Picks and Pans Review: The Book of the Subgenius

updated 08/29/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/29/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by The SubGenius Foundation

Are you prepared, friend, for the "coming weird times" ahead? Do you, neighbor, truly have "slack" in your life? If you cannot say yes to these questions, brothers and sisters, then the Church of the SubGenius is looking for you. Though its origins are obscure, in this satirical catechism by a group of Texans the church describes itself as "inherently bogus." It was supposedly founded in Dallas in 1953 by the pipe-smoking J.R. ("Bob") Dobbs. Bob looks suspiciously like a smug version of the comic-strip character Mark Trail. His church promises "far more laughs and yuks per dollar than Scientology, the Unification Church or any other religious group, except possibly the Southern Baptists." Bob's basic message is that he needs money and you need slack. He preaches that man was born with "original slack," but that civilization, with its mandatory "jobs," has sought to suppress it. "Slack," preaches Bob, "is absolutely 'free' time, devoid of all stress, to do whatever you damn well please for 'eternity.' " Lest you scoff—though you ought to, anyway, since this is a pretty funny book—be advised that there are actual chapters of SubGenii, offering "instant answers to everything." And if you need proof of "Bob" 's pervasive presence, just take a look in the white pages of your local telephone directory: Bob's Automotive, Bob's Floral, Bob's Pawn Shop—he's everywhere. (McGraw-Hill, paper, $9.95)

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