Stop Reading Zines
A Warning to Addicts
by Bob Zark
Fanzines ruin America. I know. I'm an American
and fanzines ruined me. I can't sleep. Ideas float in and out
of my mind and force me to rise from bed. As meaningless as these
thoughts (usually) are, their power saps my strength. Drawn out
of sleep, I am pulled by this powerful force that I have come
to recognize: fanzine addict. Onward to the milk crates, the
milk crates filled with zines, each cryptic, obscene from obscure
people in dusty rooms with bicycle tires and non-working lamps
strewn about forgotten mounds of paper. More satanic than Satan
could ever hope to be, the hopeless fanzine abuser, trapped in
a meaningless absurd world, more important than life itself.
The most perceptive
academics have yet to write about the extent of the pervasive
social malaise of zine abuse. The academic gaze, fixed on proper
and respectable things (far from the twisted reach of the crazy
zines) has missed the boat.
I'm sorry but I
warned you my mind does not ....things I say are said under the
influence, having read too many....also having written too many
I am no longer capable....
I'm warning you,
read at your own risk consult your local smallstate agent take
out a fanzine insurance policy. Protect yourself from brain damage
and other problems in too many zines. This poor, self-satisfied,
surrealistic network constantly at odds with reality, unable
to justify its own existence. What kind of pervert would even
bother to pick up a copy of CROW and stoop so low as to open
the thing and read? Having been addicted for years I know only
too well the sick nature of this weird obsession with all things
underground. I have seen first hand how zines parasitically sap
life from those afflicted with fanzine disease.
I was reading nearly
50 a week and writing, pasting, stapling and mailing hundreds
every month before I realized how much was being wasted. I may
never know all the damage zines do. Hopefully you won't ever
get that far. Stop reading now.
Remember, the tendency
to produce zines is far from being an asset. It is more a birth
defect. A curse that I still don't know. A few incredibly strange
(and curious) friends have actually seen the scars from my past
failures trying to extricate myself from the world of zines.
Yes, addiction can be an unending source of sorrow and stress,
even worse than a loss of family members. I would rather see
a once vital 15-year-old brother suddenly double over in excruciating
pain then slowly die before having fanzines in my hands. I'm
normally a sensitive person. Radioactive isotopes. A handful
of garden slugs. Anything before a fanzine.
I'm writing this
so you don't have to go through the pain and anxiety I have gone
through to do away with the habit. There are no treatments, no
doctors, no therapists. There is no professional help available
to deal with this illness. The symptoms are nearly invisible.
Those who write zines, and the dangerous few who buy them, may
lead normal lives on the surface. But the similarity between
their everyday, superficial existence and the rumblings of their
maniacal fanzine influence, often buried deep in the garbage,
ends quickly upon closer inspection. Fanzine abusers are usually
capable of leading normal lives but only in short bursts. They
change jobs and residences as seasons change. And in lucid moments
fanzine afflicted personality may appear deceptively normal and
even decent or forthright.
abuse is more evil and despicable than its not-so-distant cousin,
mass murder. True, both writers and mass-murderers tend to lead
double lives. They both may lie to protect their identities.
But at least mass murderers have the courage and fortitude to
destroy enemies, whether or not their enemies are real. Fanzine
writers, on the other hand, are so wasted and consumed by their
own schemes they wallow in them, spending countless hours alone,
dreaming up more and more ideas, sifting through rotten articles
and tainted photos. It's no wonder the national debt is high.
Recognized by sick
minds as the zine of zines, Factsheet 5 is now sent to a list
of more than 7000 casualties, and is probably read by twice that.
This peculiar disaster occurs nearly five times a year. With
so many zines around unregulated by the government, society's
woes are bound to multiply.
Bob Zark is editor of the Underground Crawlspace
Review and Blort. This appeal originally appeared in Bad Newz
#11, published in 1988. It was later reprinted in the catalog
for the second annual North Brooklyn Small Press Convention,
1989. It is posted with permission.
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