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VIDEO
The pornography of terror

BY CHRIS WRIGHT

No one ever accused the Church of Euthanasia (CoE) of having good taste. According to its founder (who for the purpose of this article prefers to go by the name of Reverend), the CoE is "a nonprofit organization devoted to restoring balance between humans and the remaining non-human species through voluntary population reduction." But the CoE is a sight more than that. The churchís official slogan is "Save the planet, kill yourself," and its main tenets, the so-called Four Pillars are suicide, abortion, cannibalism, and sodomy. As the Reverend says, "For better or worse, I founded the worldís only anti-human religion." (See "The Four Pillars of Euthanism," Styles, April 12, 1996.)

More an avant-garde direct-action group than a bona fide church, the CoE has pulled some pretty dodgy stunts in its time ó its "Fetus Barbecue" on the Boston Common, for instance, or its "attack" on a local sperm bank, in which CoE protesters noisily demanded that the sperm be released. The church has long made a kind of art out of tussling with the Right to Life crowd, conducting counter-demonstrations outside area abortion clinics with members holding banners sporting messages like EAT A QUEER FETUS FOR JESUS.

Itís safe to say that the Reverend has not been one to shy away from controversy, but speaking publicly about his latest project has him somewhat rattled. "This is no joke," he says. "People are going to be profoundly upset."

The project to which he refers is "I Like to Watch," a four-minute music video that intersperses news footage of the World Trade Center disaster with explicit pornographic images (mainly "money shots") and clips from sporting events. "The film," says the Reverend, "is a vicious satire. It expresses a real outrage that I have personally. It reflects my contempt for and frustration with the profound ugliness of the modern industrial world."

Ugliness is right. The background song ó set to a funky electronica beat ó contains lines like, "People dive into the street/ While I play with my meat" and "Now my handís all sticky/ And I canít find a rag/ I guess Iíll have to use/ The American Flag." At this point, the video depicts a man wiping himself with ó yep ó an American flag. "People in the mainstream are going to think that this is not just irresponsible but anti-American," the Reverend says. "Theyíll see it and say that whoever did this should be put in prison."

All the same, he insists that there is an important message behind such profane imagery. "What it shows," he says, "is the brutally repressed sexual energy that lies beneath the surface of these images weíre watching on the news media. I think only people who have truly been lobotomized could fail to grasp the sexual symbolism of these monstrous phallic towers being penetrated by a plane. Thatís what this video is all about: Iím pointing to the news coverage of the September attacks and saying this is officially sanctioned mass entertainment, different in content but not in form from sports coverage and pornography."

The Reverend is quick to point out, however, that he was in no way offended by the media coverage of September 11. In fact, he says, "I found it very beautiful." He continues: "I donít believe that Iím the only person in the world who derived sexual gratification from watching two of Americaís tallest buildings destroyed, but I do believe that Iím one of the few people with the courage to admit this in public. As an artist, I have an obligation to capture my feelings as accurately as possible. What Iím feeling may make me a monster, but I donít believe Iím alone in being a monster."

The Church of Euthanasiaís "I Like to Watch" can be seen at www.churchofeuthanasia.org/catalog/video.html.

Issue Date: December 20 - 27, 2001

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