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Richard Simmons gets all death metal
05.08.2014
08:51 am

Topics:
Amusing
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Richard Simmons

RIchard Simmons
 
Is Richard Simmons the new Liberace? It seems increasingly clear that he is. He’s a perennially popular mainstream entertainer beloved by Middle America whose sexuality is…  a matter for speculation (his Wikipedia page indicates that he lives alone and has never discussed the matter publicly). Flamboyance, good humor and a willingness to do anything are his trademarks. He’s appeared on Letterman countless times as a human punchline—I didn’t know this until today, but there was a period of six years in which Simmons did not appear on the show because he was annoyed about an incident in which Letterman set off a fire extinguisher in his face on the air.
 
Richard Simmons
 
The endlessly energetic and enthusiastic weight-loss superstar put on the heavy metal makeup and exercise gear to leading a recent class at his Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills. On Facebook, alongside the slogan “Sweat hugs and rock n roll!” Simmons posted the video linked below.

As Jeff Giles at Ultimate Classic Rock points out, Simmons has been doing a lot of this kind of thing lately, including wearing crazy triangle glasses, donning a sparkly leprechaun getup, and (apparently) purloining Carol Channing’s wig.

On a certain level, the idea of Richard Simmons wearing death metal face paint is hardly the most surprising thing in the world. And yet, when he does it, you just have to nod and say, “Damn, son.” 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Inexplicable of the day from Richard Simmons

‘Aw, shit Shirley!’: Richard Simmons loses it on his mom, 1981
 
via Ultimate Classic Rock

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll: The Michael Jackson, Aleister Crowley, Liberace connection


 
They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll is a mildly notorious 2004 Christian indoctrination video series meant to scare kids away from Satanic rock music, and even apparently some easy listening and country and western as well. (Young people have eclectic iTunes playlists and the devil’s minions know this.)

With an awful lot of screen time to fill, the producers of They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll didn’t just go for the more obvious targets—KISS (aka “Kids in Satan’s Service”). Led Zeppelin, Ozzy, Judas Priest, etc—they dug deeper into the Satanic morass, managing to pull Garth Brooks, Billy Joel and even Liberace into their rambling and logically spurious “thesis” which is spread out over either four or ten volumes (there are two versions):

Is it true that Satan is the master musician working behind the popular music scene and influencing our youth?

Fasten your seat belts as you go on an eye-popping ride upon the roller coaster of Rock, and find out how Rock’s most popular artists have Sold Their Souls for Rock and Roll. In this mind-blowing exposé Pastor Joe Schimmel reveals just how Satan has been effectively using popular music to undermine God’s plan for the family and ultimately heralding the coming of the Antichrist and his kingdom on earth.

This full-length video series contains 10 hours of eye-popping, rare, and some never before seen footage that will leave you picking your jaw up off the ground, as you see hundreds of artists (most of whom are not covered in the abbreviated 3-hour version) being used by Satan to destroy many lives. Come behind the scenes with us as we expose the deceptive agendas of many of yesterday and today’s secular artists, such as: Elvis, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, U2, Creed, Madonna, Britney Spears, DMX, Tupac, Tori Amos, and many more.

It’s time to remove the blinders - guard yourself and those you love from one of Satan’s most powerful tools!

Ooh, talk about earnest. Naturally Marilyn Manson gets blamed for a lot of this devilish devilry and figures prominently, but ascribing all that infernal power to a dude who spends two hours doing his make-up before he leaves the house never seems to strike the producers as even the teensiest bit silly…

Pastor Joseph Schimmel is not actually the host of the series, as stated on the box cover—it’s actor Grant Goodeve who you might recall from The Love Boat, Eight is Enough or Northern Exposure. But if that is Schimmel breathlessly reciting the voice over—you can hear his saliva hitting the mic throughout the entire thing, as he repeatedly trips over his words—he should have paid Goodeve the extra bucks to narrate as well as host. It sounds like he’s amped up on crank and drooling the entire time. Say it, don’t spray it, Reverend…

Here’s one particularly good short sample of the, er… charms, I guess, of They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll that explains how Michael Jackson used an Aleister Crowley-style ritual to contact the spirit of Liberace! Crowley gets blamed for everything here, don’t you know? Scroll in to about 2:20 to start.
 

 
image
 
Part one of They Sold Their Souls for Rock N Roll. Should you wish to torture yourself with more, it’s easy enough to find the rest. I recommend the Amazon reviews.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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For 20 years, Scientologists attempted to indoctrinate the youth with godawful kiddie pop
05.02.2014
02:47 pm

Topics:
Kooks

Tags:
Scientology


 
From 1992 to 2012,  the Church of Scientology ran a children’s performing arts program called Kids Onstage for a Better World. They made videos of their original songs and skits, and it is some of the most terrible kiddie schlock I’ve ever seen. I can’t say I’m baffled that the Scientologists had a youth campaign, but I will say I’m pretty shocked it’s so bad… and so unbelievably low-budget. The Church has movie industry millionaires as members and this is the best they can do? I also kind of thought the Scientology showbiz tykes would sing something a little less embarrassingly earnest and wholesome. I’ve heard Christian rock with more edge.

“Their messages are important, and resonate with their family audiences: Follow your dreams. Stay in school. Help others. Don’t take harmful drugs.”

They’re the leaders of tomorrow!

Although Kids Onstage for a Better World claim to be non-denominational, we can only wonder what’s the percentage of Christian, Jewish or Muslim kids in the cast? How many Mormons or non-religious kids? Probably not many, if any. (You have to go through several to find one black kid. Asians and Latinos were also mostly MIA in K.O.B.W.)
 

 
The website is still up, should you be compelled to dig though a record of kiddie cult theater, but mentions of Scientology in the programming are pretty subtle—no awesome sermons on Xenu, I’m afraid, but onsite personality tests might have happened—I don’t know, I wasn’t there. The performances themselves are very vague and “empowering”—no shock there. Vague but empowering is kind of Scientology’s modus operandi, right?

Even if some kid was vulnerable to the influence of corny kids’ footlights, there’s an obvious flaw in their plan:

In addition to producing 50-100 community shows each year, the Kids on Stage for a Better World have delighted audiences with a large show each year. Since 1994, these large annual extravaganzas have been performed in their home venue, the Garden Pavilion Theatre of the beautiful Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International.

In order to see the “big” show, kids have to go inside a Scientology building! I suspect Kids on Stage for a Better World did more to energize their home team than community outreach regardless of their stated aims.
 
There are a lot of videos and in the archive, but I’ll just leave you with the motivational speak-heavy “Joy of Creating,” from 2003, and 2000’s “Don’t Pass me by,” (it’s not the awesome Beatles’ song, no). Give it a listen, if you dare. Just make sure the children are out of the room—you don’t want any accidental converts.
 

 

 
Via VICE

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Ah, bless: Woman discovers that she is the Virgin Mary’s distant cousin via Ancestry.com
04.28.2014
12:37 pm

Topics:
Belief
Kooks

Tags:
ancestry


 
I hear that some people can use these ancestry research sites to go back quite some generations, but as far as I know, and as far as I care to know, my known family tree dead-ends with a Civil War deserter. We know he was a deserter as the oldest bit of family “memorabilia” is a letter from Uncle Sam, typed by hand of course, informing this ancestor of mine that no, he would not be getting the veteran’s pension he had applied for.

How do you top that? I certainly have no desire to log onto Ancestry.com only to find out that I had some respectable genetic predessors. I’ll stick with this guy.

But a woman from outside of Pittsburgh has traced her family tree back—way back—to biblical times. Would you believe it if Mary Elizabeth Webb of Murrysville, Pennsylvania told you that she’s the Virgin Mary’s cousin 65 times removed? Webb, who also says she can speak to those who are “beyond Earth,” claims she is the 64th great-granddaughter of Joseph of Arimathaea, who was the paternal uncle of the Virgin Mary.

Via Matthew Paul Turner‘s blog:

But Mary’s not really surprised by the news. She’s known for years, through a number of conversations with her dead brother as well as her dead mom and dad, that something was very special about her. Which is why she decided to write a book about heaven.

And no one is really surprised by this news either…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Heaven Is For Real’ kid’s interview on Fox News is COMEDY GOLD


 

Sean Hannity: Do you think everybody goes to Heaven?

Colton Burpo: Um…. No. Not everybody does go to Heaven.

Sean Hannity: How do you know?

Colton Burpo, the little boy who had an NDE on an operating table a few years back and claimed to have been to Heaven, has had his experiences “there” recounted in several Heaven is for Real books that have sold like hotcakes to people desperate to believe they will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven, eternally youthful, kickin’ it with their homeboy Jesus C. and all the dead people they ever knew.

Watch this clip of Colton promoting his parents’ books (his dad is a minister and radio broadcaster, natch) and a major Hollywood film about to come out based on this fiction. From where I’m sitting it seems rather obvious that this kid is lying through his teeth and Sean Hannity is just too stupid not to uncritically believe every word of it.

This is truly remarkable, Marjoe Gortner-level hoodoo nonsense. Even by the admittedly sad standards of Fox News, this is riveting in its abject stupidity…

Colton Burpo: Heaven is… such an amazing place and… and you just want to be there for a long time. I mean, I didn’t wanna come back.

Sean Hannity: What’s the difference… in other words, what did you see? What did you feel? Who did you meet?

Colton Burpo: Well, I saw a lot of stuff… In Heaven there are a lot of colors, but there’s even more than we have down here on Earth. Also I got to meet my great grandpa and my sister who was miscarriaged and… it just feels like home.

Hannity: And she came up to you? Are you there physically or spiritually?

Colton Burpo: You are there physically. You do have your own body.

Hannity: You were there in your body?

Colton Burpo: Well, not my earthly body, they were working on my earthly body.

Hannity: It’s the same? You look the same, relatively speaking?

Colton Burpo: Relatively speaking. If you die an old man or an old woman, you’ll be in your prime, like your late 20s, early 30s.

Hannity: And you say that you met Jesus Christ and God. (Colton nods) Can you describe God and Jesus Christ?

Colton Burpo: Well, Jesus was more like the humanoid version. He’s the one you can relate to because he… loves you so much and he’s actually your size, so you can like walk with him and talk with him.

Hannity: And you talked with him?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: And he talked to you?

Colton Burpo: Yes.

Hannity: What did he say?

Colton Burpo: Well, I can’t remember what all it was that we talked about because some of it he even taught me! God has not allowed me to remember what Jesus has taught me.

Hannity: You saw God?

It just gets worse—and even more painfully funny—from there…

You can easily see why Hannity’s audience would eat this shit up, because it sounds exactly like something they already believe. Of course every mean old Archie Bunker watching Fox News will be young again in Heaven. Forever and ever! Throw away that Viagra! No need for it in Heaven, you’ll be 30 again soon, dude…

This is why there needs to a separation between church and state: America is a country full to the bursting point with idiots.
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Classic rock conspiracy theory: ‘Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon,’ the dark heart of the hippie dream


 
The standard modus operandi of a work of “conspiracy theory” is fairly straightforward. The author/researcher takes some commonly accepted historical narrative, and lavishes scepticism upon it, while simultaneously maintaining an alternative understanding of what “really” happened, one that ostensibly better fits the considered facts.

While Dave McGowan’s Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon : Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream, indubitably follows this approach, its focus is utterly unique. Not to put too fine a point on it, the book is no less than the Official Classic Rock Conspiracy Theory, with individual chapters tackling the unlikely subjects of Frank Zappa, the Doors, Love, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Gram Parsons and more, the careers of which are scrutinized for the fingerprints of the secret state.

What you make of McGowan’s criteria in and of itself (which ranges fairly widely, and at times wildly, from a “tell-tale” preoccupation with the occult to heavy military-industrial family ties), to my mind the virtue of Weird Scenes dwells in the ensuing atmosphere of incredible fairy-tale strangeness—not unlike Joan Didion’s own famous look at California in the late sixties, The White Album. On almost every page, movie-star mansions, knitted with secret passages, spontaneously combust; murders, suicides and overdoses spread through the celebrity populace; cults spring up peopled with mobsters and spies… and all the while, this timeless, intriguing music keeps on geysering away. I contacted McGowan about his bizarre book earlier this week…

Thomas McGrath: Hi Dave. Could you begin please by telling us something about your previous work?

David McGowan: My work as a political/social critic began around 1997, when I began to see signs that the political landscape in this country was about to change in rather profound ways. That was also the time that I first ventured onto the internet, which opened up a wealth of new research possibilities. I put up my first website circa 1998, and an adaptation of that became my first book, Derailing Democracy, in 2000. That first book, now out of print, was a warning to the American people that all the changes we have seen since the events of September 11, 2001 – the attacks on civil rights, privacy rights, and due process rights; the militarization of the nation’s police forces; the waging of multiple wars; the rise of surveillance technology and data mining, etc. – were already in the works and just waiting for a provocation to justify their implementation. My second book, Understanding the F-Word, was a review of twentieth-century US history that attempted to answer the question: “if this is in fact where we’re headed, then how did we get here?” Since 9-11, I’ve spent a good deal of time researching the events of that day and looked into a wide range of other topics. My third book, Programmed to Kill, was a look at the reality and mythology of what exactly a serial killer is. For the past six years, I have spent most of my time digging into the 1960s and 1970s Laurel Canyon counterculture scene, which has now become my fourth book, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon.

Thomas McGrath:  Am I right in presuming that you take it as a given fact that power networks are essentially infected by occultism? Are these cults essentially Satanic, or what?

David McGowan: Yes, I do believe that what you refer to as power networks, otherwise known as secret societies, are occult in nature. The symbolism can be seen everywhere, if you choose not to maneuver your way through the world deaf, dumb and blind. And I believe that it has been that way for a very long time. As for them being Satanic, I suppose it depends upon how you define Satanic. I personally don’t believe the teachings of either Satanism or Christianity, which are really just opposite sides of the same coin. I don’t believe that there is a God or a devil, and I don’t believe that those on the upper rungs of the ladder on either side believe so either. These are belief systems that are used to manipulate the minds of impressionable followers. In the case of Satanism, it is, to me, a way to covertly sell a fascist mindset, which is the direction the country, and the rest of the world, is moving. Those embracing the teachings think they are rebelling against the system, but they are in reality reinforcing it. Just as the hippies did. And just as so-called Patriots and Anarchists are. I don’t believe there has been a legitimate resistance movement in this country for a very long time.

Thomas McGrath: Tell us about Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon. What is this new book’s central thesis?

David McGowan: To the extent that it has a central thesis, I would say that it is that the music and counterculture scene that sprung to life in the 1960s was not the organic, grassroots resistance movement that it is generally perceived to be, but rather a movement that was essentially manufactured and steered. And a corollary to that would be that for a scene that was supposed to be all about peace, love and understanding, there was a very dark, violent underbelly that this book attempts to expose.

Thomas McGrath: How convinced are you by it and why?

David McGowan: Very convinced. It’s been a long journey and virtually everything I have discovered – including the military/intelligence family backgrounds of so many of those on the scene, both among the musicians and among their actor counterparts; the existence of a covert military facility right in the heart of the canyon; the prior connections among many of the most prominent stars; the fact that some of the guiding lights behind both the Rand Corporation and the Project for a New American Century were hanging out there at the time, as were the future governor and lieutenant governor of California, and, by some reports, J. Edgar Hoover and various other unnamed politicos and law enforcement personnel; and the uncanny number of violent deaths connected to the scene – all tend to indicate that the 1960s counterculture was an intelligence operation.

Thomas McGrath: You propose that hippie culture was established to neutralise the anti-war movement. But I also interpreted your book as suggesting that, as far as you’re concerned, there’s also some resonance between what you term “psychedelic occultism” (the hippie counterculture) and the “elite” philosophy/theology? You think this was a second reason for its dissemination?

David McGowan: Yes, I do. Hippie culture is now viewed as synonymous with the anti-war movement, but as the book points out, that wasn’t always the case. A thriving anti-war movement existed before the first hippie emerged on the scene, along with a women’s rights movement, a black empowerment/Black Panther movement, and various other movements aimed at bringing about major changes in society. All of that was eclipsed by and subsumed by the hippies and flower children, who put a face on those movements that was offensive to mainstream America and easy to demonize. And as you mentioned, a second purpose was served as well – indoctrinating the young and impressionable into a belief system that serves the agenda of the powers that be.

Thomas McGrath: One thing your book does very convincingly, I think, is argue that many if not most of the main movers in the sixties counterculture were, not to put too fine a point on it, horrendous, cynical degenerates. However, one might argue that a predilection for drugs, alcohol, and even things like violence and child abuse, does not make you a member of a government cult. You disagree?

David McGowan:  No. I’ve known a lot of people throughout my life with a predilection for drugs and alcohol, none of whom were involved in any cults, government or otherwise. And I don’t believe that a predilection for drugs makes one a degenerate. The focus on drug use in the book is to illustrate the point that none of the scene’s movers and shakers ever suffered any legal consequences for their rampant and very open use of, and sometimes trafficking of, illicit drugs. The question posed is why, if these people were really challenging the status quo, did the state not use its law enforcement powers to silence troublemakers? I do have zero tolerance for violence towards and abuse of children, which some people in this story were guilty of. But that again doesn’t make someone a member of a cult – though it does make them seriously morally challenged.

Thomas McGrath: You say in the book that you were always a fan of sixties music and culture. Weirdly, I found that, even while reading Weird Scenes, I was almost constantly listening to the artists you were denouncing. I mean, I found albums like Pet Sounds, Forever Changes, Return of the Grievous Angel,et al sounded especially weird in the context, but I still couldn’t resist sticking them on. I was wondering if you still listen to these records yourself?

David McGowan: Yes, I do. The very first rock concert I ever attended was Three Dog Night circa 1973 – a Laurel Canyon band, though I did not know that until about five years ago. To my mind, the greatest guitarist who ever lived was Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin was arguably the finest female vocalist – in terms of raw power and emotion – to ever take the stage. I don’t know that it is accurate to describe my book as “denouncing” various artists. Brian Wilson, who composed Pet Sounds, is described as the finest and most admired composer of his generation. The guys from Love, architects of Forever Changes, are presented as among the most talented musicians of the era. Frank Zappa is acknowledged as an immensely talented musician, composer and arranger. And so on. It is true that I believe that some of the most famed artists to emerge from Laurel Canyon are vastly overrated, with Jim Morrison and David Crosby quickly coming to mind. And it’s true that on some of the most loved albums that came out of the canyon, the musicians who interpreted the songs weren’t the ones on the album covers. And it’s also true that, unlike other books that have covered the Laurel Canyon scene, Weird Scenes doesn’t sugarcoat things. But the undeniable talent and artistry of many of the canyon’s luminaries is acknowledged. And the book also shines a little bit of light on some of the tragically forgotten figures from that era, like Judee Sill and David Blue, which could lead to readers rediscovering some of those artists and the talents that they had to offer.
 
Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream is available now in special pre-release hardback only from Headpress. The paperback is out next month, and should be available from all strange bookshops.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Beyond the Doors: Conspiracy theories about the deaths of Jimi, Janis and Jim

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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The worst, most bass slappinest Christian cover version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ EVER
03.24.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Belief
Kooks

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Christianity


 
A “Stairway to Heaven” double-header over at Christian Nightmares this morning. First up is Bold for Jesus, a former rocker who is now a “radical” Christian YouTuber. I think his definition of radical can be gleaned from his “Christian yelling” videos, such as this one, where he shouts stuff at cars for 16 minutes in front of a Toyota dealership.

Here’s his own description of what ye of little faith are about to receive:

I have not played the real Stairway To Heaven song since 1981. You can hear me talk at the end about slamming a pie on top of a teacher’s head. I had fun. I lived a radical rock n’ roll life for 10 years, and now I live radical for Jesus Christ.

Yes, this is the worst, most bass slappinest for Jesus cover of “Stairway to Heaven” that has ever existed. It goes on forever, but it gets funnier and funnier as forever plods goofily along. Then he tells a story about an absolutely hilarious (well hilarious to him) high school pie throwing incident.
 

 
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, here’s Paul Crouch Jr, the son of televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—as you can see the nut didn’t fall very far from THAT particular tree—exposing the Satanic messages that are revealed in “Stairway to Heaven” when the song is played backwards back in 1996. Does Bold for Jesus know about this???
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Shine On You Shitty Diamond: Worst Pink Floyd cover band. Ever.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘God’s cartoonist’: The ongoing bizarre cult following of Jack T. Chick

angels chick tract
 
As a child in the Bible Belt I somehow missed out on Jack T. Chick’s weird fire-and-brimstone religious comic books. I was sporadically taken to a pretty low-key, boringly mainstream Methodist Church where his tracts would have been viewed as kind of embarrassing. As an adult I heard people with evangelical Christian backgrounds bonding over the nightmarish anxiety Chick comics had caused them as children. Fundamentalist churches made stacks of these proselytizing, emotionally charged, conspiracy-rich, racist, homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-pagan, anti-feminist, Islamophobic comics available to very young kids. Since 1961 over 235 different tracts have been published, selling almost a billion copies. They have been banned in many countries, including Canada, as “hate literature.”
 
chick deveil
 
Despite censorship, the comics have been read by a staggering number of people all over the world. Youth ministers hand them out on the street, and (presumably non-English speaking) missionaries distribute them overseas, spreading quirkiness like the Pope being the earthly manifestation of Satan. Someone once tried to hand me one in a bowling alley in England! People like Exene Cervenka were ahead of their time in recognizing Chick comics’ (and other Bible tracts’) value as collectible underground folk art and pop culture artifacts. The early X song “Beyond and Back” was taken from the title of a Chick tract. The online Jack T. Chick Museum of Fine Art contains an exhaustive collection of his titles, neatly summarized as:

He steadfastly exposes The Conspiracy of Catholics, Masons, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Agers, Rock & Rollers, and any other group the devil might use to damn your soul. Chick also offends Jews and Muslims with previews of their fiery futures in hell (but only because he wants to save them). The more taboo a topic, the more likely you’ll see it covered in a Chick tract!

Curator and tireless researcher Kurt Kuersteiner (who used to have a punk radio show) has written the definitive book about the worldwide phenomenon, The Art of Jack T. Chick, and in 2008 produced the documentary, God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick, which can be found in its entirety here. You don’t get a glimpse of the notoriously private man himself, since he is so convinced that people want to kill him (he’s probably right) that he lives in seclusion and hasn’t given an interview since 1975 (his first and last). The earnest sheer batshittery of his close associates is like watching a train wreck. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ synopsis of the film:

...while some Christians distribute the tracts in hopes of saving their fellow man from eternal damnation, secular fans collect them strictly for their entertainment value; the comics are so vividly drawn and outrageously over the top that they at times transcend their own intentions to achieve a sort-of grotesque self-parody. Eventually, the tracts became such highly valued pop-culture commodities that they were presented in galleries nationwide, and earned a permanent collection in the Smithsonian.


Kurt also perpetrated an awesome April Fool’s prank to demonstrate the censor-happy disapproval that Chick’s work has inspired.
 

The trailer for ‘God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick’:
 

Above, an episode of Boing Boing TV featuring Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher’s animated take on the Chick “classic” Somebody Goofed. This is Jack T. Chick in a nutshell. (Reportedly he’s seen this and liked it).

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Meet The Deadraisers: Christian group claims it can raise the dead


 
Now despite what you might be led to believe from the photograph evidence above, these fellas are not some over the hill ‘N Sync wannabes who never made the big time scene and who are now improbably still together and performing their shitty middle-aged boy band act (“Seventeen years of solid gold!”) at a cheap casino in Indio, CA.

Neither are the Deadraisers, as they call themselves, a gang of clean-cut middle-aged Grateful Dead-loving bikers… Mild ones? Maybe they’re Deadhead cyclists?

Nope, you’re not even close: In earlier centuries the activity that these gentlemen are principally involved with—the raising of the dead—would have seen them burned at the stake as witches. They used to call that “necromancy” and it could get ya killed. Now it looks like something that might get you a reality TV show?

These dudes don’t just want to follow Jeebus with all their hearts, they want those cool Matthew 10:8 zombie-making superpowers!

Tyler Johnson, author of How To Raise The Dead and Stories of the Supernatural: Finding God in Walmart and Other Unlikely Places and the founder of the Dead Raising Team, leads the group who pray for miracles and supernatural resurrections in hospitals and morgues at the request of bereaved families. They claim to have personally witnessed (or believe they “caused” I suppose) eleven people rising from the dead, but yet have no credible evidence they can cite to back this up.

When you capture one of them there “miraculous” resurrections on video, boys, then I’ll take your latterday Lazarus shenanigans seriously. Until then, I’ll just file this under “Delusional” (or worse).
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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A young Louis Farrakhan plays the violin and sings calypso odes to zombies and a trans woman
03.12.2014
10:05 am

Topics:
Kooks
Pop Culture

Tags:
Louis Farrakhan
Nation of Islam


 
Anecdote time! When I first started college, I went on a few dates with a guy I met at an event for the Indianapolis Urban League—the local division of a larger non-profit that focuses on under-served, traditionally black communities. At some point we went out for lunch and he made some off-hand comment about a girl wearing a short skirt—something to the effect of, “sad, when girls like that have no self-respect.” Immediately sensing some kind of underlying conservatism, I stopped returning his calls.

About a month later, I saw the same guy, passing out literature for The Nation of Islam—he had converted. And not just to Christianity, or Islam, or Buddhism, or whatever the hell else 19-years-olds tend to convert to in college—to an esoteric, hyper-masculinist religion based on black nationalism and the theory that white people are a race of “devils” created by a mad scientist.

That, ladies and gentleman, is what I do to men.

Apparently though, most people do not associate The Nation of Islam with college ex-boyfriends. Most people think of Louis Farrakhan, the movement’s infamous leader since 1978. He’s been implicated in the assassination of Malcolm X, and his absurd and offensive statements are too multitudinous to recount here. However, highlights include telling women to forgo careers in favor of homemaking—he once said, “You’re just not going to be happy unless there is happiness in the home.” He also proclaimed that Hurricane Katrina was “God’s way of punishing America for its warmongering and racism”. And of course he’s pretty prescriptively homophobic, all the while insisting he is not homophobic, once saying “I am not your enemy, I am you brother and I do love you,” but that “sin is sin according to the standard of God.”

Before all of that, however, Louis Farrakhan was a calypso singer of moderate success, known as “The Charmer.” And he was charming, singing joyful tunes like “Ugly Woman”—who doesn’t love that song? But the most fascinating recording The Charmer ever made was a bouncy little number called “Is She Is, Or Is She Ain’t?” about early trans celebrity, Christine Jorgensen. Around 1951, Jorgensen started a series of sex reassignment surgeries and became a world famous advocate for trans people.

If this seems like an odd subject for a calypso song, much less one by a future conservative black religious leader, you have to see it in the context that Jorgensen, a former Army private, made huge news, and Farrakhan was probably just trying to cash in on her fame. It’s a bit of a novelty record, obviously. Regardless, it’s still a little surprising to hear the guileless lyrics, “behind that lipstick rouge and paint, I got to know, is she is, or is she ain’t?” The song certainly isn’t an anthem of solidarity or anything, but it’s a far cry from the intolerant religious condemnation Farrakhan has come to be known for.
 

 
But Calypso wasn’t even Farrakhan’s first foray into music. In his younger years, an enthusiastic Louis Wolcott studied violin pretty seriously.  Here’s a 16-year-old Louis Farrakhan from 1945, on The Ted Mack Amateur Hour.
 

 
Though his musical aspirations took a back seat to The Nation of Islam, he returned to violin in the 90s at the urging of black classical musician Sylvia Olden Lee. He even staged a few public concerts in 1993, performing Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto, Op.64,” which you can see below. Farrakhan is pretty well-known for generally dubious, if not outright anti-Semitic views, so his choice of a Jewish composer and a Jewish violin coach was considered noteworthy at the time. His playing is quite lovely, and The New York Times praised a performance thusly:
 

Can Louis Farrakhan play the violin? God bless us, he can. He makes a lot of mistakes, not surprising for a man who had virtally [sic] abandoned the instrument for 40 years and has only owned one since 1974. Yet Mr. Farrakhan’s sound is that of the authentic player. It is wide, deep and full of the energy that makes the violin gleam.

 

 
Who knew, right? Finally, here’s the future Minister Farrakhan singing a lil’ ditty about a zombie jamboree:
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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