Click here for the Zine & E-Zine Resource Guide

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.
Ultimately, fanzine 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.

return to main

external sites open in new window
report new or dead sites here