Rev. Stang submitted the following to the Cambridge City
For the City Council of Cambridge, MA
A brief description of The Church of the SubGenius
The Church of the SubGenius is an ambitious collaborative art and
humor project started in 1980 by The SubGenius Foundation, Inc., a Texas
novelty company run by Ivan Stang. The SubGenius Foundation, with
volunteer contributions from around the world, produces satirical and
artistic materials and events. Since 1980 the Foundation has produced
four trade paperbacks for Simon and Schuster; 15 years of a weekly radio
show syndicated to 20 college and indie stations; commercial videos
distributed by Polygram; hundreds of comedy stage shows (or "devivals")
in nightclubs, colleges and churches; a comic book, a game, a website,
some CDs, etc. etc. Its many fans produce the own versions as well.
By taking on the appearance of a crackpot religion, the Church of the
SubGenius acts as a framework from which contributors can spin off
spoofs on any subject, and using any medium. It does feature some
consistent themes that form a sort of philosophy, and which have made
the Church guru figurehead, "Bob" Dobbs (actually a clip-art cartoon
character) a famous symbol of self expression and "slack," or the
freedom to think for one's self. Some of "Bob's" sayings include:
"PULL THE WOOL OVER YOUR OWN EYES, AND RELAX IN THE SAFETY OF YOUR
"ACT LIKE A DUMB-ASS, AND THEY'LL TREAT YOU AS AN EQUAL"
"ETERNAL SALVATION, OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK."
Much of the Church comedic output targets extremism in all forms --
political, religious, and cultural (the Church itself included). By
parodying, say, Jonestown-like cults, the SubGeniuses hope to help
illuminate the traps used by such groups to twist people into narrow and
intolerant viewpoints. There is also an educational, nonfiction side to
SubGenius output, such as the popular book, "High Weirdness by Mail,"
which lambasts its "rival kooks" while making contact information
available -- a "know your enemy" approach.
Mistaking the Church of the SubGenius for what it lampoons is akin to
Jerry Falwell claiming that "The Teletubbies" is gay recruitment
Far from being extremists with a cause, the average SubGenius fans
are actually those most likely to question extremists with causes -- and
plain ordinary normal people with causes, too.
For more information, contact Ivan Stang <email@example.com> at The
SubGenius Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 140306, Dallas, TX 75214