A very old man dies, the 'world' holds its breath


Spectres of Mark
So, predictably, I'm appalled by the blanket coverage of the death of the head of the Church of Satan... proof, once more, that Deleuze and Guattari were right to describe capitalism as the age of 'piety and cynicism'... that faux-grave tone of hacks, as they slaveringly wait for the Old Man to finally give up the ghost... 'the eyes of the world are on the Vatican'.. . er, what world is that? Do we really think that China is holding its breath just now?

I'll brush aside the blanket reverene - this, for a man who headed an institution which has knowingly and systematically covered up child abuse in every place that it has any significant influence, and whose stated views on contraception have led to misery and death in Africa ---

what amazes me though is the secularism of the RCC's message --- it's 'about the sanctitity of individual life' -- a hymning of the dominant humanist ideology of 'human rights' --- no wonder christianity is dying on its feet in Europe... how can it compete with radical Islam, or anything that tells you that the Cause is much more important than (your) life?


Well-known member
'Prince William of England descends from the same noble house that spawned Prince Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia (modern Romania). But whereas Prince William has made a killing with his handsome looks and shy smile, Prince Vlad “the Impaler” achieved infamy for his tortuous methods of execution— most notably his penchant for impaling victims on tall wooden spikes.'


everyone always says 'church sucks,' but the truth is, whether or not you believe in anything, going to church is actually really nice. i'm not particually spiritual, but i think church is great because it smells good and the ceilings are high and you get to shake hands with old people.


mpc said:
everyone always says 'church sucks,' but the truth is, whether or not you believe in anything, going to church is actually really nice. i'm not particually spiritual, but i think church is great because it smells good and the ceilings are high and you get to shake hands with old people.

best post ever! :D


mpc said:
everyone always says 'church sucks,' but the truth is, whether or not you believe in anything, going to church is actually really nice. i'm not particually spiritual, but i think church is great because it smells good and the ceilings are high and you get to shake hands with people.

i went to the big catholic place in paris last year during mass, i 've never really been in a catholic church before and i was interested in what it was like and i was pretty suprised at all the saints and candles and the forest like design of the place where the statues of saints were, it was quite a suprise how much it all borders on pagan practice.
i felt absolutley no empathy with any of the people there, no spiritual feelings whatsoever which was a bit of a suprise to me as i would have liked to feel empathy with these people's deeply held beliefs but i didn't.

anyway anyone got any jokes yet ?


Terry Eagleton had a piece in the London Review of Books a while back called "Spiritual Rock Star." It was a review of John Cornwell's The Pope in Winter: The Dark Face of John Paul II’s Papacy. Unfortunately, I threw it out and I don't remember much about it except that JP sounded like a pervy control freak.

There's a rumour that the next Pope may be African. I suppose that will make up for denying African Catholics condoms over the last two AIDS-plagued decades. Culture of Life, innit.


autonomicforthepeople said:
There's a rumour that the next Pope may be African. I suppose that will make up for denying African Catholics condoms over the last two AIDS-plagued decades. Culture of Life, innit.

there is one african guy in the listings and he's just as conservative as jp with a special dislike of abortion, so it will probably be no different. he's still into the 'culture of death ' thing, thats different from the culture of death that catholicisim is responsible for.
here is a list of the cardinals who are up for the big job


saw the light
You aren't going to find many liberal cardinals or archbishops in the catholic church, not when JPII was in charge of appointments for over a quarter of a century. It's a bit like Reagan's supreme court, he might be long gone, but the supreme court still bears his mark to this day.


I remember when I was a kid, this group of nuns claiming that there'd be a series of earthquakes and then the election of a black pope, after which the world would shortly end. Who knows? Those religious statues have also been used for psychological torture, when Ireland ran those camps for 'fallen women' (ie-single mums, orphans) in the 1940s and 50s, one of the punishments was shoving a girl into a small enclosed space and being forced to stare at a statue of the Infant Jesus until she cracked up or fell into a trance.


Snakes + Ladders
trying my best to respect religious people and their right to believe in this stuff,
but the idol-worshipping of the pope just repulses me, i try my best to avoid any discussion on religion right now, because i find it impossible to understand how people can buy into it,

i'm sure it's sad when old and sick religious buggers die, but for fuck's sake, people die every day and every second, all over the world, ordinary men and women and children die from hunger, aids, warfare, get their limbs ripped off and torn to pieces by bombs, whathave you...
THEY don't get monuments or journalists holding 2-hour primetime debate shows to discuss what colour their colostomy bags were the moment before they popped their clogs...something's wrong here, i feel...very wrong.

these lyrics by Paternoster sums up my sentiments exactly:

Poor old man in the Vatican
Human god or idol fan
Please don't disturb my praying

Poor old sod who needs you to believe in god
Try to take away words and dogmas you brought
Please be quiet infallible monster

...right now, X billion people worldwide mourns a man who was against abortion for women, against contraception, against homosexuality, against...a lot of things. I'm sure he brought about some positive changes too, but i just can't see it and i fail to share their sadness, although i TRY to respect them. I really try. But it seems like madness to me. i'm sorry.:(
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martin said:
I remember when I was a kid, this group of nuns claiming that there'd be a series of earthquakes and then the election of a black pope, after which the world would shortly end. Who knows? Those religious statues have also been used for psychological torture, when Ireland ran those camps for 'fallen women' (ie-single mums, orphans) in the 1940s and 50s, one of the punishments was shoving a girl into a small enclosed space and being forced to stare at a statue of the Infant Jesus until she cracked up or fell into a trance.

i bet those nuns hung around in 1976 waiting for 2 sevens to clash tho as well.
personally i reckon michael jackson is the false messiah :D

as for liberal popes, well jp tryed to sort out oppressive communist regimes whilst he got friendly with oppressive right wing regimes like pinochet's.... hmm..

there are a couple of popes there who are commited to workers rights in south america etc but how commited can you be when you are at the top of the catholic church if you get me.
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mms said:
as for liberal popes, well jp hung tryed to sort out oppressive communist regimes whilst he got friendly with oppressive right wing regimes like pinochet's.... hmm..
I saw a very good documentary about this last night on our news channel. I'd never seen these images of JP berating a Liberation Theology bishop and shouting at an enormous audience in Nicarauga to shut up as they chanted "freedom." He only saw communism and not the parallel to Poland.


Beast of Burden
think you guys may find amusing the way this ny press writer matt taibbi ridicules the pope and the media coverage of the pope in this piece, published earlier this month (wait it's already april, this was in early march)

btw k-punk and woebot *briefly* reviewed music for ny press a couple years back -- thanks to my well-intentioned but ultimately meddlesome words to the paper's editors, one of whom is a mate of mine, that k-punk and woebot were the best things going on the music blog front -- but then the editors abruptly decided to drop reviews of recorded music in favor of previews of upcoming music performances in nyc

the piece reads like a poor imitation of hunter s. thompson, but taibbi's underlying argument hits many of the same points that k-punk makes, e.g., taibbi's emphasis on the pope's grotesque dead/dying body and all-too-human attempts to distract his mind from pain while clinging to life amounts to an indictment of "idiot organo-vitalist brain dead ideas" ------ and then the whole boris yeltsin bit seems to ridicule the consensus notion of how john paul 2 fought to "liberate" eastern europe from communism -- or perhaps taibbi's not that sharp a critic and i'm merely reading k-punk into taibbi

judge for yourselves

so without further ado, here's the piece --


By Matt Taibbi

52.Pope pisses himself just before the end; gets all over nurse.

51.After death, saggy, furry tits of dead Pope begin inexorable process of melting away into nothingness, like coldest of Sno-cones under faintest of suns.

50.Pope survives just long enough to be acquired by Isiah Thomas for Stephon Marbury, 2005 #1 pick and cash considerations. "We feel like we've made ourselves younger and more competitive," Thomas says.

49.After beating for the last time, Pope's heart sits there like a piece of hamburger.

48.Whole world waiting until the last minute for a sudden improvement of his condition. Long lines of girls in the Philippines kneeling and praying. Catholics everywhere with ears pressed to radios, transfixed. Pope gives one last groan, spits, dies.

47.Upon death, Pope's face frozen in sickening smile, eyes wide open and teeth exposed, like a baboon.

46.Beetles eating Pope's dead brains.

45.Pope departs Earth at a time when Hitch is top-grossing movie in the world.

44.Gurgling sound during embalming process; real fluids in dead Pope's body sucked out into jars.

43.POV Dead Pope: Last glimpse of overcast Italian sky as coffin lid closes for last time.

42.Get used to that quiet sound.

41.Humming old Polish folk song in there. That kills three minutes.

40.Humming it again, this time getting the words right. Another three minutes.

39.Can't move. Can't reach penis.

38.Somebody taking my job. My job!

37.Getting a little stuffy.

36.Naming all the different types of fish. Flounder, halibut, perch, goldfish, basking shark...no, do the sharks separately...really stuffy in here, gar, swordfish, manta ray, eels... No, don't think about eels. Eels are scary. Boy, is it dark in here. Four minutes gone by.

35.Doctor applies fingers to neck to check expiring Pope's pulse. Pope's ear falls off.

34.In heaven, Pope keeps wrapping cars around telephone poles.

33.Silverfish pops out of dead Pope's vestment for a moment, immediately ducks back in.

32.Priest who administers last rites to Pope excitedly calls mother afterward to tell her how well it went.

31.Dead Pope, still with baboon face, wheeled through corridors of Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, learns answer to Great Mystery.

30.Michael Jackson too broke to buy Pope's bones.

29.New Pope inevitably ambitious cleric burning with earthly vigor and secret desire to undo dead Pope's legacy.

28.Bears everywhere shitting in woods.

27.We'll never get to hear his hilarious post-tracheotomy rendition of "Come on Eileen."

26.Pope recovers and survives until 2009; New York Press columnist Matt Taibbi beheaded by passing garbage truck, March 2, 2005.

25.LexisNexis search on phrase "the inner workings of the Vatican are shrouded in mystery" temporarily crashes system; Eric Alterman unable to search for press references to "What Liberal Media?" for 37 consecutive hours.

24.Pope spends last hours surrounded by cardinals who stand glaring at him with folded arms, silently reminding him of the political necessity of clinging to life.

23.Doctors examining the body discover that the Pope was not only a woman, but also Hitler.

22.Mankind scrambles to choose new leader of inflexible, sexually morbid institutional anachronism; heretofore anonymous bureaucrat will instantly be celebrated as world's holiest man as he travels to AIDS-stricken Africa to denounce the use of condoms.

21.Telltale white smoke emitting from Vatican chimneys announces a) choice of new Pope, and b) the fiery death of the 5000 back issues of Manscape and Hung Inches that had accumulated in the Vatican lobby.

20.Hall and Oates mulling comeback.

19.To the end, the Pope could only think of the poor and the downtrodden.

18.When he died, he stopped thinking of the poor and the downtrodden, and his face was frozen in that baboon smile, and he thought of nothing at all.

17.In his last days, the Pope was in tremendous pain.

16.NBC Nightly News intern pulls wrong tape from drawer full of long-ago archived video obits; world thinks Boris Yeltsin has died, wonders why Brian Williams is calling him an "inspirational spiritual leader."

15.Williams, after broadcast: "Who's Boris Yeltsin?"

14.Matt Lauer to Williams: "He wrote the Contract for America."

13.Just before death, Pope sits up in his bed, shrieks, his body bursts into flames; everyone runs from the room.

12.Sequoia, birch, maple, willow, palm, oak, pine, fir, maple—No, wait, I said maple already...

11.Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal...

10.You dirty rat. You dirty, double-crossing rat... Proxima estacion: Tibidabo. Tenga cuidado de las puertas deslizantes... It means woods and blanche means white, so the two together mean white woods... L'état— c'est moi! Don't think about eels, don't think about eels...

9.Bush on the tragic event: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to this great man and all of his many children."

8.Bush continued: "He touched all of us in places no one else could reach."

7. According to ancient tradition, the slamming shut of the Bronze Door in St. Peter's Square announces the death of the Pope.

6.Normal Vatican schedule closes that door at 8 p.m. every night and reopens it in the morning.

5.According to numerous reports, if the Pope dies at night this time, no one will know what to do. (This is not a joke.)

4.In 1958, reporters paid off Pope Pius XII's physician to throw open the hospital room window when the Pope died.

3.When a monsignor threw the window open to get some air, the Pope's death was erroneously reported all over the world.

2.This is what happens when weird old men in dresses communicate with the world with doors and chimneys.

1.Throw a marble at the dead Pope's head. Bonk!

Volume 18, Issue 9
©2005 All rights reserved.
No part of this website may be reproduced in any manner without written permission of the publisher.
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Beast of Burden
b/c i disagreed w/ k-punk's politically aggressive criticism of the catholic church last fall

and b/c i took the position that catholic church is (i) aesthetically superior to protestantism, (ii) a complex institution able to accommodate the needs of many kinds of people (and so not as oppressive as its critics make it out to be), and in any event (iii) should be accorded respect b/c it meant so much to our ancestors, who were not as stupid or foolish as we blithe moderns like to think (i.e., we lack the pathos of distance, which catholic hierarchy instills)

b/c this is the position that i took, i'd now like to announce that i've changed my position on the catholic church

i think k-punk is absolutely right on this one

sophisticated defenses of the catholic church are precisely that -- sophistry

and less than sophisticated defenses are pettifoggery

and nothing good will come of treating the catholic church with tact
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Beast of Burden
should add that a couple months ago i finally saw "the passion of christ" . . . .

still disagree w/ k-punk on this one!

very little to recommend this film, in my judgment -- and not b/c i thought it particularly anti-semetic, merely of low artistic quality and filled w/ superstition rather than thought

not even worth talking about (so let's not)
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Beast of Burden
good gosh i just now learned that there was a huge controversy over this piece on the pope, such that the editor of the ny press -- jeff koyen -- ended up resigning rather than accept a 2-week suspension

now the ny press is often intentionally low brow, they employ gutter snipe tactics, etc

they published the piece attacking klosterman, they've made fun of mormons, etc

they do the 50 most loathesome new yorkers issue, etc

but once they gave it to the pope, they evidently went too far

here's the story on what happened . . . .

Jeff Koyen’s Exit Interview

As FishBowlNY reported earlier today, New York Press editor Jeff Koyen has stepped down from his position in the wake of intense criticism for the paper’s Pope-mocking cover story from last week.

We caught up with Koyen as he cleaned out his desk and he told us he’d probably “hit the road,” maybe return to Eastern Europe, where he’d been before taking over the paper.

He also sent us this exit statement, which we’re reproducing in whole:

In Friday’s Daily News, Rep. Anthony Weiner called on New Yorkers to “exercise their right to take as many of these rags as they can and put them in the trash.” Unfortunately for Mr. Weiner, New Yorkers don’t have that right. No one does. Interrupting the distribution of any newspaper—even a paid one, wherein you buy, say, 1000 copies and toss them—is against the law. Case law dictates that the right to circulation is to be held as sacred as the right to publish, as one is worthless without the other.

My bosses apparently don’t believe in New York Press’ right to distribute. They refused to stand up against Rep. Weiner; they refused to condemn his call-to-action as immoral (and illegal). They also refused to stand behind me in the face of harsh criticism for publishing Matt Taibbi’s “52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope”. On Friday afternoon, I went on the 3 different radio programs and even suffered through an MSNBC appearance with Joe Scarborough and the disgusting bigot Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League. I did my best to show this battle to be one of free expression.

This morning, I was told to accept a two-week unpaid suspension. During that time, I was to “think about what this paper should be.”

Problem is, New York Press already is the paper it should be. We are iconoclastic, occasionally obnoxious but always intelligent. If you see through the nasty Pope jokes, for instance, you will see a well-reasoned political argument.

Publisher Chris Rohland is a spineless alt-weekly weenie. I can’t blame him, really. He has a wife and kids, and a nice home in New Jersey. He wants nothing more than to punch the clock and get his paychecks. Owner David Unger, who is the paper’s ultimate owner, is similarly spineless. They want New York Press to be “advertiser-friendly”; they “don’t want controversy.”

That’s their choice. But I don’t need to be party to such weenieness. And I won’t be sent to my room without dessert. Hence, I resigned this morning.

It’s been a great run, and I have nothing but respect for everyone in the editorial department I’ve just left behind. Chris Rohland and David Unger, however, are weak-willed and lackluster men who should not be in control of a newspaper, especially not in these times of editorial restriction by way of advertiser dick-sucking. They’re too vulnerable to the appeal of money.

So, there ya go. We might not’ve always loved Koyen’s version of The Press, but we did read it every week and we were often surprised and amused by what we found. It’ll be interesting to see who remains and who follows his resignation and what the former House of Mugger looks like in the next few months.
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Beast of Burden
and here's what new york politicians had to say about the piece --

Sen. Chuck Schumer: "This is the most disgusting thing I've seen in 30 years of public life."

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Pope John Paul is one of the world's strongest forces for peace and understanding at a time when discord and rancor threaten every nation. It is outrageously offensive to make light of his physical suffering, which he has borne with such strength, dignity and grace."

A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg: "As disgusting as this is, it's sadly par for the course for this publication."

Rep. Anthony Weiner: "All I can tell you is that this is outrageous and the New York Press is way overpriced. Everyone has a right to free speech, but I hope New Yorkers exercise their right to take as many of these rags as they can and put them in the trash."

Former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer: "It's juvenile and not funny. For a lot of New Yorkers, the Pope embodies beliefs that are important to us, and we all wish him a speedy recovery."

Anti-Defamation League President Abraham Foxman: "It crosses the line of decency. This is a man who has devoted his life to love and compassion and reconciliation. To treat him in such gross manner is so ugly."

Polish-American Congress official Frank Milewski: "I would say it's hate speech - a most extreme example of hate speech."


Beast of Burden
i think the whole entire episode is the most hilarious thing to happen in quite some time

too bad i was too lost in my own little world to take notice as it was actually happening

but yeah i've talked to these characters at cheap wine and cheese parties, halfway off their rockers, completely and utterly alienated from america, one of them keeps running for mayor of nyc, another's a conspiracy theorist

indeed taibbi comes across in person as one of the more sensible of the group

and koyen has a hemingway/mailer complex -- but despite the obvious complex i did find him charismatic on meeting him, i.e., i wanted him to like me, "approve" of me, etc

supposedly nyc used to be full of people like them -- rabble rousers and punks openly antagonistic to the "adult" world

but not anymore
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Beast of Burden
and for an opposing view of the matter, there's this from alan cabal, who resigned in disgust that the "52 Reasons" list got published in the first place . . . .

(i should perhaps mention that alex zaitchik, mentioned below, is a good friend of mine from college and the acting editor now that koyen's gone -- obviously i don't think charges that cabal makes against koyen necessarily apply to zaitchik -- and also, i thought the offensively juvenile style of the "52 reasons" perfectly suited to taibbi's purpose, namely, to desecrate the pope in a punk gesture of revolt against the "piety and cynicism" of the media -- though i'm not a fan of a lot of taibbi's other writing, i.e., he's pretty hit or miss, and, worse, has no critical system, i.e., w/o a system you can't do sustained criticism week in and week out, i.e., you only get half-baked political rants and satirical pieces -- and i'm certainly not a fan of j.r. taylor, whom i have impression is a holdover from previous regime in any case -- but i agree w/ cabal that koyen regime lacked serious journalistic purpose -- zaitchik is much more political than koyen, so hopefully he'll right the ship, assuming his days aren't numbered)

(i should also add that both koyen and zaitchik came out of the 1990s 'zine movement, which may not be familiar to british readers -- i'll try to explain the 'zine movement if anyone's curious)

(one last note -- the "52 Reasons" list was published on March 2nd, and Koyen tendered his resignation on March 7th)

Alas and alack, we seem to have crossed the Rubicon with this latest issue of NY Press. I was sorely dismayed at Russ Smith's gutter-level deal with the mercenaries of the New Regime, preserving his execremental Neo-Con screeds at the expense of John Strausbaugh's magnificent expertise as the Master & Commander of the only so-called "alternative" newspaper capable of challenging the very model of the form, the Village Voice, and prevailing. It behooves us to remember that at the time of the Press' triumph over knee-jerk political correctness, the Voice cost readers $1.50 per issue.

I gave Koyen and Zaitchik the benefit of the doubt, as I do with people in almost all circumstances. Their initial efforts seemed feeble and clumsy, but I felt that with some measure of support from the Old Guard they might be able to keep the transgressive pulse that drove the paper intact and keep it steady in these perilous times. I accepted the reduction in rates as a necessary sacrifice to keep the fiscally floundering effort afloat, assuming that at some point in the future, the disastrous decline in advertising revenues triggered by the 911 event might be reversed.

It's been two years now, and the New York Press has succeeded in only one thing: it has become precisely what we used to mock. Flip-flop-wearing Williamsburg hipsters with body odor babbling about MDMA and getting finger-fucked by tattooed anorexic women with black eyes and a voracious appetite for abuse.

Gone are the great iconoclasts attracted by Strausbaugh's unerring command of syntax and context. Cockburn, Caldwell, Andrey Slivka, R.S. McCain, J.T. LeRoy, Ned Vizzini, the incomparable Tony Millionaire, Taki, Szamuely, Bill Bryk, Amy Sohn, my dear friend Darius James, who first introduced me to John Strausbaugh --- all gone. What fills the space? Bullies like J.R. Taylor and dickless juveniles like Matt Taibbi, whose hack tendencies clearly run in the family. Daddy does Michael Jackson on NBC, Sonny Boy trashes the Pope in a meaningless cat box liner. Instead of Amy Sohn, we get a sex advice column from a High Times reject built like a fire hydrant.

Lightweights all, desperately striving to be dangerous while leaving open the possibility of some safe and secure upward mobility in the defanged world of mainstream media. I'm a certified Satanist, and our current issue featuring Taibbi's adolescent assault on the Pope embarassed me. It was a waste of paper, and a mere insult, not in the least bit challenging, to the city's Roman Catholic population. He could have gone into P2, Marcinkus, and the assassination of John Paul I, but no, the lazy brat just ran off a stupid and ugly list that a 12 year old Marilyn Manson fan could have done better.

My loyalty has its limits, and here we are. Take my name off the masthead. I am no longer a "contributing writer" to this sophomoric mockery. NY Press once challenged the Voice --- now it can barely compete with the Onion.

Ta Ta For Now,

Alan Cabal
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Beast of Burden
and here's the press release that Rep. Weiner's staff put out -- which Koyen, for his own purposes, portrayed as an assault on ny press' first amendment rights -- but the release is in fact the double-speak of a professional politician, not a clear call for trashing copies of the ny press

March 3, 2005




New York City - Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens & Brooklyn) called on anyone who sees copies of the New York Press to put it where it belongs-in the trash.

The Press, a free weekly newspaper, features a front page article this week about the grave illness of the Pope.

The article, entitled "There's Nothing Funny About This Man Dying. Or Is There?" lists the "52 funniest things about the upcoming death of the Pope".

The list includes such entries as number 52 "Pope pisses himself just before the end; gets all over nurse", and number 23 "doctors examining the body discover that the Pope was not only a woman, but also Hitler."

"The Pope's health is a matter of grave concern to people of faith and good will the world over,” said Rep. Weiner. "This vile article amounts to little more than hate speech. The First Amendment may protect it, but that doesn't mean we have to read it. I am calling on people of good conscience in New York City to put the Press where it belongs: in the trash."
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