This might be in SubSite somewhere. If not, it should be.
Ivan Stang wrote:
Well, my job for Saturday is done. Show finished and dubbing, log typed.
It was a relief to pause in my website tweaking for awhile. Last night was
my 25th high school reunion. I went. 5 other guys showed up. (Guys because
this was a private all-male school.) I can't fucking believe it. I had
less "class spirit" than ANYBODY in my class. I have report card comments
from teachers to prove it. And yet there I was, eager to "touch base" with
all those (mostly) Pinks I went to school with... and ALL THOSE
CHEERLEADER HALE-FELLOW-WELL-MET CLASS SPIRIT ASSHOLES STAYED HOME for the
fucking 25th year REUNION!!! Man. What is this world coming to.
The five other guys who showed up hadn't changed much at all. 4 of the 5
were fellow bad hipster frop-boys like myself. They all work for the Con,
but at least they mostly seem to work in somewhat anti-Con Con jobs... an
eco- conservation group, a company for finding jobs for homeless bums,
stuff like that. Liberals. They were the ones who showed up.
When one goes to a high school reunion one of course hopes to find
everyone balder, fatter and more depressed than oneself. That hasn't been
the case at my high school reunions. The guys who show up, like me, still
have all their hair, aren't unhealthy looking, and have very presentable
wives or girlfriends. Makes you wonder why the other guys hid out. SHAME??
I sure hope so.
Oddly enough, all 5 guys commented that I don't LOOK any different than I
did in high school. And that doesn't make sense. I'm covered with scars,
patches, swaths of gray hair, wrinkles. I mean I'm a city boy, I don't
look like some weathered cowboy or biker. But I do look 43 and I did NOT
have vitiligo or diskoid lupus when I was a kid. I also had short hair. I
look like a back-up bass player for some nostalgia band now. My fucking
hair is so huge now that I sometimes think possibly of cutting it. Very
few women has as much god damned hair, and they express their envy all the
time. There was an article about the X-Day Drill in Rev. Groovy G's
subzine, and the ONLY THING it focused was how DUMB my HAIR looks to the
reporter. Hey, I know I look like a human cartoon of a mad scientist
SubGenius weirdo, that's the WHOLE IDEA! (That and the fact that old
hippie chicks (and Miss Friday) LOVE it!) I'm in show biz, I'm SUPPOSED to
look memorable and goofy. Mrs. Stang trims the top and sides every few
months, but in 1990 I started JUST LETTING IT GROW, partly to see what
would happen, partly because my DAD made an idiotic comment that my hair
was getting too long (YOU'D THINK THEY'D LEARN!!) and partly because I was
entering my second childhood/midlife crisis and having hair like my high
school rock star heroes JUST MAKES ME FEEL COOL. I am fully cognizant that
this is no different from guys 10 years older than me still wearing
ducktails and greaser hairdos. SO WHAT! Fuck the norm. I wish I could be
MORE of a "hippie" than I am. Hippies may look stupid to you youths, but
keep in mind it's in retrospect. You weren't there. There was a brief
period when we thought we actually had a chance against the Conspiracy.
SURE, as Zappa and MYSELF for that matter pointed out, we WERE just the
Alternate Conspiracy, but yet... but yet... the HOPE was there, and it
ain't hardly anywhere now... for good reason.
I drove to that high school reunion listening to a RAGE AGAINST THE
MACHINE (modern day punk-rap-like stuff) and wondering if my classmates
were listening to SUITE: JUDY BLUE EYES, the song I most hate out of all
songs in the world.
A high school reunion is an emotional event. Just before I got to the
school I pulled into a nearby BORDERS bookstore to assuage my
potentially-damaged ego. (Actually I mainly pulled in there to PEE, since
Borders stores have coffee shops and BATHROOMS.) At first it was a bad
move. I looked in the humor section and there were NO SUBGENIUS BOOKS
there. I thought, "Well that's it, if Borders isn't even carrying the Word
anymore, that's the end... it's doom... I'm a loser and my highly paid
Conspiracy-employed classmates were right all along." (Not that that's
actually the case anyway, but I was in that sort of mood.) I was shuffling
to the exit when what should greet my eyes but REVELATION X on DISPLAY,
with the COVER SHOWING, and copies of BoSG next to it -- in a SPECIAL NEW
SECTION called "Eccentric, Weird and Essential." Other things in the
section were the ReSearch books and all the other books by people who are
now my friends and, like me, don't make much in royalties but at least can
lay claim to a little STATUS. The uncategorizable but "hip" stuff.
Not only that but there was a woman there adding new stock to the shelves,
and noticed me, and I said, "I SURE am glad to see this section. I busted
my ass on that book there" -- tapping REV-X -- and she said, "I thought I
I am not a person who lives from compliment to compliment -- if I was, I'd
be dead by now -- but I am human enough that that made me feel good, so I
went into the high school class reunion WITHOUT a chip on my shoulder.
My two kids still live at home, but just barely, and their Homecoming game
was last night. They're sociable kids so this weekend is a big deal for
them too. They're TOTAL WEIRDOS, that's for sure, but their Ma and I have
gone to some trouble to make sure as best we could that they were always
able to pass for normal and function in normal society. I'm sitting here
typing this while waiting for the Homecoming Dance to end and for a bunch
of kids to come over here for a party. We try to make our house a
"hang-out" for them damn kids... not very successfully, 'cause what
teenager wants to hang out at its own house? -- but at least when they do
choose to utilize the facility, we can keep tabs on 'em. I don't have to
worry much about my kids and DRUGS. They're fuckin' prudes, it's their
form of rebellion.
THEY JUST PILED IN. The SubGenius Foundation office facility is now full
of teenagers all dolled up in Prom Dresses and tuxes. I must say, those 16
year old girls certainly do look different in make-up and dresses than
they do in their usual slob garb. The lads all look laughably square.
They're heating pizzas and drinking soda pop. Jesus just arrived from his
temp job and is down there scarfing pizza and doling out sage advise. He's
only 26 so he can get away with that. Mrs. Stang and I are trying to stay
out of their hair. We're "parents," it'd be uncool for us to hang around,
and besides that Mrs. Stang was the FIFTH GRADE TEACHER of half of these
I value these times because my boy leaves the nest next year, and Sivet
will follow soon after. Even though they've made it plain that they
consider me a brain-damaged old bum, we still have better relations than
most modern day parents and kids do. (That's the upside of freelancing. I
was home a lot.)
This is another irony. The evil and depraved SubGenius house is the safest
place these teenagers can be while also being left alone by oldsters. And
another thing. I spent the morning at the elementary school. This nearby
school where Mrs. Stang teaches is the first school in Texas to be
officially "wired for the Internet" a la Clinton's big promo. Whoop te
doo. The horrible thing is that not one teacher there besides Mrs. Stang
knows what the Internet is.
As far as they know it's just a sewer of child pornography. The school
will have a website, but the principal has declared that no child's name
or picture can be displayed there due to the evil cyberstalkers who lurk
everywhere. The fact that there's a school yearbook and phone book
available at the library has no bearing on this. It's an insane situation,
and I have volunteered to help put their website together, since the
computer teacher at the school doesn't know what the Internet is, either.
Mrs. Stang and I spent the other evening examining elementary school
websites. They were mostly pictures of principals that took half an hour
to download. One would think that displaying the dopey artwork and goofy
stories by the children, and links to educational/fun kids' websites, and
little email pen-pal thangs with kids from other countries would be the
OBVIOUS things to do. And Mrs. Stang's class will have just that. But the
sorry fact is that she has to do this DESPITE the paranoid directives from
above, and for a year or so she'll be the only one of 20 teachers who'll
take advantage of the jillions of bucks worth of equipment that the
school's been given. PINKNESS!!! Pinkness creeps into every nook and
cranny of human society. Timidity and sloth. We shall make them all look
as FUCKING DUMB as they FUCKING ARE.
But they STILL won't get it. Our hope is that maybe some of the STUDENT
CHILDREN will pick up on the fact that if they bother to lift a finger,
they might conceivably be able to direct their own lives in the direction
they want to go.
While I'm bragging my ass off... just before the dance my daughter's
clique of pals and dates came here to get their pictures taken by all
their parents. We figured, why not get it done all at once in one place.
They spent $25 each on the corsages ALONE. So all these (honestly) Pink
moms and dads were in my back yard snapping away and making the kids pose.
Our back yard is photogenic, it looks like a jungle and there's no fence,
so it looks as if they're in the woods. I forced Sivet upstairs to pose
for a special digi-picture -- snapped a PICT shot onto my Mac from my
video camera. After she left I dropped that crappy low-light pic into a
Mac program called KAI'S POWER GOO. This program is designed entirely for
fucking up pictures of people's faces and making them cartoon-like. It's
brilliant. (I did 6 Legume-face distortions last night just for fun, but
then Legume already looks like he's been GOOed. He has a GREAT FACE.) I
took the picture of my daughter's face and caricatured it -- like me she
has a weak chin and small mouth, so I shrank those down to nubs, and then
made her eyes just like Keene paintings -- great big huge soulful cartoon
eyes. The amazing thing is that this program lets you do this kind of
distortion very easily and intuitively, and maintains a photographic
reality. Photoshop, Illustrator and other art programs have similar
features but this one's specialized for FACE-WARPING. I printed out the
funny pictures of Sivet and left them in her room.
AND HER BUDDIES WERE REALLY IMPRESSED! She was showing them off proudly.
You may be thinking, "JESUS! Stang is more insecure than I THOUGHT!" But
you're not a parent. If a parent can do ONE or TWO THINGS that actually
IMPRESS their teenage kids and the kids' peers, it's a FUCKING MIRACLE.
Teenagers are inherently built to think their folks are dumbasses. (In
MANY cases it's TRUE.) I can all too vividly remember my teenage years,
and I PITY my old P and M. I pity myself, too. Those years were
unspeakably horrible for the most part but let's not get into that, it's a
Bonobo thing. I guess I wasn't too bad of a kid -- I only got jailed for
drunk and disorderly once, and they didn't suspect a THING about the drugs
until I was 18 and off at college... but I sure did everything I could to
express my disgust at their failure to raise me as a PERFECT BEING. (TALK
ABOUT AN UPHILL BATTLE!!) By comparison, my kids, for all the insulting
shit they say to me, must not hate me nearly as much as I hated my parents
back in the day.
My Mammy and Pappy are still alive and they're both good pals of mine.
Thank God... we buried all our resentments, and we all understand that the
Human taint fucks EVERYBODY up, and nobody's perfect, and we all did the
best we could. I deliberately exagerrate my son's rebellion level to my
dad, just so he can feel vindicated. It's the least I can do. He was a
Nixonian Naval Intelligence officer and corporate lawyer while I was a
dope-snorting, radical hippie filmaker weirdo. I can scarcely imagine his
anguish. On the other hand, when I started working for Dobbs I think he
began to understand that on a certain level we were in total agreement, as
best he could considering the generation gap. He read the Book of the
SubGenius and declared himself a SubGenius, bought his Membership and put
his Excuse on his law office wall. He got kinda pissed off when we did
that STARK FIST that had all the begenitalled Jesuses in it, and he still
thinks a lone nut killed JFK and that the CIA is his friend and that the
media is controlled by Liberals, but by Gobbs the old bastard has accepted
the Truth of Dobbs and seems to understand the basic fact of the
Conspiracy, our polarly opposite politics notwithstanding. In fact he's
probably the one who unwittingly prepped me for Dobbs' message. From the
time I was a small child he made no bones about the fact that some people,
such as us, were vastly more intelligent than most others. What he left
out was the possibility of total self delusion in this regard, but that's
like wondering if you're crazy or not -- HOW WOULD YOU KNOW ANYWAY?? But
his definition of intelligence was never class-based nor test-score based,
but VALUES-based. (It could hardly be class-based, since we weren't eactly
in the Queen's entourage.) I recall once he said, "Ivan, what makes a
poebucker a poebucker is that they have no sense of VALUES. They don't
value what they have. They get something and then let it go to shit, they
let it rot. (Pappy rarely actually uses profanity around me, but you get
the idea.) They don't make the effort to preserve what good they have."
Think about the pick-up that's been up on blocks at your trailer-court
neighbor's lot for the last 5 years and you know what he was talking
ABSOLUTELY it's an elitist attitude, AS WELL IT SHOULD BE. We could be
WRONG that we're the superior race, but one must have PRIDE. And one must
KEEP ONE'S SHIT TOGETHER. It's a tall order in this day and age but WE CAN
DO IT. These conservative fucks rant about VALUES day in and day out, but
actions speak louder than words. I'm the cartoon equivalent of a liberal
pinko anti-establishment liberal hippie weirdo liberal sex fiend prevert
cultist god-hating destroyer of American Values, but I made time to attend
my high school reunion, and I made sure my kids and their crowd of pals
had a proper after-Homecoming Dance hang-out to hang out in. I would
vouchsafe that many of my SubGenius Over-40 peers are in the same
position, maintaining through effort and thoughtfulness a family
environment that's merely the FANTASY of the redneck dumb-ass conservative
Limbaugh-heads who TALK BIG about family values but have had 3 spouses and
never quite paid that child support... the anti-abortion fanatics who've
had 3 abortions. FUCK THAT SHIT!!
MAH GAWD! My 16 year old daughter was MAKING OUT with a BOY... Jesus saw
it, peeking out through the upstairs window, they were down in the street
by the streetlight. Heredity... dammit.
Mrs. Stang is now driving the gang of kids to a hotel party and thence to
another girl's house party... apparently, at 3 in the morning I will have
to go pick them up and ferry them home. Normally we would never be so
accomadating, but Homecoming is special... I guess...
Everybody in the Stang family seems to be determined to drive everything
NORMAL, to the very HILT, AND also to drive everything WEIRD to the very
hilt. An agitated crew. We're the kind of people that Valium was invented
as a CURE for, and WE DON'T TAKE THE VALIUM.
At least one doesn't feel like one has wasted one's time.
SURE this world's going to hell, I'd be the last to deny that, but humans
have been known to pull themselves out of the worst possibly nosedives at
the very last minute by sudden flashes of brilliance brought on by stress.
That's the ONLY time their flashes of brilliance ever come on, granted --
when they've painted themselves into a corner and are faced with certain
doom. THEN they act like SubGeniuses and the day is saved. More or less.
We can look down upon them, but never underestimate them. They CAN pull
through if galvanized out of their stupors. Christ, think how many
competing species "we" wiped out or drove into the Himalaylas. Ever see a
Gigantanthropus jawbone? That Javanese Yeti thought he knew the score, but
he ended up on his head ,just like you, me and every common Pink will.
They Always End Up On Their Heads, you can take that to the BANK,
brother/sister. The great equalizer of Death renders us all rats in the
same maze. That "THE ONE WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS" is sensible on the
surface, but a fallacy. The one that gets nearest to the end of the maze
wins. But even then, its somewhat moot, since nobody CAN get to the END of
the maze. That's the beauty of the maze. We should appreciate it rather
than curse it and try to conquor it. But then... what else is there to do?
Sit on our butts watching Mystery Science Theater 3000? I THINK NOT. I
think that pursuing any halfway attainable dream within reason, and then
some, is the way to go. Get off your butt and fight The Man By Any Means
Sensible. The WORST thing you can do is FAIL and GO BROKE and be
HUMILIATED. SO FUCKING WHAT?? They've ALREADY done THAT to you, the minute
you applied for the job.
That's probably been your fate all along, anyway. It's when one shoots for
the IMPOSSIBLE that one seems to succeed... according to physical laws
that must've been set by NHGH Itself, so cruel are they. But by the same
token, the very impossibility of a task is just what makes it possible,
DUE IN FACT TO PINK DUMB-ASSEDNESS. Their complete acceptance of reality
at face value as defined cooperatively, is exactly their ACHILLE'S HEEL,
or opening, our venue for gaining access to the PRIME CODE by jimmying the
Perhaps the key to it all is being able to adjust to the IRONY of it, the
Catch-22 nature of it. But is seeing the world through Vonneguttian eyes
simply another cop-out, a cheaper 'Frop? (WHO FUCKING CARES!?!?) But still
one must wonder, and press the issue while gazing contemplatively upon the
bellybuttons of the stars. Are we the SubGenii not meant for BETTER
THINGS? Is our fate merely to strut and fret our brief hour upon the
stop-motion puppetry platform stage, before the motion-controlled cameras
that cost millions of dollars, our pathetic displays of angst to be rented
on video and then heard no more?? Once again, if I may dare to repeat
myself, FUCK THAT SHIT. We're here, we're "queer," get used to it. If we
ACT like we KNOW WHAT WE'RE DOING, the Pinks will acquiesce. They'll move
out of the way just as if a cop told them to. We underestimate OURSELVES.
We, every one, even Tiny Tim, that little crip, have vast mind control
powers over The Others. We have but to suggest something and the dumbasses
will do it, for lack of anything better. By default. Not always, but
usually, if you use any discretion. The only thing that's more disgusting
than how easily fooled they are is how easily we fooll ourselves. Our
Moriarty-like cleverness at fooling ourselves would confound a Sherlock
Holmes. And the REAL B-4 level kooks among us take on Sherlock's job as
well, constantly explorting every possibility of self-delusion and
trickery. We detectives only want to EXPOSE them, not REPLICATE them...
but that's the trick, isn't it? Knowing thineself from the Conspiracy.
Well, SHIT. If you're even WONDERING THAT, you're probably NOT the CONSPIRACY.
In the meantime, we must wonder... aww, forget it.