Letter to Mondo 2000

[“letters/fax/e-mail” in the Winter 1991 issue of Mondo 2000.]


Dear Techno-Dupes,

Warming over the SubGenius one-joke, ten years tired, for the techno-nerds? In your case, you might as well. Like your model reader, SubGenius might well be defined as a white male who didn’t date in high school. Somebody has to be the last to “get it,” and SubGenius is ideal for the system’s Walter Mittys, its docile drones who suppose their technical skills and off-hours hobbies somehow set them above all the other suckers and, by this very supposition, confirm that THEY’RE suckers too.

Editorial corruption reaches a new low as Douglass St. Clair Smith (“Doug St. Clair”) reviews, favorably — surprise, surprise! — Three-Fisted Tales of “Bob” edited by Douglass St. Clair Smith (“Ivan Stang”). SubGenius is so devoid of talent and energy that Smith is the only Sub competent to review himself, although understandably he’d rather not say so. I too wrote a book — “Ivan Stang“ ecstatically introduced it — but I was never reduced to writing my own reviews. Why did you make room for this odious instance of consumer fraud?

Incidentally, there is no reason to pay $40 for the SubGenius video when quality bootlegs are readily available for half the price. Freedom of information!

If Lewis Shiner, whom I greatly respect — whose novel Slam credits me as a “major inspiration” — had not gone to prep school with Smith, I doubt if some of the other cyber-punks would perpetuate their compromising connection with the SubGenius scam. He needs them, they don’t need him.

Why, who thinks for a moment there is anything radically challenging, politically or culturally, about this SubGenius sole proprietorship (you guessed it, “Stang”)? I would refer you to that photo on pp. 154-155 of Puzzling Evidence (Doug Wellman), assassinating the fictive “Bob.” (Seconds later I myself “killed” Wellman; yes, I write from inside knowledge.) Lest your readers, especially in the Bay Area, be tempted to smoke a little ‘Frop’ as Subs call it (and as I have) with Wellman, they might like to know he is an Oakland police officer.

SubGenius, which started out as a parody of a cult, has turned into one. Once a middle-management SubGenius hierarch, I, then “Mahatma Propagandhi,” broke with the Church and published criticisms of it. A year ago, an inner-circle Texas SubGenius, John Hagen-Brenner, sent me a mail bomb. He pleaded guilty on August 20 and will be sentenced on November 1. SubGenius is now a lowing herd of consumers with an upper crust of yuppie snobs who tell them what to laugh at and when. As my readers know I press the boundaries of humor to their limits but really, is an attempt on my my limbs or my eyesight risible?

Very sincerely,
Bob Black

P.S. This will be published in my next book, so why not avert well-publicized contempt, evince a modicum of integrity and publish it yourself? I say this as a friend.