i gave me that old time religion


You wouldn’t know it to look at me now, but I’m an ordained minister. Back in the day I feared “Bob” and wanted to kill him, and believed in launching the bleeding head of Arnold Palmer and all the other tenants of the one true religion. I was called Pope Unholy Protuberance III. I still dabble in SubGenius ritual on occasion when the need arises.

Anyway, it was my duty to rant, so I wrote the rant below prior to a Seattle area Devival in 1999. There is still some ass-holiness in these words, so read at your own risk. This is not a religion to be trifled with, even though its membership grows long in the tooth and the whole mess transmogrifies from living gospel to fossilized legend. Beware. My rant begins:

“At the beginning of that wretched Ed Wood movie, Plan 9 from Outer Space, a man named the Amazing Criswell looks into the camera and shares some words of wisdom with movie-viewers. ‘Everyone is interested in the future,’ he says, ‘because that is where we will spend the rest of our lives.’

“Stupid? Of course. But pay attention, because buried deep within movies like this one are messages from Higher Powers. If you didn’t know that the gods speak to us in this way, then you haven’t been paying attention. Much of what I know about life and the future has been transmitted to me through cheap science fiction movies of the 50s and 60s. That’s why a visit to Scarecrow Video is much like entering a cathedral. As I ascend the stairs to the second floor and enter the room labeled ‘Psychotronic,’ I feel life’s burdens becoming a little lighter.

“But back to Criswell. His dumb remarks enclose a message from the mischievous deities who run our universe. He’s telling us that the future is born every second, and therein lies our salvation. You can choose this second to throw off the chains that enslave you to your movie, which is probably a modern Hollywood formula comedy–every bit as loathsome as Plan 9.

“Dear readers, there is a way to direct, produce, and star in your own designer destiny. It can be yours quicker than you can say, ‘klaatu barada nikto.’ Trust me when I tell you that all the wisdom flowing from ridiculous old sci-fi films and their doomed third-rate actors point to just one path. That path is the Church of the SubGenius and the word of ‘Bob.’ That’s right, I’m here to tell you about my religion, which is reaching for your throat and wallet at the same time.

“This church will hurl you into the harsh green radioactive illumination of Truth. The Truth is brutal, but the path to it is easy and littered with greasy taco wrappers that will slide you into the hairy arms of redemption. Are you still with me, friends? I hope so, because I will now present you with the ultimate irony. The future really is a cheap science fiction movie.

“I’ll tell you what the Church of the SubGenius promises…no…guarantees will happen. One day in the not-so-distant future, an alien species will invade and conquer the earth, mowing down everyone in their path, just as those idiotic movies have foretold. These aliens will run amok–their ray guns on the ‘puree’ setting. Sound like an Ed Wood movie? Of course it does. What do you think he was trying to tell us? Why weren’t you paying attention? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, ANYWAY?

“Well, get down on your knees and say, ‘thank you, Dan,’ because I have information here that may save you. The Church of the SubGenius just might rescue your sorry butt. Many will fry, but some will escape. Read all about it and send money.”

That’s enough to start you on a backwards path to a burned-out religion. Stand over the embers and watch a white-hot claw emerge. It’s the last thing you’ll see before entering paradise. Make a joyful noise unto the slack master.


One thought on “i gave me that old time religion

  1. Management science (an oxymoron if there was one) dispenses the same knowledge, of the future being born every second and that same second being an opportunity of redeeming oneself, in whichever way one needs to. Of course, it is described a lot more prosaically as “sunk cost”. Loosely translated it means “whatever goof-ups you may have done in the past are in the past. There is nothing you can do to change that. Here, now, is an opportunity for you to take another decision and improve your future prospects.”

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