kid temporary tattoos of the WarHeads Mascot in a hot rod. Last Saturday my daughter affixed one of those tattoos to my hand. I thought, "This'll probably peel off in half an hour." No. The next day it had turned BLACK, and NO AMOUNT OF SCRAPING AND TURPENTINE would remove the smudge. It was still there 4 days later, and is still there now.

At least my case of Preacher's Lip had cleared up.

In case you wondered -- I never even laid eyes on Tony Bennett except when he sang at the end, nor the supermodel; Jon Stewart said hello to me before the show, and we had a short friendly chat right afterwards, but that was the extent of my celebrity hob-nobbing. Stewart actually seemed like an okay guy. He had never heard of the Church before that show, however. Bleepo Abernathy is the only reason anybody at that show knew about us.

The bottom line, though, is: DID IT GO OVER WITH STEWART'S AUDIENCE WELL ENOUGH TO SELL MORE BOOKS AND SPREAD THE WOR PROPERLY?? Judging from the reactions of the high school kids monitored by MY high school kids, it did indeed do that. The kids of (CENSORED) High think "Bob" and Xandy's dad are cool, and NOT STUPID. That was an overiding concern for me -- to NOT EMBARRASS MY FAMILY. To make it through the thing WITHOUT SHOWING FEAR was ALL I ASKED. They are proud of me. So I don't really GIVE A HALF-ASSED HOOT what anybody else thinks.

And, NO, no make-up person did anything to my hair. I keep being asked that. My wife's coworkers were particularly amazed. That's the way my hair ALWAYS LOOKS except obviously, I have to keep it tied back most of the time so it doesn't get into my MOUTH.

I just now took a gander at the videotape of the show. And, by golly, by gum, I think I did a DARNED GOOD JOB, CONSIDERING WHAT I WAS UP AGAINST. So you amateurs can gripe all you want, but I'd like to see any of YOU get out there and successfully ACT as if you WEREN'T SCARED HALF TO DEATH.

Also, I noticed that at the very end, the camera dollies back from a Dobbs pin affixed to a SUBGENIUS "BABE." (Pardon the taboo expression, I should be more p.c..) IS THAT REV. NICKIE?? HUBBA HUBBA!!


(12:30 am 2-3-95) I called Buck this afternoon and we worked out our differences. He read to me his upcoming anti-SubGenius "Open Letter to Ivan Stang," saying he didn't mean any of it personally or in a bad way, even though he's basically calling me an amoral, bossy coward -- and the weird thing is, I know he ACTUALLY MEANS IT. In fact I told him that if he could give it to me on disc, I would POST it here even though I heartily disagree with most of what he says, because I think it will clear up once and for all anybody's questions about just what Buck's deal is. In other words, I think it reveals far more about HIM than he knows. And I TOLD him that. Buck is not a "bad person" and nobody "means more well" than he, and all his criticisms are matters of interpretation -- unlike Bob Black's criticisms, which are full of flat out lies. Incidentally, I asked Buck if he knew what "alt.slack" was and he said he didn't, but he didn't particularly seem to care what it was, either. (I explained it to him and he said he was already "up on that Internet stuff".) He also mentioned that he got married on Dec. 28th and his new wife is expecting a child that he will name "Buck." (Let's hope it's a boy in that case!) You can imagine, this was a strange and fractured sort of long conversation, seeing as how Buck was basically saying I was all wrong, all washed up, lost my sense of humor, and an asshole, but that he still liked me. And I believe that, because he's not saying anything BEHIND MY BACK, you see. So look for Buck's SubGenius Deprogramming documents either from me or from Rev. Andrew.

Buck was also upset at certain things in Revelation X which he considered fascist. The line, "YOU YES YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO STALK, KILL, EAT HUMAN BEINGS --" suggested an "ethnic cleansing" philosophy to him. He is bothered by our terrible ambiguity about whether there are even such things as "good" and "evil." I think where we let Buck down was in not following through like a traditional religion -- we never draw the line and say, "THIS is wrong" and THIS is right." He considers that ambiguity amoral. Well, there's ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY that I KNOW is UTTERLY, FOREVER, and IN ALL CASES "RIGHT" -- and that's "FUCK 'EM IF THEY CAN'T TAKE A JOKE." I'm sorry, but YOU WILL NOT GET STRAIGHT ANSWERS from THIS RELIGION unless you get 'em STRAIGHT FROM DOBBS!

And yes, it WAS Rev. Nickie.

Thank you for your patience.

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