FAG MANIFESTO zine was one of a largish minority of bright spots in what could often look like a sea of bland and cliquey “perzines”: paper proto-blogs but with extra navel. The real fun was in the work zines—the story potential was infinite and cathartic—and in the fuckin’ freakshow zines like this baby. If you wanted it “personal and heartfelt,” I oft wondered, why would you read about some scenester (old word for “hipster”; it still makes me cringe) poking around a thrift store?
Kopp built a persona in his zine, thaaaat’s for sure. But it was a real character, a pen name with a rant and a rave, and it was focused around the things that made him thrilled or angry, not what he ate for breakfast with his ball-busting hippie girlfriend and his Belle and Sebastian album. (That’s not really a joke; there were already people who bothered to write and distribute shit like that back when you had to shlep all the way to the copy shop and the post office instead of just pressing a button and sharing your backwash. What can I say? They didn’t have Yofarm or whatever it’s called yet.)
Haven’t they [the feds] had enough? Do they know who they’re fooling with? Good God, we’re Americans! We hit back! We shoot back! We don’t need any more goddamn laws! We’ll see to it that every greasy politician, bureaucrat and newsroom collaborator is TIED TO A POST WITH THEIR OWN RED TAPE AND SHOT!
couched in a thick, thick layer of just having a good goddamn time.
The answer is not to “throw the bums out” or to vote them out or even to prosecute them. The answer is to simply KILL THEM…. An all-out attack with crossbows would be fun, and would have the added advantage of making their gun control measures look ironic and silly for the benefit of posterity.
And the bits on simple self-protection, their details fished from the cesspool of ’90s LA where it was written, are sensible enough:
No longer must you tolerate the panhandler with vomit on his pants who claims to be hungry… No longer are you a prisoner in your own home, confined by lawless vultures who look upon you as carrion. You are armed. You are dangerous. You are king.
Aside from a violent overthrow of the United States government (a tough job, but someone has to do it), there really doesn’t seem to be much we can do. An assassination here and there is good for keeping our spirits up, but it’s illegal, and like a lizard losing its tail, the media-government just regenerates another politician, and the pathetic zombie constituents vote him or her into office.
And so what if you did burn down the Senate? Kopp on corporate statism, aka the Other Government**:
It’s already that way, ya rubes! Why not cut the crap? Admit it! Politicians are nothing more than stooges for major corporations (foreign and domestic) and they’re damned expensive stooges at that. Let’s get real!… Open, honest, and straightforward corporate totalitarianism. Hell, it just might get us somewhere.
And the bright martial tone of the following passage contrasts grimly with the prohibitive costs of the modern arms race (bold type mine—Kopp was already italicizing for emphasis, heh heh):
The Second Amendment was written at a time when American citizens were in very real danger of government tyranny, much like our present situation. The “well regulated militia” consisted of every free (white) man between the ages of 16 and 45, and the arms they had the right—the duty—to keep and bear arms were exactly the same arms which were carried by the standing army. If the government decided to use its armed forced and/or police for despotic purposes, well, they were going to have a fight on their hands. A fight that they could very well lost.
“It’s not always about what happens; it’s also about what doesn’t happen,” Chip says; Kopp’s white-knuckled enthusiasm makes one want the whole cake, but that would probably make one throw up. More realistic, and less bloody, is to use slight menace to press for the occasional slice, and to ensure that the slices you get aren’t consistently full of razor blades.
Stand up and defend yourselves, gun fags! We may have to start shooting them [Congress] at some point, but for now we can call & write. It’s the American way, and it makes them miserable.
Then again, though the authors of the study found a significant positive correlation between guns and civic and economic freedoms and prosperity, they were in no way certain which way (or how many different ways) causation ran. My jury is still out there milling around in the hall, eating stale sandwiches from the vending machine and bitching because there’s nowhere to smoke.
But no matter how your reality Habitrail happens to look this afternoon, Kopp’s relentlessly witty odes to firing your cheap Chinese rifle at the endless, invincible hull of the universe as it rolls over your head makes you rethink such things in any case: the prose comes storming through the cobwebs with a blunderbuss of fun, and that is what the shit I like to read is all about.
And there’s still plenty left to be said about this pub on a textual level. The words are good. And the level of pure HATE in this zine is astoundingly refreshing. I forgot how great it felt back in the day, after ordering, waiting for, and being disappointed by some Vomitbus or whatever, to get your hands and brain all over a HATE ZINE.
Because if there’s one life-jacket thought you need to keep alive at the back of your mind these days, it’s that a little hate is good for you. Now more than ever, as the festering urban landscape is lorded over by billboard after floating, flashing, dystopian billboard, crawling with maliciously happy families, brandishing their spoiled brats like dimpled, consumerist little Big Brothers, a pure dose of misanthropy is the most liberating medicine you can dump in your brain. Evil it may be—and don’t let your pathetic self be consumed by it, of course— but a spoonful of hatred is the only thing that can keep your head above the roiling cataracts of bullshit.
And though Kopp is a family man now, I hope he still manages to sneak off once in a while to drunkenly shoot at whatever he thinks might be moving.
* Speaking of tanks, this volume is well worth the entrance price just for the story called “Eulogy for the Tank Guy.” It’s exactly what it sounds like. Tank Guy couldn’t afford a tank either, but for a few glorious minutes after he STOLE one, well… you’ll have to read the story.
** This passage is the stinger to a deceptively complex and hilarious satire (?) about hiring corporations to test tuberculosis cures on prisoners.