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Internet Treasures: Banned, Or Otherwise Dubious, Testaments to Unlikely Empires
There's a lot to read on the internets, but, if you're like me, it's hard to always find something good.
There's only so much My Little Pony slash fiction one can read before a quiet sadness seeps into your day.
So here I present to you some of my favourite books of the internet. Some of them are banned, but all of them contain lessons about the construction of unlikely empires.
Addicted To Hate, By Jon Michael Bell
Fred Phelps, of Topeka, Kansas, leads an unusual life. He is pastor at a church what was once bombed. He and family members once visited Iraq as guests of Sadam Hussein. His church has declared war on the United States of America, declaring it a "fag state". As part of this war against the US, the church distributes fliers that say "God Bless I.E.D.s" (improvised explosive devices used to kill US soldiers) and pickets the funerals of US soldiers (as this video shows).
The church's website, www.godhatesfags.com is moderately sophisticated. In addition to offering a sprawling mass of PDF leaflets, the site offers podcasts, and even a bizarre online game (called Fags vs Kids Brain Teaser). Navigating the site makes you think to yourself "there is a guy what has some remarkable intensity, but maybe not so much the positive direction".
A book was written about Phelps, but, after he sued the publisher, it was banned. Luckily for us, it is readily available online!
Detailing Phelps' misdeeds really does require an entire book. In addition to beating, terrorizing, and enslaving his family Phelps has issued a myriad of lawsuits to extort and harass. Phelps is a guy who has lived his entire life utilizing crime, violence, and fraud. You might ask yourself... How does a fellow like this remain free? Isn't there some law they could get him under?
Well, it is Like This... Fred Phelps has evaded prison because of one thing: he, himself, is a disbarred lawyer and most of his children are lawyers (some occupy prominent positions in the Kansas legal system).
So there you go.
Lonesome Squirrel, By Steven Fishman
The Scientologists are a tough bunch. You might think otherwise, because of their sissy new age-type campaigns (like their "Purification Rundown"), but know this: they are tough!
When a lady Scientologist gives birth, the Scientologist way is not to make a fuss... not even a sound! The Scientologist ladies are supposed to just kind of push that little guy out of there all hush-hush. Psst! Silent birth!
Why the silent birth, you ask? It's because L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, blamed his self-hatred on "birth trauma". He didn't want anyone else to have to go through what he went through being born, all the noise and stuff.
Ron, in fact, was the kind of guy that was scared of a lot of things, but was pretty good at pretending he wasn't. He told engaging lies about his achievements, but his main gift was the ability to rip people off. To compensate for a deep-seated self-loathing, Hubbard more or less devoted his life to scamming people in order to amass the resources needed to build an empire that would show how great he was.
Hubbard never quite made it. He got a pretty good racket going, but, in the end, died alone all reclusive and scared of folks. Rather than being known as a great man, he's mostly known as an asshole. So let this be a lesson to wannabe sci-fi popes out there.
Anyways, an entertaining read about Scientology from the inside is "Lonesome Squirrel", by Steven Fishman, a guy who, like Ron Hubbard, had a penchant for young girls.
Fishman's book playfully details the inner working of Scientology: it's scams, mindfucks, and psychotic nature. Needless to say, its a very entertaining book.
Dead hugs 2 Ron!
The Manual, by Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond
The KLF (aka the Kopyright Liberation Front aka the JAMS aka the Justfied Ancients of Mumu) was/is an organization that achieved near-legendary status during the dawn of the rave movement in the late 80s. While the rave movement was content to create alternatives to the mainstream, the KLF chose to bring some love directly to the masses, engaging in large-scale pranks and meddling with copyright. They are supposedly retired, but apparently, they have yet to entirely quit.
From the outset they adopted the philosophy of a fictional cult from esoteric novels The Illuminatus! Trilogy, gaining notoriety for various anarchic situationist manifestations, including the defacement of billboard adverts and the posting of their own weird adverts in NME magazine and the mainstream press. Their most famous musical performance was a Brit awards protest involving a machine gun, a dead sheep and buckets of blood, although their highly distinctive and unusual performances on Top of the Pops were also renowned. In the art world, they staged an alternative art award for the worst artist of the year, and burnt a million pounds sterling.
In 1988, The KLF wrote a book called "The Manual" which is available free online. It's something like a self-help book for social engineers, detailing how to manipulate mainstream culture using its own tools. Subtitled "How To Have A Number One The Easy Way", "The Manual" details how the KLF went about creating a #1 hit song in the UK, releasing their single "Doctorin' The Tardis" under the name "The Timelords".
At the height of the song's popularity, the KLF made an effort to appear on the famous British television show "Top of the Pops". Top of the Pops, however, objected to allowing one of their members to appear. This member, "Ford Timelord", was credited with engineering the track. Ford Timelord was, in fact, a car.
Our engineer became the car. He was christened Ford Timelord. It could
Gary Glitter ended up getting their spot. Nonetheless, The Timelords allowed the press to interview Ford. The press was not happy.
The Sun and The Mirror took this especially badly. They inferred we
At any rate, read "The Manual". You will like it. It is, like the more recent work of The Yes Men, inspiration to do fancy things.
So how do you go about achieving a U.K. Number One? Follow this simple
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