I am more than distracted this week. It appears I’ll have to deal with another shift at the top of this magazine. Change has never been my strong suit. The details of Master Patrick Slevin’s exit are murky, and from my brief conversation with him this week I can tell this is no negotiation ploy or Brett Farve maneuver. He is serious about moving on. It is what happens when you have to run a magazine or a steam engine or circus for any length of time—many moving parts, irregular intangibles, messy, messy fragments. For Slevin, five years was his limit. This is a lifetime for the centered, but for the emotionally wrought, the true paranoids, it is something of a world-class achievement. Lord knows it is nothing I wish to contemplate or even dare envision. It is a hearty sort who treads the masthead lightly. Slevin did it well, and we wish that whatever private sector gig he now slides into, it would be quieter and filled with less publicity hounds and voodoo dolls.
As for me, I have found a new passion; the expunging of all religious edifices in and around the island of Manhattan. My partner will be Newt Gingrich, with whom I have decided to enter a tontine, a sort of secret blood sport against all religions, cults, and Tom Cruise. Personally, I like Tom Cruise, but the Gingrich people assured me his actions lately have been “highly motivated by foreign sources” and that, they said, could not stand.
Recently my attorney friend sent me an e-mail detailing Gingrich’s plan to exact vengeance on the Saudis, whom he claims will not allow a Christian house of worship to be built in their atavistic theocracy, therefore the proposed mosque or Islamic Center to be opened two blocks from Ground Zero is a no-no. This kind of half-cocked radical thinking intrigues me of course, for it is rare that any politician, especially a disgraced one with a penchant to go off the rails in dimly vetted talking points, would have the gall to take on religious freedom, the cornerstone of how the bulk of this continent was overrun by Europeans in the first place.
Excited by Gingrich’s “theory,” I placed a call this week to his Washington office, but was unable to get him on the phone, although I knew he was there. Gingrich, like all proud members of the trepanation set, tend to breathe loudly. This can clearly be heard over any phone line, specifically with the type of bandwidth we’re dealing with these days. A healthy length of gray coif may hide the holes in Gingrich’s skull, but it cannot fool me. I know all about trephining. Many of my closest colleagues have used it in desperate times to take the edge off. I hardly think it is revealing anything tender by stating emphatically that Patrick Slevin needed it to run this magazine for half a decade and Gingrich needed it to run the United States Congress, and no one alive can blame either of them for it.
It may be odd, even unsettling for some to accept the practice of drilling small holes in the skull to relieve pressure and expand consciousness, but not for Slevin or Gingrich or Tom Cruise for that matter. These are men of foresight, doers – not cheap little religious peons, who harbor a powerful need to spread their ancient superstitions all over the most enlightened stretch of land in this great nation.
But let’s try and forget voodoo dolls and trepanation for a minute and get down to brass tacks. There is a spate of religious fervor going on in this country, played out all over the world. It has led to the most vile, violent and bizarre behavior capable in the human condition. The graves of the faithful are outnumbered only by the greedy and stupid; all enviable human traits, which blessedly separate us from the other mammals. Earth creatures are normally moved by random instincts of hunger, sex or territoriality. The human mind, however, has developed a “fear center” with the knowledge that our days are numbered, a clock ticks somewhere and someone has to be tending it.
Therefore, it is hard to believe that most Muslim clerics are not extremists or that most Catholic priests are not pedophiles. There is a sense now that the yoga craze is a front to humanize the deadly aims of Hindus and that the Anti-Defamation League is harboring an undercover Kabal of IDF agents, whose mission is to assassinate Persian hot dog vendors. Their recent missive that “ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain—unnecessarily—and that is not right” reeks of fascist leanings. “Not a question of rights”, but “what is right”? Who decides what is “right”? And “In our judgment” goes a long way, bub.
This brings to mind the ugly background of the current Pope, who was a Nazi. It is true. The Pope was a Nazi, which is more like he is a Nazi, since, like alcoholics, once a Nazi always a Nazi. This was something the Gingrich people told me they would look into, now that they are in charge of the evil spread of religious freedom. Since it is mandatory that all American presidents be depicted as Nazis, despite no actual affiliation with the Nazi Party, to which, by the way, Pope Benedict XVI absolutely was or is, it must fall under the category of dicey affiliations.
I understand this. And the Gingrich people now know it. I have no way of truly understanding my former managing editor’s take on Catholic Nazis or Islamic terrorists, so I will stop gratuitously dragging him into this column for cheap laughs or a proper send-off. I only hope before he leaves his post, the bastard makes one last call to the jackasses who handle Radiohead. Never in all my time working with Slevin had we been so decidedly jerked around by cretins as we did when dealing with Radiohead, none of the members of which have sided with Hamas or the Nazis to my knowledge, but there were surely signs of strategic trepanation.
Holy shit, things around here have gone awry. Let’s tie this one up and send it in. It’s Slevin’s last issue, and this one had to be gangbusters. It is the least the Reality Check News & Information could do for a fellow solider in the war against worship. Hell, yeah.
So fuck Islam and Judaism and Christianity and L. Ron Hubbard or Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wacky Shari’a bullshit.
As Newt likes to say; “If it’s not mine, shut it down.”
It has a nice ring to it; like “Goodbye Master Slevin, you shall be missed.”
Now get me J.J. Koczan on the phone. There’s a Buddhist Temple going up in Wayne.
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, and “Midnight For Cinderella”.