"Totally coup, yo."

"Bob" is Dead





Church of the Subgenius X Day disappoints the faithless


The naked old man on the dirt road in the middle of the Brushwood Folklore Center didn’t seem like he was going from one place to another. He and his shriveled up dick were just out there, on display for anyone driving around or whose eyes happened to wander around the huge open field, where he was one of a very few people walking around. So we turned away from him and started to explore the layout of the festivities before setting up some kind of base camp.

The militia meth lab did not portend wellThe militia meth lab did not portend well

We only got a few feet away from Old Naked Man #1 before passing a little shack. A man walked purposefully towards the car with his hand out, indicating that we should stop. He had something to tell us:

“You guys gotta slow down. See all this dust that’s blowing around? There’s little ones here, so be careful.”

These people are still naked, and ruining your apetite These people are still naked, and ruining your appetite

Ian reflexively said OK, but a few seconds after continuing on our way – very slowly – it dawned on us that the Eternally Vigilant Enemy of Dust Clouds had some pretty fucked up priorities. There’s a brain-damaged exhibitionist not 50 feet away from “the little ones,” but he apparently thought driving 7 mph on a dirt road instead of 5 mph was the graver threat to the children’s well-being. It was a bad omen. In retrospect, we would probably have been better off if we had just turned around then and there.

The “Fire Shrine” would be pretty cool if there
were anything going on there.

After exploring a few of what turned out to be dead end roads, we set up our base of operations near an inexplicable pile of dirt. There was a gathering at a pavilion we wanted to check out, but other than that there wasn’t much action going on for X Day. Nothing was happening at the “Spirit Shrine.” Nothing was happening at the “Fire Shrine” or the “Ancestor’s Rape Shack” or the “Dipshit Roundhouse.” Nothing was happening pretty much anywhere else, so we trekked across the field towards the pavilion.

The Spirit Shrine was, like, amazingThe Spirit Shrine was, like, so spiritual

The Church of the SubGenius leadership was doing their free association spoken word thing at one end next to a “Bob” effigy hanging from a noose and a few propaganda signs. They relayed some interesting facts and insights about microbiology (according to Dr. Hal, microbial life under the surface of the Earth outweighs all above surface life, including oceanic life), advice on file-sharing (USENET!), and rants about numerology regarding the Church’s apocalyptic mythology.

Magic buses were abundant. Magic was not.Fun buses were abundant. Fun was not.

There were maybe 40 people under the pavilion at a time and they regularly left and arrived in small groups. A couple people appeared to be in some kind of drug coma. Most of the rest sat on folding chairs and enjoyed the shade and weird-talk. There were a few topless women. Murphy aptly described most of the aged visible boobs as “You kinda want to suck on ‘em, but… not really.” At one point whoever was running the shop selling SubGenius products wanted to take a break and so it would have to briefly close. The panel started badgering the crowd to hurry up and buy something before everything was gone. There’s this odd duality in the way they practice their hucksterism. On the one hand, they’re doing a parody of religious tithing; but on the other they really do sincerely want your money. It was off-putting and funny at the same time.

Sadly, the ar ndraiocht fein shack was closed. And just when we were jonsing for whatever that is.Sadly, the ar ndraiocht fein shack was closed. And just when we were jonesing for whatever that is.

We left just before the Bulldada Auction, thirsty and figuring that it would be just more of the same hokey snake-oil salesmanship. We had prepared poorly. We didn’t bring chairs and hardly any food or water. So we decided to go back to the ‘downtown’ of Sherman, NY, hoping to find some kind of restaurant which was open on the Fourth of July. We found one, ate, noticed how similar it was to a local amusement park’s setup of an Old West town, and returned to drive around again while documenting the scene via video camera.

This is where the action happens in Sherman, NY

The Amish problem: they still existThe Amish problem: they still exist

The demographics were tough to pin down. Most people appeared to be just camping for Independence Day. A small contingent seemed to be there for X Day. Others looked like full-time modern hobos and vagabonds who drifted from one festival to another. But the “festival” wasn’t very festive. The magic buses were not very magical at all. One woman was pushing an old-fashioned lawn mower across her few square feet of a campsite. Our neighbors at the Inexplicable Pile of Dirt had a bunch of children, one of whom was named Random. They wore handmade clothes which made them look like they had been living on a desert island for years. Periodically they would wander off into the woods, probably to hunt for wild boar. It was just another day for the wandering folk. There were probably more exciting parties at Back to the Future fan clubs celebrating the 25th anniversary of that film’s release.

The sun set, and the most exciting thing to happen was a few UFO hoaxes floating up a few hundred feet before falling back to Earth. There was no music, no obvious gatherings, no nothing. So we left without even seeing the effigy burning of “Bob.” Maybe these old hippies are just operating on a different wavelength entirely and I just couldn’t meet them there. It’s very weird to me for someone to fixate on getting “back to nature” while sleeping in a tent next to their car in a field that’s only there because someone cleared the forest.

"Um, yay?"“Um, yay?”

One last quick note on why this might have been so lame: In researching for this story, I heard a comment from one of the Church founders about how his business dropped by half after X Day 1998, which you might remember is when the aliens were first predicted to show up. The way I see it, the Church is so obviously fake that this should only improve their business. But the fact that it’s the opposite of that tells you something about the possibility of more people actually believing in a literal “Bob,” despite all the efforts made to inoculate themselves from people who take themselves and things in general too seriously. And that’s a lot more disturbing than one lame Fourth of July.

  • Ms. Anonymous

    The deadness could be because today’s parody religion is Flying Spaghetti Monster which attracts more ‘ung ‘uns than the parody religion of their parents.

    And I’ll drink to that.

  • Truth Be told

    It was the worst X-day ever. I hope no one ever goes back there again. This article hit it right on the nose. I went and did nothing, saw nothing, was responsible for nothing, and well, just sort of had a normal vacation.

  • Jenny Layman

    I absolutely concur. I was looking forward to mixing it up a little, and even a bit wary of what might happen with all of these “individuals” around. Instead, there seemed to be a small contingent of “hot topic mess/county goth” types who were all “individual” in the same way. I was also very put off by the many of the lame subgeni women. Most seemed to find it funny/sexy to talk about how much they like fucking, while being naked or having their flappy boobs out; it wasn’t. No sour grapes here, I am a very new member who finds slack and inward, but unrepressed individuality to be of the utmost importance – I just saw very little of either at Brushwood. Oh well, it was certainly entertaining, and a reinforcement of my long held beliefs concerning not joining any club that would have me, and that Hell is other people.

  • Jenny Layman

    Correction: “…put off by many (not all) of the lame subgeni women.”

  • http://clintjcl.wordpress.com ClintJCL aka Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos

    Uh – of course a car is more dangerous than a naked person. Fucking idiot.

  • Pantiara

    You might have had more fun if you had the mind to socialize with some other Yeti. People come expecting a 24/7 rave or something and are terribly dissapointed when they get a giant relaxing BBQ with friends they just made. Camp close to a group of people and let yourself be known instead of wandering around asking where all the parties are.

  • Two Beans

    Yeah, X-Day is lame. Sirius Rising is a much more fun and inclusive festival.

  • http://taphouse.org Ankara

    So let me get this straight, you arrive after the event ENDS then complain that there a just a few stragglers left, (xday is over after 7am july 5) also you were there during the DAY how lame are you? next time show up between 2-4am the morning of july 5th if you wanna see a party.

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh

    Pantiara: Calling it a festival makes me think it might be kind of like a festival, and not a carbon copy of any other campground in the Southern Tier.

    Ankara: No, we didn’t arrive after it ENDED. We were there the afternoon and night of July 4. I’m very sorry for being there during the DAY. That was very lame of us.

  • Rev. Tom Sane


    “Bob” was killed in ~1984.

    So you showed up looking for “Bob” but missed him by 26 years?

    What exactly were you expecting for an end of the world party?

    Why didn’t you bring it?

  • Ankara

    My point stands then, and to continue your hippy speak “if you are too square you ain’t gonna fit in daddy-o”

  • admin

    We thinks y’all protest too much. Aside from Stang, Dr. Hal and the other guys riffing, it was boring and you know it. We were expecting pussy, drugs, craziness, odd characters, fun people — a story of some kind. What we got was some uptight Pink whining about dust coming from our car, which was, frankly, unavoidable. What is avoidable is Old Man Button Cock all up in your child’s face. But they weren’t kicking up dust, I’ll give you that. Let’s not forget that The BEAST hearts The Subgenius but, you know, your “festival” was so dull as to have us presume you’ve been co-opted by The Conspiracy. I guess, if we have to “bring” the party ourselves, next year we’ll just celebrate X Day in my apartment with a copy of Over 50, a rousing game of cribbage and a wheelbarrow full of dirt.
    - Murphy

  • Ankara

    And the point was, you guys were there for an afternoon, looking for a *party* among a group that isnt outta bed at xday before 5pm, if you had been there at 2am to 7am and said it was lame party I would have granted that at least you had the benefit of experience, but you LAMED out and bailed before anything got started. One might think this was the outcome you were expecting. I realize its just some small town news deal, but you expect me to believe that research isnt necessary in your stories?

  • admin

    Fair enough, Ankara. We kind of wanted to stay, but I had to leave, for personal reasons. And we kind of didn’t, because the people we talked to sucked, and through the power of imagination we could, um, imagine what a bunch of ancient, naked hippies look like dancing around a bonfire. But hey, we reported what we experienced. Next year, maybe we’ll experience more. Or maybe next year, we’ll do something fun instead.
    - Murphy

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh

    And just for the record, I had planned on writing this from the point of view of a skeptic who came to debunk “Bob” and his lies, but then had a road to Damascus conversion experience which would lead to me letting “Bob” think my thoughts for me, pay my $30, start making excuses for why the X-ists didn’t show up, etc.

    We left sometime around 1030 or 11, and the biggest gathering we saw was maybe 7 or 8 people watching some people speak at the pavilion. I seriously doubt we missed much. I have a feeling that if we had left at 2 am, Ankara and others would be saying that we should’ve stayed until 3 when the *real* party supposedly started.

  • Ankara

    And nothing that either of you says, refutes any of my points. Now all you have to do is man up and admit that you phoned it in. Or you could just keep arguing with me.

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh

    Well, you said that we were there on July 5, after it ended. That was wrong. And you implied that we were only there during the day. That was wrong, too. You said that the crowd didn’t get up until after 5pm. That was wrong. You said that we left before anything started. That was wrong. You also said that you thought I went there determined to write a negative review. That was wrong, too.
    Maybe it did stop sucking right after we left, but assuming that it did would have been disingenuous.

  • Ankara

    So you cant admit that you phoned it in. You DID leave before anything started. And you were mostly only there during the day. And I still believe you intended a negative review. I mean really, a 5 day event, and you spend an hour or two in the afternoon, and maybe one or two more hours in the evening of ONE DAY? How could anyone NOT think that you intended a negative review. Or at least that you didnt bother to know what you were writing about.

  • admin

    Look, I’m loathe to continue this chat, because it’s clear you’ll never stop, but what Josh wrote in comment #16 is true. He showed me the graphic he made beforehand and it originally had Dobbs on the bottom (that’s young Bunting on there now, for all you Bunting fans). He also knows what he’s talking about. We can agree to disagree about what is fun and what sucks, but now you’re just calling us liars. I didn’t realize fake religion produces real zealots. The nuts at the Creation “Museum” didn’t even bitch this much.

  • RevNickie

    “We were expecting pussy, drugs, craziness, odd characters, fun people” – srsly? You know those things oanly find you if you deserve them, right? Plus, you spelled “Bob” wrong. What a Pink dumbass you are.

  • Ankara

    And yet, it’s interesting that you trot out “Bob” cred and then precede to ignore everything I said about your “reporting” Let me say it again: how can you REVIEW a 5 day long event in a few hours? Once you answer that question, tell me how you DIDNT ‘DRY LAB’ THIS ARTICE?

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh

    u mad

  • Ankara

    “U mad” hey way to go, you read 4chan. I suppose its as good as anything else to say when you got NOTHING.

  • http://clintjcl.wordpress.com ClintJCL aka Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos

    Heh, wouldn’t approve my other comment, eh? funny

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh

    Ankara: lol u REAL mad

  • Ankara

    lol you BAD at this.

  • admin

    Clint: I don’t screen comments; you’re a liar.
    Ankara: you’re a troll.
    Rev. Nickie: you are correct; I forgot the quotation marks. Thank you.

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com Josh

    Yeah, trolls are basically a given for all truly great investigative journalists, and I’m certainly no exception. The privileged and the powerful usually lash back when facts which make them uncomfortable are reported. No matter. I will continue with my benevolent and crucial work on the important stories of our generation because I am a great and brave humanitarian.

    Clint: Perhaps you are thinking of a comment you left on my own blog, which is there for anyone to see. It doesn’t automatically get re-posted here. That’s not how the internet works.

  • Ankara

    *looks at watch* welcome to the party dumbass. By the way tell your [family member] to stop calling me, I cant really deal with her [cogent arguments]
    Thanks for your [wonderful] article [...]

    PS I didnt actually make it to xday this year, I had other things to do

    [Of course you didn't - Murphy]

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh

    u still ragin, LOL.
    And I am still a great, great man for having the courage to stand up to the tie-dye industrial complex and their lies. I won’t pretend that shedding the blood on the tracks was a simple task, but for the sake of an open society where information flows freely, it was something that had to be done by Me. Thank you, and may God continue to bless America.

  • Ankara

    Hey [redacted] called, he wants his [redacted] back.

    PS your mom [is a nice lady]

    [Thanks - Murphy]

  • admin

    Josh: Well said.
    Ankara: Comments are closed. You lose : (

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