Monday, July 12, 2010

Jack Chick has betrayed us all.

So I wrote a post about this new Chick tract. It was a long and irritated post, and the main point of it was to lacerate ChickCo for completely fucking selling out. The central thesis was that they might be nutjobs, but there was no evidence until now that they were cynical nutjobs. If they got popular support, great; but it they didn't, it didn't matter--come hell or high water, they were gonna bring you the TRUTH about Papacy, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Islam, Animism, gayness, Halloween, Dungeons and Dragons, and Devil Music, and if you didn't like it, tough shit--they knew what was right and what was wrong and they weren't gonna make any special effort to be more appealing to the likes of you.

And then we have THIS embarrassment, in which the actual Christ-y aspect takes second place to ranting about "socialism," and in which the paranoid fever dreams of teabagging Glenn Beck fans are cravenly pandered to. I compared it to "The Last Generation," which features an insane endtimes scenario that is actually in keeping with the general ChickCo philosophy, and I noted that I had never before seen a tract--that I can recall--in which the putative Christians actually resorted to violence and this was represented as a good thing, which I had to admit was actually kind of admirable. I also noted that they appeared to be fighting and dying in the name of capitalism rather than Christ, which would seem to rather defeat the point. For all their faults, I honestly never thought of the Chickster as worshipping supply-side-Jesus.

There's nothing wrong with trying to reach different demographics, I noted, but when the central message is completely distorted and basically sold out to do so--well, then you have a problem. I concluded by noting that, to my great surprise, I was actually, genuinely disappointed with ChickCo. In spite of the fact that I always read their shit ironically, apparently I had, without knowing it, developed a degree of respect for their warped integrity, which was now utterly shattered.

Then, I looked again and saw that "The Poor Revolutionist" was listed as being re-released, rather than new. Then, I did a little googling and found that it was originally released in 1972, making it one of the earliest tracts. Then, I got REALLY FUCKING ANNOYED because, bam, there went my entire thesis.

Still, it is interesting to note the extent to which our fringey rhetoric is the same as it's ever been. All the talking points feel like perfectly contemporary wingnuttery. Even the fact that the evil communorevolutionists are longhairs doesn't seem out of place, since our culture warriors are still, tiresomely, stuck in the sixties (note their bizarre fixation with Saul Alinsky, a man who died--how's this for a gruesome confluence?--the same year this tract came out).

Of course, the pandering to which I referred isn't completely irrelevant--it's pretty obvious that the reason the tract's being rereleased now is entirely because the rhetoric is such a perfect fit for our teabagging friends. Personally, I think I would not want to publicize the fact that I had written a dire warning about something that never even came slightly close to happening--but I guess the crazy can't be entirely eliminated from the equation. Still seems like a bad move, however. If this had been left in the dim recesses of the past, you could overlook its unfortunate tone by suggesting, plausibly, that Jack hadn't really found his voice yet. This is also undermined by, uh, stuff like this:

Jew could possibly be in charge of this revolution? I just can't figure it out! Anti-semitism is surprisingly rare in Chick tracts, given that anti-everything-else is all the fuck OVER the place, but this is pretty much right in the open. Could be another sign of nothing more than immaturity. I suppose if this were written today, this dude would be made into one of those dreaded Sons of Mahomet, and they'd be trying to inflict Islamocommunism on the country, which, as we all know, is the worst kind.

But whatever the case, fuck, man--they rereleased the goddamn thing. So they have to stand by it.

Still, look on the bright side: if it hadn't been, we would have been denied the deathless line "Oh man, this is awesome! He's killing his own brother!" accompanied by the stylings of the dreaded Folksinger. What are they up to, with those suspiciously acoustic guitars?



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