"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The reader may (or may not) be familiar with the Church of the SubGenius, the world's only intentionally absurd religion. (It is also a shamelessly for-profit organization, and describes itself as the only church that proudly pays its taxes.) The SubGenii are followers of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, "a drilling equipment salesman in the 1950s who saw a vision of God on a television set he had built himself." "Bob" was assassinated in 1984, but has returned many times since then. Famous SubGenii (also known as "Bobists," which is an offensive label but that's no problem since the Church is an offensive religion) include PeeWee Herman, David Byrne, Penn Jillette, Frank Zappa, Bruce Campbell, and (most famously) the members of Devo.
You may have gathered by now that this is all a bit of a joke (albeit a deadly serious one). If you haven't gathered such by now, then do yourself a favor and purchase The Book of the SubGenius: The Sacred Teachings of J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs by Rev. Ivan Stang, and all will become more or less clear depending on your relative levels of Pinkness and Slack.
But if you do, look out for a tight-assed sumbitch calling himself Judge James P. Punch, presiding in Orleans County, New York:
This case began in 1997 when Rachel Knight and her son, Kohl Jary moved to Texas to be with her fiancé, Steve Bevilacqua. Jeff Jary, Kohl’s birth father, remained in rural Upstate New York, living off the dole in the same bedroom he grew up in at his father’s house. Judge James P. Punch entered into the records a custody agreement Rachel and Jeff worked out between themselves. After a series of very emotionally-charged court battles, Kohl’s custody seemed finally settled in May, 2000.
December 18, 2005, Rachel put Kohl on a flight to Rochester, New York to be picked up by Jeff for his Christmas visitation. This year Jeff was finally required to share half the transportation expenses. The visitation plan was for Kohl to be returned by Jeff to Rachel’s mother on January 2, 2006, so Kohl could spend time with his mother’s relatives before returning to Georgia on January 7, 2006.
Rachel would not see Kohl again until January 20, 2006, when she was allowed one brief overnight visit with Kohl at her mother’s house. Kohl was visibly changed, appearing closed and withdrawn and becoming emotional when the subject of his living arrangements was approached, even very gently, from any direction. He seemed afraid to talk about what was going on in his father’s house, or whether or not he wanted to live there.
On December 22, 2005, without informing Rachel, Jeff went to the Orleans County Courthouse and presented Judge Punch with a series of allegations about not being able to contact Rachel and needing an order of Temporary Sole Custody in order to prevent Kohl from being kidnapped. Judge Punch issued Jeff a Temporary Sole Custody order and allowed him to keep Kohl after his scheduled Christmas visitation. This was done without making any attempt to contact Rachel and discover whether Jeff’s allegations were true. Rachel did not even receive any paperwork from the court until January 9, 2006 — 17 days after Judge Punch entered the order of Temporary Sole Custody for Jeff.
On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. Kohl has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.
The judge, allegedly a very strict Catholic, became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ — especially the photo where Jesus [Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a “dildo”.
His Honor also strongly disapproved of the photos of Mary Magdalen [Rachel Bevilacqua] in a bondage dress and papier maché goat’s head. The judge repeatedly asked, “Why a goat? What’s so significant about a goat’s head?” When Rachel replied, “I just thought the word ‘goat’ was funny,” Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a “pervert,” “mentally ill,” “lying,” and a participant in “sex orgies.” The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect “severe mental illness”. Rachel has had no contact with Kohl since that day, February 3, 2006.
Look, Judge Punch is free to worship his imaginary friend, but Rachel Bevilacqua is likewise free to worship hers. As long as Kohl Jary is clean, clothed, well-fed, and well-loved, what his mother does in her bondage dress and goat's head on her own time is her own damned business. (By the way, check out the photos here, and here. What kind of self respecting "mentally ill" "pervert" would participate in "sex orgies" while wearing a body suit under her bondage outfit?) This outrage is being talked up at some fairly high profile sites, including Jesus' General, where I got it, and BoingBoing. Still, it never hurts to spread the news. If you share my disgust at Judge Punch and his reptilian thinking, do the right thing - donate to Rachel Bevilacqua's legal fund:
Rachel Bevilacqua c/o Francis C. Affronti, Esq.
130D Linden Oaks
Rochester, NY 14625
Doing so will surely bring you great gobs of merciful Slack.