Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Truman Bentley Jr. Newsletter

(3219 Carden Drive Columbus GA 31907) The last time I reviewed Truman Bentley's newsletters was January 2012, so for almost a year I've been gathering these densely packed, single-spaced, cult-promoting, deadly serious/hilarious parody, deep/deeply disturbing/deep doo doo-for-non-believers, masterpieces of maddening missive manipulation. And now I am going to open all 22 (!) of these thick envelopes and read them in one sitting and see if I can survive. Three important early notes: first off, only about half off these have the envelope covered in plastic packing tape, so I only risked losing fingers utilizing box cutters, Bowie knives and machetes to open these ten or so times. In addition, there was at least one duplicate newsletter, meaning Truman needs a new secretary, or the aliens have overtaken the mail service (a cloned newsletter?). And most importantly, one of the packages contained a DVD! So while I read, in the background there was the strange buzz of a Truman mix-DVD, which featured found footage, U2 songs, wacky local commercials, an archival documentary on mental illness, and the entire mouse/magic/Mike Ploog gruesomely desogned feature file The Witches. More on witches later. Processing all this stuff (which makes the Process Church seem like Episcopalians) ain't easy, but here are a few random concepts I absorbed: Though I can't tell where he stands in the Libertarian/Objectivist/Anarchist/Occupier spectrum, I do know that as far as work ethic and financial philosophy, Truman preaches that Steve Martin's Navin Johnson is a better role model than Dudley Moore's Arthur (though Liza Minnelli being a "gut bucket" may have as much to do with his dismissal of Arthur than the famed sot's money squandering); there's some correlation between aliens and vaginae (and fucking an alien body-snatched lady is worse than contracting HIV); "Truman Bentley, Jr. is BETTER than everyone else"; raisin cake is delicious; GET A JOB!; Amongst other reasons, Welcome Back Kotter sucked because there is no such name as Horshack; most policemen are homosexuals; The true SATANIC WITCH knows of her worthlessness and greatness trapped in the monkey body called SELF; you must be clean shaven at all times; our men in uniform and their military spouses perhaps receive  more respect than warranted from society; many freaks love reading the newsletter. Ultimately what I come away with is confusion, particularly confusion about what to do with this pile of incendiary information. Do I preserve it archivally for future generations? Do I burn them, removing all evidence, and kill all of you who read the review? Do I turn them over to Homeland Security? Do I send this to the Macarthur Foundation as part of Truman's Genius Grant application? Do I read them to my children as bedtime stories every night? The fact that I honestly can't answer these questions is impressive. Truman is confounding! And he uses Scote! Note: the majority of the latest batches of newsletters have devolved into repetitive chaos collage craziness, so Truman may have ascended to a new level of language, perception and kook-itude!

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