Some of you may already be familiar with "Jack Chick tracts", or "Chick tracts", or the name "Jack T. Chick". Others may already know what I'm talking about, even if you didn't know the name off-hand.
Chick tracts are these little black and white comic books that born-again Christians use for witnessing. That's a euphemism for "proselytizing". You may have had some streat preacher hand you one, or found them in your mailbox, or what not. They're created by a cartoonist named Jack T. Chick. And no matter what topic you can think of that has ever upset Jesus freaks, you can find some Chick tract about it: sex, evolution, Islam, dungeons & dragons, Catholicism, homosexuality, rock music -- you name it.
Ironically, the biggest "fans" of Chick tracts tend to be atheists, Pagans, and other non-Christians who just find them to be an entertaining collection of bad art work and fallacious arguments. I knew one atheist who had a stack of about 50 of them on his living room table.
I've run into a number of Chick-related links over the years, so I thought I'd put them all here in one place:
First there's the official site, chick.com. I must admit, I'm impressed that they secured this domain name. You would think that a name like "chick.com" would have been grabbed by somebody else to make a porn site. You can see all of the original Chick tracts here. Pick one and look through it, and you'll get an idea of what they're about. Note how all Chick tracts end with a questionaire, usually a "Have you accepted Jesus?" followed by a yes/no set of checkboxes.
I've seen at least two books written about Jack Chick and his tracts. One is "The World of Chick?" by Robert Flowler, which catalogs all known titles and printings of the tracts. It's sort of a collectors' guide, like others that have been written for other comic books.
Debunking of "Big Daddy" page at IronChariots.org. "Big Daddy" was a Chick tract that desperately tries to refute evolution and argue for creationism. This page takes the tract panel by panel, and shows just how embarrassingly dishonest and wrong creationists can be in their arguments.
And now for the parodies!
The Jack T. Chick Parody Archive. This is a really old site, and I'm surprised it's still up, despite most of the links on its links page being dead. But there are still some great things here. You'll find a number of different parodies from different people. I especially like the ones from Jim Huger, like "Dead to Rights". Jim Huger is the creator of Jhuger.com, an excellent atheism site that I've been visiting since I first saw it in the 1990s.
MST3K Presents Dark Dungeons. This site takes a look at "Dark Dundeons", a Chick tract about the evils of Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games (RPGs), but done in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Hilarious.
"Who Will Be Eaten First?", a parody that uses the same old fire n' brimstone reasoning that Chick tracks use for Christianity, but instead apply them to the god Cthulhu. You can read all about it from the original creator Howard Hallis, here on his blog. He got a cease and decist notice about it. I do remember seeing another Cthulhu parody out there, but I can't remember the name. I'll add it here if I find it.
Saturnalia is about a Pagan family who moves into a Christian neighborhood, and finds that they have to educate the Christians and correct their misconceptions.
Some Bob Loves Me. The Chick tract "Somebody Loves Me", retold in an Animated .gif format, and of course with a Church of the Subgenius twist. Tiny pic, probably because it was made quite a while back.
This MSN article mentions "Fans of the English language rejoice! Someone finally fixed that stupid "Ironic" song. You know, the one where Alanis Morissette sings exclusively about things that aren't ironic. [...] Rachael Hurwitz has fixed everything with her song, "It's Finally Ironic," where the lyrics are rewritten so the situations are *gasp* actually ironic. Of course it doesn't hurt that it's also hilarious."
The music timing is a little sloppy, but I can overlook that, because this song is almost 20 years overdue.
This is probably old news for some of you, but here it goes anyway. I was only introduced to it recently.
Some illiterate attempted to write an emotional short story, which has since become known as "The Poptart Tragedy". It basically another one of those stupid little internet anecdotes that asks people to share or forward it. But on top of that, it...well, I'll just let you read it for yourself:
gurl stops meking out n asks boi to get poptartz he dus. den gurl teks deep breff. den gurl sais “bf i am pregnent will u stay ma bf” n he seys “no”. gurl iz hertbrokn. </////3 gurl criez n runz awaii from boi wiffout eatin poptart n she has low blood suga so she fols. boi runs ova 2 her. she ded.</33333333 boi crie “i sed i no b ur bf…cus i wona b ur husband!” he screems n frows poptart @ wol…a bootiful diomond ring wus insyd. ***LIK DIS IF U CRY EVRYTIM***
Not surprisingly, it spawned a number of parodies. Actually, I don't know if they even qualify as "parodies", since read and/or act out exactly what's actuall been said.
I may say more about the site later, but I figured that a brief mention of it was at least worth blogging about. Yes, I figured that April Fools' Day was a good date to launch it. No, this isn't a joke; you can go to the website yourself. I put a lot of hard work into it, and I'm sure I'll be tweaking and adding things later as the months go on. I hope you like it.
Oh, and if this is your first time to aplaceformystuff.com, and only found out about my blog through GeorgeCarlin.net, well, sorry for telling you what you already knew!
Yep, I'm posting another one of these. The truth is, I have a several that I made, and I'd like to make even more. In fact, since I've been so frustrated at seeing bogus, unsourced Carlin quotes around the 'net, I'd like to set up my own website for this kind of stuff. Maybe I'll split "A Place For My Stuff" into two pages, one blog and one Carlin fan/quotation page? We'll see.
UPDATE AUGUST 2013: Since writing this blog entry, I have lauched georgecarlin.net, which goes into a lot more detail about this topic, and now has the internet's biggest collection and analysis of authentic vs. bogus George Carlin quotations.
"The problem with quotes on the internet, is that it's hard to verify their authenticity." - Abraham Lincoln
Ever since I got on the internet some 20 years ago, I've come across examples of rants and quotations that were falsely attributed to one famous person or another. You would think that with the internet growing and sites like Wikipedia and Snopes becoming more popular, a lot of that BS would have been corrected by now. Well, apparently not! I still see so many pics of falsely-attributed quotations shared by the thousands on Facebook. I even saw a sticker for sale on Amazon.com of one of these misattributed quotes. Again, you'd think that if a person was going to put the effort into making something like this, that he or she would at least try to check up on the quotation first. Nope.
One of the biggest targets of this problem has been -- guess who? -- George Carlin. To this day, there are still numerous joke lists, rants, and other writings that people have incorrectly attributed to Carlin.
Possibly the most popular of these is a piece called "The Paradox of Our Time". You've probably seen it. "We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. [..] We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor", etc. Basically, a whole woeful list of "We can do X in the 21st century, but we can't (and should be) doing Y" examples. You can read it in full over on Snopes.com, who has a page about it (with the explanation that Carlin did NOT write it): http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/paradox.asp
I've noticed that the piece gets passed around a lot esepcially after there's some widely-reported tragedy in the US. Not surprisingly, it was making its rounds again after the 2012 shootings in Newtown.
Here's what Carlin himself said about all of this back in 2001, on his official website:
DON'T BLAME ME Floating around the Internet these days, posted and e-mailed back and forth, are a number of writings attributed to me, and I want people to know they're not mine. Don't blame me.
Some are essay-length, some are just short lists of one and two-line jokes, but if they're flyin' around the Internet, they're probably not mine. Occasionally, a couple of jokes on a long list might have come from me, but not often. And because most of this stuff is really lame, it's embarrassing to see my name on it.
And that's the problem. I want people to know that I take care with my writing, and try to keep my standards high. But most of this "humor" on the Internet is just plain stupid. I guess hard-core fans who follow my stuff closely would be able to spot the fake stuff, because the tone of voice is so different. But a casual fan has no way of knowing, and it bothers me that some people might believe I'd actually be capable of writing some of this stuff.
"PARADOX OF OUR TIME" One of the more embarrassing items making the internet/e-mail rounds is a sappy load of shit called "The Paradox of Our Time." The main problem I have with it is that as true as some of the expressed sentiments may be, who really gives a shit? Certainly not me.
I figured out years ago that the human species is totally fucked and has been for a long time. I also know that the sick, media-consumer culture in America continues to make this so-called problem worse. But the trick, folks, is not to give a fuck. Like me. I really don't care. I stopped worrying about all this temporal bullshit a long time ago. It's meaningless. (See the preface of "Braindroppings.")
Another problem I have with "Paradox" is that the ideas are all expressed in a sort of pseudo-spiritual, New-Age-y, "Gee-whiz-can't-we-do-better-than-this" tone of voice. It's not only bad prose and poetry, it's weak philosophy. I hope I never sound like that.
HOW TO SPOT A FAKE Here's a rule of thumb, folks: Nothing you see on the Internet is mine unless it came from one of my albums, books, HBO shows, or appeared on my website. If you see something with my name on it, and you really need to find out if it's mine, post a question on my bulletin board. But only if it's really important to you; don't fuck around with me for a lark.
(The original page from which this was taken, was removed recently as a result of a complete revamping of the site. But it did show up on his official website, and you can see a copy of it archived here.)
Despite all this being made clear back in 2001, there are STILL idiots to this day who forward pics and emails saying that he wrote "The Paradox of Our Time". Hell, I've even seen "fan" sites for George Carlin who post them! You would think that a self-proclaimed "fan" of Carlin would have heard about it by now and know better.
What really pisses me off though is when I find somebody who does this, and explain to them "No, Carlin did not write this. And here's the evidence.", sometimes they'll still say "Well I still like the quote, so I'm going to keep it up on my page." What a bullshit excuse! If you fancy yourself a Carlin fan, then stop associating a bogus quote to him, especially after he made it clear that he doesn't want to be associated with it! And if you do like the quote, then give the credit to the person who actually wrote it, not to somebody else like Carlin, who didn't want to have anything to do with it!
So who DID write "The Paradox of Our Time"? Well as the Snopes page says, it was a minister named Bob Moorehead. It was published in 1995 in a collection of essays called "Words Aptly Spoken".
Oh, and by the way, Moorehead was arrested a year later for indecent exposure in a public restroom in Daytona Beach. Go figure.
So if you want a quote you can share with your Facebook friends or put on your own blog, try one of these ones which I created. Show them to the people who still share quotes falsely attributed to Carlin.