When I was a kid, my favorite comic book was The Maxx. Sam Kieth was my hero. Not only was he writing and drawing one of the weirdest mainstream comics I’d ever read, but the mail bag section at the end of each issue made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the world.
This was the early 90s, almost a decade before the internet would take off in earnest and unite strangers the world over. Being the outcast, the weirdo, the nerd, the dork, the loser in your community meant that you were isolated. Alone.
We all coped with this experience differently. For me, it was reading those letters to the editor in the back of The Maxx that made me feel connected to people. My people. Fellow weirdos.
I listened to Art Bell’s Coast to Coast radio and loved the call-in segments. I checked out serial killer books from the library. I read about cannibals. I watched John Waters movies and reveled in the interviews the Dreamlanders did talking about all of the drugs and weird sex they did/had with each other.
I rented movies like Eraserhead. Weird shit like The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow documentary after I saw his appearance on The X-Files and on the Closure video tape of the infamous Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral tour. Hated, the GG Allin documentary.
I read magazines like Bizarre. Relished the articles about alternative lifestyles. Scarification, branding, suspension, extreme piercing and tattooing. When the internet did go mainstrean, I hung out on sites like Rotten.com and BME.com.
I listened to bands like Skinny Puppy and the Genitorturers, Pigface and Ministry. Weird shit. Shit for weirdos.
What the fuck happened to weirdo culture?
Social Media happened. More importantly, social media pageantry. The first social networking websites were great places to connect with like-minded people. Whether you were a weirdo like me who could rattle off a bunch of random facts about Ed Gein or HH Holmes, or if you were a conservative Christian looking for bible study church groups. Those Yahoo chat rooms, Myspace, Livejournal, IRC and eventually Youtube. These were great places to connect with people all over the world with similar interests.
And then Twitter and Facebook happened. Hashtags happened. Trending topics. Social networks became Social Media. Social Media became corporatized. Monetized. Then it all became political.
When I got into weirdo fiction around 2010 it was already called Bizarro fiction. I fell in love with it instantly. This was people just like me. Sick weirdos expressing their subversive obsessions through fiction. I found titles like Adolph in Wonderland, Abortion Arcade, The Ass Goblins of Auschwitz, Cripple Wolf, The Baby Jesus Buttplug.
This was my scene. This was where I belonged. Offensive literature that didn’t give a fuck who it pissed off. Didn’t pull punches and didn’t cater to mainstream publishing interests.
Only by then, Social Media had already taken hold. By the time I got my foot in the door in the weird fiction scene in 2012, everything had changed and the pageantry of social media was already in full force.
They weren’t called Social Justice Warriors yet, but they were already ripping through the internet subcultures enforcing rules and ruining the lives of anyone who didn’t meet their particular social agenda. Suddenly the same people with bright pink dreadlocks, dirty band shirts and facial piercings whom I’d grown up with and grown to love were spouting off the most intolerant, anti-free speech shit I’d ever heard.
From 2012 to now I’ve watched every deviant behavior performed by my heroes like Howard Stern, Marilyn Manson, even GG Allin and Divine be condemned by the extreme left. I watched in horror as lynch mobs of angry social media users found the home addresses of people’s mothers and brothers. Found out where people worked who dared to express social or political values different from their own and get them fired.
Social media became a weaponized tool for so-called liberals. So-called feminists. The SJW culture is neither of those things but unfortunately many well-meaning people who grew up just like me, who were into the very same things I was into, who consider themselves social outcasts just like I do have labeled themselves liberals and feminists and whatever else the trendy hashtag of the moment is because Social Media Pageantry, because virtue signalling is a REQUIREMENT in today’s online culture.
We don’t have to fear right wing Christians anymore. They’re as scared as us. Corporate social media is run by their enemies and those enemies look for any reason they can to delete social media accounts, humiliate families and get those who don’t fall in line with their narrow view of their world fired from their jobs for expressing opinions that go against current trendy politics.
Gone are movies like Retardead. Gone are books like Ass Goblins. You don’t see that kind of boundary pushing subversive art anymore because people are SCARED. They’re scared of the social media weapon and the militarized mob of puritanical SJWs who police your social media and mine.
Those are the people who are going to share this link with you. Who screen-shot private messages and publicly humiliate their peers for the very same activities they held in reverence just a few short decades ago. The same activities that these people perform in the privacy of their bedrooms. They’re hypocrites cut from the very same virtuous cloth as child molesting priests and politicians who push anti-gay legislation and then get caught in glory holes. Bad people. The worst people. Modern inquisitors. Salem witch hunters.
Gone are personalities like GG Allin. You won’t see anyone like him. You won’t see a modern Divine. You won’t see brazenly offensive movies or literature because we live in a socially censored culture terrified of exposing the darker sides of ourselves for fear of being pulled from our virtual homes by the cyber mobs who get off on exposing our families and our workplaces to the very same behaviors that we expected from our idols before Social Media pageantry ruined everything.
Weirdo culture is dead. We live now in hiding. Waiting for the day that we can be free to be truly weird once again.