follow us in feedly
Strunk and White supremacy: Racist secessionist eggheads obsessed with spelling and usage


Take note, Tea Party: No spelling mistakes here
 
The League of the South is not your ordinary band of Southern racists. In describing the group, the Southern Poverty Law Center emphasizes its intellectual credentials—“Originally founded by a group that included many Southern university professors, the group lost its Ph.D.s as it became more explicitly racist.” Hmmm. It seems that the professorial roots of the group have never really gone away, no matter how small the group is today. The group’s mission is, per the SPLC, is as follows: “The league believes the “godly” nation it wants to form should be run by an “Anglo-Celtic” (read: white) elite that would establish a Christian theocratic state and politically dominate blacks and other minorities.” It turns out that the League of the South takes that “Anglo-Celtic” thing pretty seriously.

Buried on the group’s website is a series of pages on the theme of “Verbal Independence.”  They were written by Dr. James Everett Kibler Jr., and just by using periods to cap off the “Dr.” and the “Jr.” there, I’m annoying the good doctor mightily, for as he writes, seeking an unimpeachable Southern authority to justify his preference: “Mr Mrs Ms Dr Sr Jr Rev Esq—We do not use a period with these abbreviations. Interestingly, the great Southern writer William Faulkner always deleted the period in Mr and Mrs. ... We Southerners certainly thus have powerful precedent in adopting these forms used by the 20th century writer most celebrated worldwide. So, indeed, thank you Mr (no period) Faulkner.” Kibler is identified as the League’s “Cultural Committee Chairman.”
 

Dr. James Everett Kibler Jr.
 
So what kind of “style guide” does a committed racist write? Turns out, one that would not garner any attention whatsoever in the United Kingdom. That is to say, the bulk of Kibler’s guide is dedicated to such exciting prescriptions as spelling “color” with an extra “u,” replacing the “z” in “organize” with an “s,” and so on. Kibler even takes pains to insist upon single quotation marks in preference to double quotation marks and vice versa, just like they do in England. Kibler also includes a “special section” of words not covered by any rule, such as cheque, meagre, enquiry, and so on.

Once you get past the British-American style recommendations, the style guide degenerates into a series of ad hoc rules designed to retrofit a system of grammar around preexisting Southern phraseology, as in the paragraph that states that “mash” is too a perfectly acceptable synonym for “press,” as in telling someone to “mash three, please” in an elevator. (It took me a few moments to glean his meaning, actually, but I’m a nasty Northern type.) Amusingly, his irritation over this word apparently stems from incidents “in a Northern city (like Atlanta or Charlotte).” Burn! Take that, Atlanta!

One of KIbler’s longest entries is about the distinction between the words raise and rear. Now, I have to confess .... I’m an editor by trade, I’ve edited at least 150 books in my time as well as countless other pieces of printed matter. I’ve read style guides very much like that produced by Dr. Kibler (only with less racism). I’m a devotee of the Chicago Manual of Style. So all this stuff is very, very familiar to me. I do this for a living, I think about the differences between titular and eponymous, between further and farther, and much else.

All of that is preamble to this: confession: I have never seriously considered the words raise and rear as being of especial interest. Not so Dr. Kibler—he is very upset about raise and rear. Let’s give him the floor (note that the removal of apostrophes from single-syllable words accords with one of his rules):
 

A celebrated Pulitzer prize winning, South-hating author of my acquaintance once chastised me in an emotional outburst for my saying a certain black lady was raised near my home. ‘Like turnips!’ he blazed with righteousness, saying I had used a racially demeaning figure of speech like the ‘n-word’ or boy. Even after I got over my initial shock, I did not attempt to explain what most Southerners know—that we in the South are (if we are fortunate enough) all raised, both black and white, and not reared. And it is, indeed, no doubt, like turnips with us—yes, and also like cotton, okra, and beans—and with no shame in that! Any agrarian people well knows the image is a good one, for crops need the careful long process of planting, daily tendance, and then the grace of God over all—to yield up a successful crop. Raising requires great loving care and more than just biological growth. So out of our noble Southern agrarian heritage, let us keep our expression to raise, and foreswear to rear. And that will make certain we also keep the good old countryman’s phrase, ‘Boy, aint you had no raising?’ And we’ll know precisely what we mean. Because inherent in raising is good, courteous behaviour—good manners which must be taught in social situations by the family.

 
Call me crazy, but if touchy incidents involving race yielding a ringing sense of ressentiment constitute the core of your orthographical and grammatical agenda, it may be that you’re not really all that interested in spelling and grammar to begin with.
 

A League of the South billboard—again, no typos
 
Thanks to Mark Davis!
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Nasty neighbor: Old man porn ninja terrorizes innocent neighbors
09.17.2014
10:51 am

Topics:
Current Events
Kooks
Sex

Tags:
Jimmy


 
Meet crotchety old man “Jimmy.” Jimmy lives in Queens Village, NY, and loves to terrorize his Indian neighbors every day with pornographic images hanging in the front window of his home. Jimmy’s probably hoping the images are so offensive to his neighbors and to their 4-year-old son, that they’ll eventually move out. Jimmy’s one nasty son of a gun. It’s so bad, the neighbors have resorted to hanging a sheet on their front porch to block the view of Jimmy’s house.

Sanjeev Aggurawal and his family are the neighbors the pictures appear to be aimed at offending the most.

“He’s upset because some Indian guy moved in next door. That’s the basic thing,” Sanjeev Aggurawal said.

Police have been called on Jimmy’s ass before, but like a skillful old porn ninja, Jimmy removes the images before they arrive and promptly puts them back up when they’re gone. Jimmy must be stopped!

Fuckin’ Jimmy, man…

 
via ABC 13 and h/t Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Marxist Minstrels: The Beatles want to sexually hypnotize you into Communism!
08.19.2014
12:15 pm

Topics:
Kooks

Tags:
The Beatles
communism
David A. Noebel

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles
 
If you’re like me, you can’t resist a good piece of moral panic red-baiting propaganda, especially when it’s directed at a social phenomenon that seems so chaste by today’s standards. As luck might have it, I recently came across the 1974 opus, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, by the good Reverend David A. Noebel.

Evangelical tracts denouncing rock ‘n’ roll, especially as related to either homosexuality or “race mixing,” aren’t hard to find if you scour antique shops in middle America, but as something of a connoisseur of the genre, I have yet to find a piece of literature that so succinctly combines the collective fears of old, white, crazy Christian dudes. David Noebel, ordained in 1961, started his illustrious career with the above pamphlet, Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles. He saw the rise of Beatlemania as the result of Communist indoctrination via hypnosis (yup, just like the title), a thesis he developed more thoroughly in his 1964 book, Rhythm, Riots, and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, the Communist Master Music Plan. The book transitioned from The Beatles to folk artists, focusing on Bob Dylan, his colleagues, and their earlier influences. This is at least slightly more understandable, when one considers the political leanings of the folk movement, frequently with explicit anti-racist, pro-labor lyrics.

The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music however, synthesizes all of his previous work, citing children’s records, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll as being part and parcel to some elaborate integrationist, free-love, Communist conspiracy. As a rock ‘n’ roll propaganda collector, I’m used to trudging through a lot of this stuff, and the majority of it is incoherent ramblings—the sort of thing you’d read in a madman’s personal manifesto. Noebel is compelling because he’s intelligent, coherent, and well-researched, despite being absolutely paranoid and utterly mad. Aside from some minor comma abuse, he has a clear, if discursive thesis: rock ‘n’ roll is turning kids into gay, Communist miscegenators.

Some of his “evidence” is fascinating. For example, Alan Freed’s “payola scandal”—who was paying him to play all those rock ‘n’ roll records to unsuspecting teenagers? Communist record companies invade the airwaves by bribery, infecting the youth with music that is ““un-Christian, mentally unsettling, revolutionary and a medium for promiscuity.” He cites psychological studies, sociological statistics, numerology, etc. to scientifically “prove” the moral degradation incited by popular music, causing everything from sky-rocketing “illegitimate” birth rates to sexual rioting. Lots of sexual rioting. The appendices are incredibly dense and well-cited.

What follows his strange assessment of rock ‘n’ roll is an (actually, semi-accurate) account of the American Left, including some background of the American Communist Party and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Then of course, Noebel posits that folk artists were inspiring the youth to instigate a race war. He believed acoustic musicians like Malvina Reynolds (her “Little Boxes” is the theme music to Weeds) and Pete Seeger were instructing white students to join with “radical groups of Negro racists” so that they might revolt and achieve racial dominance in America. The weirdest part of all this is that by 1974, integration was (at least, on paper) complete. The folk artists who were most explicitly leftist or Communist weren’t a particular focus of pop culture, The Beatles had already long been broken up, and he never quite explains how these two very distinct fanbases are somehow connected (except that they’re obviously both very Communist). One can only imagine the lovely psychosis that The MC5 would have brought him.

Noebel is still living today, and I recommend checking out his extensive collection of YouTube videos and blog, if you’re looking for a laugh. These days, he’s much more on the “Obama’s a Socialist” train and decrying “Warmism” (Noebel’s evocative name for climate change) than he is into denouncing rock ‘n’ roll. Hell, even Paul Ryan loves Rage Against the Machine. Still, his older words bring an odd comfort, when we read his treatise on rock ‘n’ roll, comparing it to a children’s record that supposedly contained subliminal messages only audible when the record is played in reverse; “the noise that many of our youth call music is analogous to the story tape played backwards. It is invigorating, vulgarizing, and orgiastic. It is destroying our youth’s ability to relax, reflect, study, pray, and meditate, and is in fact preparing them for riot, civil disobedience, and revolution.” Dear god, I hope so.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Woman tried to poison roommates after they caught her having sex with dogs
08.15.2014
08:04 am

Topics:
Kooks
Sex
U.S.A.!!!
Unorthodox

Tags:
bestiality


If you’ve ever wondered what kind of person would…

The story goes that Ernest Hemingway once made a $10 bet that he could make readers cry with a six-word short story. Hemingway wrote:

“For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

That story may be apocryphal, but in this case, packing a narrative into a single sentence or even a title was pretty easy. However inducing tears in the reader is unlikely to happen this time. Something else maybe, but not necessarily “sadness” per se...

Via The Raw Story:

An Albuquerque woman tried to poison her two roommates after one of them caught her having sex with a dog, police said.

One of the roommates said she found 53-year-old Shari Walters lying nude in a backyard shed with her German shepherd, Spike.

Walters admitted to having sex with both of the roommate’s German shepherds, the woman said.

A male roommate who had been dating Walters broke up with her “because she was having sex with dogs,” police said.

I really can’t say I blame ‘im!

The Gollum-esque Walters is alleged to have spiked their water with rubbing alcohol and of putting toilet bowl cleanser in the meal she had prepared for them. She also is said to have admitted that she’s been having sex with canines since the apparently not-so-tender age of 14.

Walters was charged with aggravated battery, cruelty or extreme cruelty to animals, and assault with intent to commit a violent felony. Not to mention, her photo is plastered all over the Internet today in a, uh… dogfucker kinda context. Both roommates were treated for minor injuries and poisoning.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Fire Ted: Make Ted Nugent feel some pain! C’mon it’s fun!


 
Ted Nugent. Trophy hunter. Racist moron. Low I.Q. buffoon. Piss-and-shit-in-his-pants draft dodger. Tea party patriot…

After three casinos on Indian reservations cancelled Ted Nugent’s scheduled appearances recently due to his frequent offensive and insensitive public statements, the Nuge, to no one’s surprise, decided to escalate matters by calling Native American protesters “unclean vermin.” He seemed proud of having offended them.

On Thursday, Nugent vented again on his Facebook page about protesters from the United Urban Warrior Society:

WE ARE ON OUR JET NOW HEADING FOR TOLEDO RIBFEST JAM AFTER AN INSANE INCREDIBLE OUT OF BODY ULTRAROCKOUT at the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis SD! Simply astonishing gig! 4 stinkyass unclean dipshit protestors that admitted they hate me AND ALL WHITE PEOPLE THAT STOLE THEIR LAND BULLSHIT!!

See, it aint me they hate, they hate all Americans that produce & live the American Dream. Simply insane!

Or so says Sarah Palin with an electric guitar and loincloth.
 

 
A “Ted Nugent Rib-Off” Facebook page was set up to encourage turnout for a protest at Nugent’s concert tomorrow night in Ohio:

Sure, Nugent has a right to free expression under the First Amendment. But no matter what your political views, every citizen also has a right and in a democracy, a civic responsibility to protest bigotry and intolerance. That’s why we are urging everyone to add their voice, speak out, and join in protest of the appearance of this man and his vile stream of hate speech in our community!

Good on them. Toledo has some fine citizens. Who needs this jerk?

There’s also been some movement online to pressure various concert halls, venues and music festivals to cancel Ted Nugent appearances, or to simply not book him at all. Apparently many people booking these shows are quite unaware of Nugent’s penchant for xenophobic, sexist and racist comments, and in a sense, I applaud their innocence and ignorance of this man, because it’s quite reasonable to ignore such a malignant asshat, right? That’s why signing a petition like this—it’s sent to places booking him—actually matters.

If you’re booking a hall in a small town and you get a whiff of the sulphur trailing behind Ted Nugent, why would you want to risk embarrassing your town or losing your livelihood over a fucking loose cannon asshole like Ted Nugent? What positive effect can that possibly have on your career? The downside, for anyone with half a brain is… well, obvious. A Texas town paid toxic Ted $16,000 not to show up at its July 4th fireworks after receiving complaints over his scheduled appearance.

Even shock jocks should view this man with extreme caution, this much seems obvious by now. He’s a perpetual motion machine of what you probably don’t need to be associated with professionally. Just ask Mitt Romney!

Ted Nugent can be hurt—in his bank account, where it will affect him the most—if venues just say “no” to doing business with the guy the same way they’d refuse to do business with the Ku Klux Klan or a NAMBLA convention. Ted Nugent, he’s a pernicious herpes sore on the asshole of American culture—the living, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging cave man embodiment of “Idiocracy” if ever there was one—won’t you have some fun by signing this petition and then posting it directly to Uncle Ted’s Facebook page? (He personally reads everything. You can picture him getting enraged behind his keyboard like a bipolar bigot on Breitbart in each of his replies. He got into it once with my wife and when she easily bested him in an argument—even his fans agreed with her point—humiliated, like a little baby he deleted the entire thread.)

They let you make a comment when you sign. I encourage you to be creative and as emasculating as is possible and then to spread it around to all your friends

It’s First Amendment vigilante justice, the kind you’d think the Nuge himself might even appreciate if he personally wasn’t the helpless target. Ted Nugent can go suck on his own little machine gun. Not a shot will be fired—just Ted!
 

 
The reason Ted Nugent’s name is seldom seen on “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” lists isn’t because he’s a toxic bigot, it’s because he’s a shitty musician making terrible music for morons. Here’s Ted Nugent’s one good song, “Journey to the Center of Your Mind” performed with the Amboy Dukes. He’s been losing IQ points since this moment, the (sole) musical high point of his overlong career:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Wally George, insane, screaming Reagan-era TV demagogue interviews GWAR and The Mentors
08.07.2014
06:51 am

Topics:
Kooks
Television

Tags:
Wally George
Hot Seat
Mentors
GWAR


 
Every weekday after school, I used to tune into KDOC to watch Wally George spit right-wing hate from a dingy studio in Anaheim. I must have found it comforting in the same way procedural dramas or reality shows can be comforting. The simplicity of the dramatic formula, the banishment of thoughts and thinking from the action, and the very narrow range of rhetorical and emotional possibilities are all balm for the soul.

Wally’s set was austere and his talismans were few: a gavel, an American flag, a photo of a space shuttle launch with the caption “USA IS #1,” and an outrageous combover. Somehow, I had learned that he was estranged from his daughter, the actress Rebecca De Mornay. He seemed like he was maybe not the most sympathetic resident of Orange County.

George was all assertion, no argument, and he didn’t actually say very much—it was all about how he said it. With his voice always rising in pitch and volume, George punctuated his screams by slapping his desk or banging his gavel. His laconic cries left no doubt about his political views. He was for Reagan, Bush, televised executions, Star Wars, the war on drugs, the war in Iraq; against abortion, health care, gay people, evolutionists, devil worshipers, obscenity, metal, punk, and women. He did think racism was a bad thing, or said so.

Gauging the sincerity of these opinions was never easy because the show was so theatrical. To give you a taste of the level of discourse, here’s a brief exchange about the death penalty with regular Hot Seat guest Rick Scouler:

“First of all, what we have to admit is that the death penalty does not cause a downward trend in murder. Okay? That’s proven. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a jerk.”

“No, Rick—the first thing we have to admit is that you are an idiotic nerd!

(George also liked the insults “stupid moron,” “freako” and, for women, “bimbo.”)

As with George himself, it’s often hard to tell how committed the audience was to any position. On every show, spectators would chant “SICK! SICK! SICK!” and heckle the guests, but the crowd looks and sounds more like it belongs at a pro wrestling event than a hate rally.

Whatever the level of cynicism in the room, the beliefs were bad enough. As one-time Hot Seat guest Timothy Leary told People in 1984, “George is part of the 1984 George Orwell nightmare.” Here’s Wally advocating the quarantine of people with AIDS and explaining how you can catch AIDS from a sneeze:
 

 
There are now hours and hours of Hot Seat episodes and clips on YouTube, but you, citizen, will most likely want to skip right to the GWAR and Mentors episodes. The GWAR interview on Hot Seat remains, for me, their definitive TV appearance. Presidential candidate Sleazy P. Martini earnestly defends a key plank in his platform, a modest proposal to legalize crime.
 

 
More Wally George madness with GWAR and The Mentors, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Christian televangelists listen to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ *forwards* hilarity ensues!
07.30.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Hysteria
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
SATAN


 
Oh, this is too funny. Evil genius YouTuber Clemtinite took old footage from the Trinity Broadcasting Network with televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—the Christian duo are trying to find satanic messages by playing the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” in reverse—and then reversed the whole video. “Turn me on dead, man!”

The longer it goes on, the funnier it gets.

 
via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘March of the Juggalos’ narrated by Morgan Freeman
07.28.2014
08:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Juggalos
Morgan Freeman


 
Obviously this video was made from a mishmash of different footage and Juggalo documentaries like American Juggalo. It’s still very funny nonetheless with Morgan Freeman doing the voiceover (and no, Freeman didn’t do the voiceover for this, it’s from March of the Penguins, but it works.)

It seems appropriate to post this today as the annual Gathering of the Juggalos has taken over Thornville, Ohio. Those poor, poor souls who live there. You’re in my thoughts.

The video below is NSFW. You’ve been warned.

 
Bonus: Someone used a GoPro in the pit during Cannibal Corpse’s performance. I’m just tryin’ to give ya feel for the Faygo-chugging festivities. Don’t hate me.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
The most idiotic moment on Fox News so far today


 
Fox and Friends’ resident cheerful idiot Steve Doocy is obviously one of the stupidest people on television. Doocy comes off as so completely brainless that his utterly gormless co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Elisabeth Hasselbeck look good (or at least slightly better) by comparison. One would have to think that Fox News viewers with low to barely average IQs would be perceptive enough to realize that Steve Doocy is an abject buffoon. I don’t think SNL even does Fox and Friends parodies anymore, do they? Why bother?

In any case, this morning Doocy made a game attempt to get a small number of “Fox fans” (as he called them) to react negatively to the new multigender bathroom signage at Illinois State University (This is the latest “outrage” on Fox News, in case you aren’t aware of it, even though they are for single-occupancy restrooms!)

Here’s how it went down, live on Fox News as Chyron captions read: “Bathroom Boondoggle: Are New Gender Signs Just Too Confusing?” and “Gender Bender”!

Doocy: “See, they were designated as ‘family restrooms’ in the past and now, apparently, they’re going to be known as ‘all-gender’ restrooms! Does that make sense?”

Woman: “Restrooms for both genders.”

Doocy: “That’s right. Bathrooms for both genders, or transgenders!”

Man: “Transgender, that’s right.”

Unable to rile up even the slightest bit of “moral” indignation, let alone any anxiety even among these “Fox fans,” the floundering Doocy quickly threw it back to his co-tool Brian Kilmeade in the studio who then, astonishingly, offered up pretty much one of the truest things that I’ve ever heard a Fox anchor say (if only accidently):

“Well, they’re better people than us.”

Yes, indeed they are. Most people are better people than bigoted Fox News morning show hosts, I’d have to agree with that and this segment proved it. In spades!

Just yesterday, Fox News ran a story mocking the University’s attempt to accommodate everyone with equal respect.
 

 

Bonus clip, Steve Doocy before his tenure at Fox and Friends, back when he was a serious journalist…
 
Via Media Matters

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Jello Biafra meets the UFO cult: The Lost Footage found!


 
This is an update of something that I posted here two weeks ago, so if it looks familiar, there’s a good reason for that.

I’m reposting it because the event that I was/am describing below—the presumed lost video footage, I mean—has been located. When Cinefamily in Los Angeles recently hosted Jodi Wille’s mega-amazing weekend-long celebration of the Unarius Academy of Science’s er… visionary cable access programs, Jello Biafra made it down from San Francisco and he brought with him DVDs containing over two hours of footage sourced from VHS copies made of just the interview segments of a video shoot that we had done at the Unarian Brotherhood center in 1992 for a Showtime pilot. (There was plenty of B-roll footage of a sparsely attended parking lot ceremony, shots around the center and an amusing moment where Biafra raided the costume room and got each of the Unarians to put on their outlandish intergalactic clobber. This is still lost. All of the camera originals and several dozen tapes of the Unarius cable access program were stolen. The only copies of anything were the tapes Biafra had.)

The footage, dubs of the camera originals, basically, were lightly edited by Biafra’s friend Erleen Nada, a graphic designer and musician who lives in Los Angeles who also happens to be a big Unarius buff herself. She also digitally blew the picture up to hide the timecode. Although it’s two hours long, it is, for the most part, highly entertaining. It’s not a documentary per se, but as a document of the several hours that an extremely quick-witted punk rock legend spent in the company of a goofy SoCal UFO cult over twenty years ago, you can’t really beat it.

Here’s what Erleen sent me in an email today:

My favorite part of this whole thing is watching him trying to hold back the laughter after every question, and his slight glances at the camera as if to say “Did you get a load of that question I just asked?”  Haha. 

I’ve probably watched the video about 50 times now, and his expressions still make me laugh every time. 

He has such a great way of asking potentially offensive questions, in a non-offensive way, and it’s complemented by the Unarians easygoing attitude about the whole thing. They were really good sports, laughing along with everything that Jello asked, they had a beautiful sense of humility about the whole thing that makes them seem that much more awesome.

I had gotten about as far as making a snarky twenty minute rough cut that incorporated a lot of footage from the Unarius TV shows, soundtrack music from Kramer’s three album set The Guilt Trip, and a voice-over narration that Biafra recorded about six weeks after we shot this in El Cajon. That’s lost and will never be found—all the tapes were stolen from the trunk of a car parked in the Playboy building in Beverly Hills. I’m sure that guy was disappointed!—but it might be that this is an even better way to watch this material. Seeing this for the first time in 22 years there were chunks of it that I could still recall from memory having edited the rough cut myself and hearing it so many times.
 

 
The original article, slightly edited for clarity:

At some point in the fall of 1992 Jello Biafra and I travelled to El Cajon, California with a small camera crew to shoot a short documentary about the Unarius Academy of Science for a Showtime pilot I was directing. The Unarius Academy of Science is a colorful (and quite harmless, no hint of a Heaven’s Gate vibe) UFO cult with their own cable access show, and was at that time housed across the street from both a center for recovering drug addicts/methadone clinic and a sleazy plasma center where you could sell your blood for cash. A Foster’s Freeze was a block or two away. There wasn’t much of anything else going on there. Just a bunch of empty parking lots and an occasional unoccupied building, some threadbare thrift stores and a funeral home. Not to say it was a ghost town, but minus the Unarians, and the junkies, in this part of town, there seemed to be almost no one else around.

To a certain extent, that might be the reason that people joined the cult in the first place: because there is next to nothing to do in El Cajon which isn’t related to gang activities, drug dealing, burglaries, car theft and crime in general. El Cajon’s crime rate is three times the national average. There are very few legitimate jobs for the people who live there, even at the best of times. Maybe some of the town’s residents looking for a little solace from a cruel universe that dealt them the shitty hand of ending up in El Cajon, might be an explanation for the goofy cult’s local appeal.

But then again, maybe nothing can adequately explain it. If you think of the Unarians as characters straight out of a Daniel Clowes comic, it might make a little more sense?
 

 
The Unarius Academy of Science was formed by Ernest and Ruth Norman, a couple of dotty New Agers, in the mid-1950s. Unarius is an acronym which stands for UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science. The story I heard was that Norman was a traveling psychic medium who put grieving WWII widows in touch with their dead husbands and Ruth was one of his clients. One of his wealthier clients, whose dead husband had left her a restaurant chain or so the story went…

The two met and were married within weeks. Soon Ernest would start self-publishing channeled books and they began having public meetings in Glendale, CA, ultimately publishing over 100 books and garnering several hundred followers. After Ernest’s death in 1971, Ruth Norman moved Unarius to the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, where she also bought up several parcels of now valuable real estate so that a landing strip could be built for the “Space Brothers” of whom Archangel Uriel (as Ruth Norman now called herself) was their emissary on Earth.

The Unarian cosmology predicted that 33 planets would simultaneously send ambassadors in spacecraft that would lock together and form a futuristic city. Uriel taught that beings outside of our direct experience and comprehension exist—she was one of them!—and that one day the Space Brothers will help us silly humans evolve, turn deserts into vegetable fields, stop wars and improve our architecture. 
 

 
In the late 1970s, “The Arrival,” an elaborate, seemingly high budget film about the Space Brothers showing up in the year 2001 was produced by the group, allegedly with the help of someone who worked for George Lucas doing special effects on the Star Wars films. Creatively fulfilled by this experience, by the early 80s, certain members of the cult began to take an interest in making a cable access television program promoting the group’s beliefs: “Everything is energy.” “You, as a form of indestructible energy, possess a soul that has recorded data from past lives.” “All happenings to you currently have their origins in past lives and past actions.” “Negative acts must be compensated for by positive acts.” And best of all, Asians are Martians and vice versa (Unarians are not racists, this is seen as a good thing, i.e. proof that the aliens have been here for millennia!). The “star” of these programs, naturally was Uriel/Ruth Norman, who took to wearing clothing that would make Liberace blush, often made with Christmas tree lights that needed to be plugged in, thereby awkwardly limiting her mobility!

Some of the shows would just be Uriel talking to her followers and others would be like super low budget “psychodramas”—think Kuchar Brothers, early John Waters, Andy Milligan, etc.
 

 
These “psychodramas” were unfuckingbelievable, featuring full outer space costumes, zany make-up and and batshit crazy scenarios. For instance, Uriel might decide that a certain Unarian had been a murderous space captain or an evil sea serpent in a past life. So the group would do these semi-improvised and somewhat elaborate plays, that were designed to “drastically relive” these past lives, so that the Unarian follower would be freed from their karma (more or less). In the one with the sea serpent, they literally videotaped it next to a swimming pool and several people got into a crappy aquatic dragon suit fashioned from floating pool furniture and inner tubes and swam around as the rest of them held a trial and passed judgement on the “creature.” A lot of their psychodramas had a “trial by jury” aspect to them. Holy shit were they tweaked. These programs made it as far as New York’s cable access weirdo home, Channel J.
 

 
The morning we got there and before Biafra arrived, we shot their Interplanetary Confederation Day, where far fewer than 33 Unarians marched around in a circle with far fewer than 33 banners representing the (hilariously named) 33 planets who were supposed to supply all 33,000 of the Space Brothers who would arrive here in 2001. A tin spaceship contained 33 doves who were supposed to spill out into the sky at the ceremony’s climax, but they didn’t figure on it being as hot as it was on the day and most of the birds could barely dribble out of the thing. Some probably fried inside as the fully-costumed Unarians marched around their parking lot to the amusement of the folks, like myself, who were there to gawk at them in amazement. Spectacular it wasn’t, but you had to admire their commitment in the face of mainly disinterest, secondarily people driving by and shouting insulting things at them the whole time and that it was boiling hot that day and they were all in their layered interplanetary garb.
 

The meaning of this painting gets explained in the video…
 
Biafra and I never did get to meet the then 93-year-old Ruth Norman herself, her health didn’t permit it, but he did speak to her on camera via a speakerphone as seen in the video. Frankly, I’m just amazed that twenty years after Ruth Norman’s death that the cult still exists. But they do. And even with their leader long gone, her prophecies that didn’t even remotely come close to passing and the sheer pointlessness of the whole thing, the Unarians persist, although the ones who we met 22 years ago are a bit longer in the tooth now (aren’t we all?) What’s weird is that they never grew out of their quirky belief systems even after the Space Brothers failed to arrive—the WHOLE THING that their belief system hinged on—in 2001. Like Jesus on Easter Sunday, Uriel herself was supposed to return then, too. She didn’t even send them a text!
 

 
Here’s the trailer for the recent Cinefamily event. If you aren’t familiar with Unarius, this is a good two minute crash course before you watch the Biafra footage…
 

 

 
After the jump, Erleen Nada’s Unarius-inspired “Psychedelic Spaceship” video

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 1 of 70  1 2 3 >  Last ›