cover image Cult Rapture

Cult Rapture

Adam Parfrey. Feral House, $14.95 (371pp) ISBN 978-0-922915-22-4

Reading this incendiary, offensive and fascinating collection from underground freelancer Parfrey (Apocalypse Culture) is like looking at pornography: it's a cheap thrill but a thrill nonetheless. In 21 articles, many reprinted from the San Diego Reader, one from the Village Voice, Parfrey surveys the carnival of American culture, from The Girlfriend Who Last Saw Elvis Alive Fan Club, run by a woman who wants to be the surrogate womb for Elvis's child, to A Cult of Sex-Obsessed Cripples, who will put anything anywhere, to G.G. Allin's world of sick violence and nasty court battles over Walter Keane's kitschy big-eyed waifs. Parfrey also covers conspiracy theorists, such as the group called Project Monarch, who believe that the government tortures children, then programs them to be its slaves, and Linda Thompson, who threatened to start lynching congressmen unless some Constitutional amendments, the IRS and the Brady Bill were eliminated. Parfrey reveals a certain sympathy for his subjects' conspiracy-mindedness in his final article, an ""expose"" of the Oklahoma City bombing in which he raises some valid questions about the still-mysterious event while showing that the Clinton administration needed the bombing to justify its crackdown on militias. Parfrey's own language is almost absurdly inflammatory (""the Christian militia man has become a scapegoat, a justification for intelligence agencies' headlong rush into technocratic dystopia... where every financial transaction is instantly monitored by computers operated by Fortune 500 and its omnipotent police force."" A truly mean piece on Andrea Dworkin's radical feminism even includes Parfrey's attached apologies. (Feb.)