The Crazy Book That Allegedly Inspired Those Old Georgians to Attempt Terrorism

Categories: Studies in Crap

absolved_cover.jpg
​Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and just this once the internet.

Absolved

Author: Mike Vanderboegh
Date: The last year or two
Publisher: None.
Discovered at: Some festering corner of the internet that someone really should hose off.

Representative Quotes:

"But, one wonders, who would cry over a dead congressman or senator who voted to take people's liberty, property and lives? Especially after innocent victims of his predatory law-making were already littering the streets."
"Duncan's first intimation that this was so came when a flint-tipped arrow entered just above and slightly to the right of his anus and penetrated his scrotum, one of his testicles and the base of his penis. It appeared in the lower edge of his peripheral vision, sticking out of his fly like some stone age parody of an erection."


When they got hauled off for allegedly plotting to kill Americans and office buildings and tyranny, those silly old Georgians pulled the trick thousands of murderers have over the years: Blaming a book.

But this time it's not a holy one or anything - in fact, it's not even a book, really. Rather, it's a bunch of blogpost chapters of domestic terror fan fiction barfed up by Mike Vanderboegh onto his Xanga or whatever. It's terrifying and kind of hilarious, a uniquely American stew of paranoid screed, self-righteous history lessons, gun-catalog fetishism, and Red Dawn remake action scenes.

(And training. There's lots of scenes of training.)

The novel - named "Absolved" after John Locke's promise that the citizens of a tyrannical government are "absolved" of obedience - concerns a batch of self-important Alabama halfwits who decide that the smartest way to show the powers that be how wrong it is to pass gun-control laws is to shoot lots of people. Its attention wanders, with some blogposts chapters abandoning the main narrative to instead depict insurrectionary moments, real and imagined, throughout America's past and future -- and even one in Ireland, for good measure.

Also, many chapters open with long, copy-and-pasted quotes from sources like George Bernard Shaw, Charlie Daniels, Hitler, and Wikipedia. And as godawful as all this is, there's one passage whose madness verges upon the majestic: The 950 words Vanderboegh spends considering all the ways one of his mean 'ol bastard characters is and isn't like the Muppet Gonzo.

Here's a taste:

"Like Gonzo Greene, the Muppet was always doing death defying acts and, also like Greene, he never gave a damn if they worked or not. The death defying was the important thing. The rush. Skating across thin ice with a wolf pack at your back. Greene lived for the adrenaline as much as the kill. It was almost sexual for him. One of Greene's favorite episodes was when Kermit decided to cancel a jousting match and Gonzo, in armor for the sketch, forced Kermit at the point of his lance to reverse the decision."

This is a revelation. For the people who want to save America by destroying its government, watching Gonzo fight with Kermit is only one degree of separation from the sexual.

Here's some other lowlights -- including, on page 3, the entirety of that insane Muppet compare and contrast essay.

The Opening: The first chapter shows us an old man musing upon old photos and a full life as he waits for federal "thugs" to storm his house. They do, and the old man's traps, guns, and grenades kill dozens of them.

As they circle, the hero, Phil, thinks contradictory nonsense right out of Lewis Carroll:

"The rule of law no longer applied. Now it was the rule of man, which is to say, the law of the jungle. Phil smiled at the thought."

As he rains waves of slaughter upon the government's "gangs," Phil smiles, "chuckle"s, and muses about how he's performing a "duty." Here's the kind of killing that duty entails:

"The improvised Claymore mine in the flower pot that he had detonated when the front door flew open had shredded them from the left side, leaving the rear door intact. Body armor and helmets had saved some from instant death. Phil fixed that by shooting through the window, hitting each of them carefully in the head."

Nice of him to leave their rear doors intact.

Vanderboegh tries his best to make us like this old fed-killer. The novel opens with these lines:

"Phil Gordon felt old, sick, tired and cranky. Cancer did that to you, but he didn't have to like it."

For Vanderboegh, it's not enough that cranky Phil is man enough to stand up to his government - he's also the rare American daring enough not to click "like" on cancer's Facebook page.


The Language: Vanderboegh's heroes -- a posse of "improvised munitioneers" calling themselves the American Republican Army, or "The Twelve Apostles" -- sing long, old-timey songs, just like Tolkein elves, except these are about the old south or Ireland and sometimes feature the word "nigger." Some characters say "frigging," and when they swear Vanderboegh is always polite enough to replace the u in fuck with a dash. Sometimes, he even sounds like a teenage girl, as when he describes Bill Pritchard as "a white haired, weathered old pilot with about a gazillion hours in the air."

He can't write of violence without thinking of breakfast. When Cherokee nomad Charlie Quintard knifes a federal agent to death, Vanderboegh writes, "He violently moved the knife back and forth, 'scrambling his eggs' as someone once said."

(Next time an English teacher tells you to cut down on your adverbs, instead of thinking "What a fussy request," please think back to Vanderboegh's use of "violently.")

And when "hero" Joe Cornyn crashes his cropduster (and firing some missles or something) into the Virginia base of private-security firm Brightfire, Vanderboegh writes that he "got all the barracks, smashing them flat to kindling with blood jam running out the splintered cracks."

The death count is north of 9,000, which is some serious jam. Also, this is what happens when you scribble out the first draft of your novel on the placemats at Waffle House.

Next: Wretched dialogue! And some patriotic woman hating!


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16 comments
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Hedwig
Hedwig

Wow! A whole book in 2 days! That's AMAZING. You must be able to read a newspaper article in mere minutes!

Um. . . The fact that you read it in 2 days doesn't seem to indicate to me that you were skipping vast chunks of this opus. It's not like you were reading Tolstoy in Russian.

Alan Scherstuhl
Alan Scherstuhl

Thanks, Hedwig! I tried not to skim, but there is always a chance that I missed the page where Vanderboegh writes something like, "Sorry, everyone, this is all a sick, dumb joke, and it is my firm belief that meaningful social change must be enacted from within the system that we keep threatening to destroy in order to save."

AmeliaMangan
AmeliaMangan

Well, I for one think it's a fabulous idea to place the fate of the free world in the hands of guys who get hard-ons at the thought of murdering women they find attractive. David Berkowitz 2012!

John King
John King

Alan, You have provided a genuine public service by making us aware of this novel. However, now I have a craving for some Waffles.

Connie333
Connie333

Wow.  Go you Scherstuhl - you've obviously struck a nerve here judging from some of the comments.  I don't get why Ireland keeps getting dragged into this bizairre borderline psychotic gun friendly screed.  As someone who lived there for ten years and frequently visits family there - GUNS ARE ILLEGAL in Ireland.  The IRA aren't much of a threat anymore (when they were all they did was blow up innocent civilians) and Sons Of Anarchy isn't a documentary, sorry people.As an argument for gun control Mike Vanderboegh is pretty damn convincing though - should he really be allowed to handle anything more dangerous than safety scissors?

TPaine
TPaine

I love this! Mike has needed exposure for his book for a long time now, and 4 old rednecks from Georgia broke it wide open. And now we have liberal literary hacks giving him more publicity. Hopefully, his book will go public, he will make a lot of money, and ol' Alan here will get a little "thank you" card for the help.

On to the next lib blog to see how much more talk is going on about "Absolved!"

Sam
Sam

Are you criticizing Vanderboegh's literary style or the subject of his ire?  You seem to ramble on about style and content, without specifying which you find objectionable.  What exactly is your point?   What do you find incorrect with Locke's concept of one being absolved of the duty to be obedient to a tyrannical government?   Do you believe that one must always obey their government, no matter how tyrannical it may be?   Did Jews have the right to kill Nazi's in Germany and in occupied territories?   They were disobeying the law by doing so.  Have you read Solzhenitsyn?  Please make a pont, otherwise your rambling essay sounds like a high school term paper writter at the last moment.

(the) Trevor
(the) Trevor

(the) Trevor thinks that it is nice that Sam wants to find the pristine corn nuggets within this confederate turd.  Of course, to truly qualify as a confederate turd, there must be at least one "Freebird" reference.  Perhaps I am remiss in my duties to assume that there were likely several "Freebirds" within aforementioned poop.

sharpworm
sharpworm

Uh, he's making fun of the book instead. Of seriously considering its ideas that don't even deserve to be considere.

Phelps
Phelps

tl:dr version: Guy who writes for half-assed weekly rag puts up blog post mocking guy for putting up half-assed novel on blog posts.

AJ
AJ

I can't wait til the polished version actually is released.

Jim Ryals
Jim Ryals

I'm reading it right now and while the book is in need of a good editor, it's a hell of an engrossing story.  Mr. Scherstuhl, thank you for giving it some well-deserved p.r.

As Paris Hilton proved, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Thanks,

Jim Ryals

Anonymous
Anonymous

Mark is a real American. Death to FBI scum.

Connie333
Connie333

I don't mean to be rude but that comment is pretty much amazing.  Exactly what every non-American envisions when it comes to gun toting conspiracy theorists in the USA.  The sort of thing that you hear about but don't really believe.  Like the Loch Ness Monster only with more firepower, self entitlement and with less regard for human life.

sharpworm
sharpworm

This asshole is a commenter at FUX news!

Johnny Gee
Johnny Gee

You read this whole book in 2 days? I am one hell of a fast reader, but i would have to say that Evelyn Wood has nothing on you buddy.  Seriously, maybe you should read the whole thing.

 Johnny Gee

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