The author of this piece managed to write an entire article about the concept of slack without once mentioning the Church of the Subgenius, and the long history of interplay between the philosophies of half-serious irreligions and hacker culture. Hell, he didn’t even mention Slackware.

In analyzing what slack means and why people care, it’s important to understand the other aspects of the slack memeplex: specifically, it’s important to understand the Church of the Subgenius, what aspects of the world it specifically satirizes, and its interplay with Discordianism. One reason is that, if anything, the CoS’s satire is becoming more and more relevant — and was always a great deal more on-point and meaningful than more mainstream variations like pastafarianism.

Where Discordianism sets its sights on control freaks by mixing eastern philosophy with greek mythology and creating a religion venerating chaos, the Church of the Subgenius sets its sights on capitalism and The Spectacle by combining evangelical christianity with UFO cults and creating a systematic veneration of laziness (which they call slack).

The messiah of the Church of the Subgenius is L. ‘Bob’ Dobbs, an idiot-savant con-man who can “sell anybody anything”, and he was tasked with leading the descendents of yetis to a pleasure planet. Membership costs thirty dollars, and eternal salvation is guaranteed “or triple your money back”. This is the matrix of ideas from which the concept of ‘slack’ emerged, and this is why it’s important: slack is an essentially subversive concept that stands simultaneously with and opposed to all the tacky late-night-tv Ed-Woods glory of ironic ad-worshipping hipsterism that substitutes bigfoot for Chuck Norris as an icon of ancestral masculine virility.

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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