Gun Fag Manifesto, edited by Hollister Kopp

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book:  Gun Fag Manifesto

Author:  Edited by Hollister Kopp, foreword by Jim Goad

Type of Book:  Non-fiction, ‘zines

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because it made me remember with fondness the old Loompanics Catalogue.

Availability:  Published by Nine Banded Books in 2013, you can get a copy here:

Comments: So, I read this a long time ago and somehow forgot to discuss it, which is a shame because I found it to be a funny and at times uncomfortable blast from the past.  I never read this ‘zine in its original format so this was entirely new to me even as it reminded me of the more humorous excesses of the old Loompanics catalogue and a bit of Paladin Press’ more gunnish releases.  God, I really miss the old days sometimes, wherein if you wanted to obtain and read really fucked up books you had to peruse a paper list of books that got mailed to your house and really alarmed postal officials.  I mean, I don’t miss it over much because it’s nice to hear about a book and be able to buy it immediately but sometimes I realize half the people reading here have only ever ordered outre books online and don’t remember the heady thrill of renting a post office box at a mail drop and ordering books that Focus on the Family insisted were occult and Satanic and also evil.  (Remind me to tell you all my “James Dobson mistook me for someone else and touched my arm twitch” story some day.)

Back to the book.  1994.  What a time for all of us who were alive! I graduated from college and started dating Mr Oddbooks.  OJ Simpson captivated us all as he engaged in a low speed chase in that white Ford Bronco.  Nancy Kerrigan got hit in the knee.  And Hollister Kopp edited this ‘zine.  This is a messed up ‘zine – completely politically incorrect, verging into outright sociopathy, and, in its own bizarre way, it is glorious.

Don’t get me wrong.  You all know that I am so liberal I should probably go straight to jail for stealing all your tax money to give to lesbian welfare crack babies.  I don’t get into racist propaganda and racial epithets make me nervous because I’m not wholly sure what my own ethnic background contains and what I do know is Irish and that’s almost never a good sign amongst Americans.  But I am also a pro-2A liberal.  We are rare, like white tigers, but unlike unicorns we really do exist.  I’m not a gun fag, like the editor of the ‘zine. And I really don’t miss the days when Mr Oddbooks would drag me to gun shows and I would end up listening to John Birchers explain to me why it is that blacks and women should never have been permitted to vote and that things went straight to hell after we started putting fluoride in the water, but there is something refreshing reading something so utterly unimpressed by basically everything that makes me who I am.

As we all know, Internet killed the Xerox-zine star.  I know the world seems really nuts because we have access to so much insanity online, but back in the old days you had to seek it out and when you found it you were less inclined to complain about it.  Were these zines online, the comments would have to be disabled.  I think part of the refreshing element of reading this zine compilation was the realization that I would not be expected, culturally, to engage in an argument when I was finished.  That having been said, this is an extremely hyperbolic collection.  A lot of really offensive content got crammed into three editions, and if you can’t embrace the weird when it is offensive, you will want to give this book and the rest of my discussion a miss. 

So basically this is a dogpatch Julius Evola-esque rage against a modern, soft, leftist machine with lots and lots of specialized information about guns.  It is utterly hilarious in the way that your insane racist Uncle Jack can get after he’s had a few too many beers – drunk enough to be willing to say all sorts of horrible things with interesting comedic timing but not so drunk you’re in danger of getting your ass beat. Or shot. There is a lot of dark humor in this collection, very dark humor, but very funny nonetheless.  At times my inner prig reared her head, and sometimes she was sorely provoked, but if you keep in mind context, time and authorial frame of mind, it’s clear that even the most ardent Commie-hating, feminist-loathing, Congress-despising gun-toter would see this as satire, not an accurate look at right-wing reactions to a changing and at times degenerate culture.

In the article “Gadfly Gun Fags”, I admit I laughed at the following.

The swine are gaining momentum.  Their cowardly attacks on you and me and on American culture in general have reached fever pitch.  Can you believe that the fuckers are going to start suing the manufacturers of firearms whenever someone gets hurt?  Since when do you sue the manufacturer of a product because it worked perfectly? (The wife of one of the lawyers shot by patriot and gun fag supermartyr Gian-Luigi Ferri is behind this hare-brained scheme.)  We’re living in a weird world.  What can you do?

Aside from a violent overthrow of the United States government (a tough job, but someone has to do it), there really doesn’t seem to be much we can do.  An assassination here and there is good for keeping our spirits up, but it’s illegal, and like a lizard losing its tail, the media-government just regenerates another politician, and the pathetic zombie constituents vote him or her into office.



Call your congressman on a daily basis.  They hate that.  The 29th district (California) congressman is the geek Henry Waxman, and his number is [redacted because this is 2015, not 1993 and I actually had to go to Wikipedia and see if Waxman is still alive – he is, FOR NOW].  Or send him a polaroid of yourself standing naked with your gun collection (it’s a good idea to blank out your face).  If you’re shy or feeling “inadequate,” just draw a swastika over your private parts.

A quick course:  “How to Translate Socially Difficult Material.”  Though the author of this piece praised as a martyr a mass murderer and mentioned complete government overthrow, the real call to action is to call one’s congressman and complain.  A lot.  It’s a call to arms and the arms are being completely annoying, not shooting the president or killing all the lawyers.  See, remember earlier I mentioned that comment sections on a website devoted to material like this would have to be closed – they would have to be closed because those in my camp would see the mention of a swastika and completely ignore the sentences with active verbs.

As an aside, I am so tired of a world wherein we fall all over ourselves to avoid offending each other.  Being offended is the least of my worries as a white, middle-class woman, and if you look and live like me they should be the least of yours, too.  When they really come for you and strip you of your civil rights and force you to carry an assault rifle under penalty of law and The Handmaid’s Tale becomes a documentary shot in real time, you’re going to be too tired to fight because you will have spent all your time being really upset because there was once a subreddit that was really mean to fat people.

The best parts of this collection were “RED’S LAST WORDS”  – profanity-laden, stream-of-consciousness rants that didn’t even try to be coherent.  Jesus, I am old.  It hits me every now and then, but yeah, in a few years I won’t even be technically middle-aged because my sprig of the family tree is short-lived.  Red’s diatribes made me long, and I mean long, for the days when I would receive insane conspiracy theory tracts in the mail, sent with no margins, in all caps, produced on a type-writer because only NASA had word processing programs, written almost exclusively by men with very tenuous grasps on reality and a tendency to go off on a tangent and never be seen again.  Actually, Mr Oddbooks was the worst offender where these lunatic tracts were concerned but then one day he accidentally knocked himself unconscious trying to use a motorized post-hole digger in Central Texas clay and when he recovered he had lost most of his interest in this sort of thing.  He even started voting.  (This is actually a true story – I recall almost crying, begging him to let me take him to the ER as he stood staring at himself in the bathroom mirror trying to remember the word for “salt.”)

I cannot offer context for the following quote – you can pretty much land anywhere in a Red Rant and it will make as much or little sense as reading from beginning to end.  Just roll with it (errors in original):



I think the reason I felt so uncomfortable at times reading this compilation is because it reminded me not so much that I am getting old but that those in my tribe have failed.  Liberalism used to be a fierce force of cultural and economic change and inclusion (and I mean fierce here in the real meaning of the word and not a synonym for sassy).  Liberalism has degenerated from a lofty place where people fought for political access for all and the basic human rights of being paid for work without excessive exploitation.  We went from being the sorts of people who were willing to die for political equality to being whining messes whose emotions and hurt feelings mean far more than actual political harm.  The left has been largely absorbed into the centrist politics, so watered down that Obama is actually far more like Reagan than most right-wing advocates will ever admit, and those on the far left are whingers, crying children who will turn on their own in a heartbeat if someone accidentally uses the wrong pronoun for a person whose gender is visually ambiguous or admits to not knowing much about the liberal cause of the minute.

Gun Fag Manifesto reminds me of the last days of liberalism, when we were still a force to be reckoned with, willing to engage in whatever means necessary to achieve our goals, while respecting the tenets of genuine liberal thought.  Now too many of us behave like broken victims who cannot engage in normal discourse, demanding special treatment that shows us for the absurd, self-absorbed, personal political children we have become.  There was a recent feminist conference wherein clapping was banned because too many people were triggered by it.  Say what you will about Emma Goldman but can you imagine her, or Susan B. Anthony, or Angela Davis (or Joe Hill, or any of the anti-fascist pre-WWII anarchists) cringing at the noise of people applauding?  Could you imagine any of them prancing about in their underpants at Slut Walks with “riots not diets” tattoos, while men, women and children go hungry and are still exploited in this country?  The liberal left in this country and indeed all over the world have become so weak that we expect our opponents to handle us with kid gloves and then we whine when that doesn’t happen.  We’ve become such a parody of whining weakness that not even Hollister Kopp could have predicted how ridiculous anti-gun, anti-right forces would become.

And it’s not enough that we’re a parody now – but we are also literally the worst people ever.  There are entire blogs devoted to doxxing people who have unpleasant views.  We contact employers and try to deny work to those whom we find objectionable, willing to condemn an entire family to penury because we don’t like it when someone says the “n” word online.  We’re not talking about people in the media who owe their livings to public reaction or public servants, like police officers – we’re talking car salesmen, college students with part time jobs, blue collar men with low-paying jobs.  We want speech limited if it serves our purpose of never being uncomfortable again, as if this entire country, founded by revolution to ensure individual freedom, exists solely to make sure people never hear anything they don’t want to hear.  I hate having to use “we” here but there’s no way to say, “I’m not like them.”  I may not be like them but they are calling the tune of current liberalism and unless I reject the label entirely, it’s specious to draw lines between sane and insane liberalism.

In a sense, the best way to support liberalism is to read books like this and support their rights to exist.  Perhaps such a stance can wrench the definition of liberal from cringing, useless ideologues who have hijacked my political identity so that they can live a life protected by social bubble wrap.  Probably not.

It sucks mightily, this realization.  And it’s uncomfortable to see how far adrift things have become for people like me, who remember the liberal promises of old.  Things don’t have to suck this much but oh the times, oh the customs, and I’m harking back like a sad old woman.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if you are looking for hyperbolic humor, you’ll find it in this book.  If you are looking for a representation of the amazing age of the ‘zine, you’ll find it here, too.  If you are easily offended and find yourself triggered by every stiff wind, this is not the collection for you, and I don’t want to hear your fucking whining if you read it and end up shaking and crying.  I liked the humor, enjoyed the reminder of a post office box filled with weirdness and remembering when there was an authentic liberal voice to counter some of the more excessive and genuine cultural assertions in this collection.  Recommended but with those caveats.

11 thoughts on “Gun Fag Manifesto, edited by Hollister Kopp

  1. I remember this zine. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a copy in the wild, but in, I think, a Factsheet Five anthology. (And I know plenty of Second Amendment supporting liberals, but then I live in Missouri.)

    As for liberalism being not what it was, or what it should be, I do draw a line between the activist left and liberals. There’s been significant push back against the former lately, so maybe there’s hope. I don’t call myself a leftist, but I’m not ready to abandon liberalism. I’ve already abandoned feminism.

    “We’re not talking about people in the media who owe their livings to public reaction or public servants, like police officers – we’re talking car salesmen, college students with part time jobs, blue collar men with low-paying jobs.”

    I know this blog, and I have huge issues with it. Someone says something cruel? Call it out. Why does it mean they should be barred from employment? And it’s true, a lot of the offenders on that site are working-class people. It perpetuates the stereotype that working-class whites are inherently ignorant and racist.

    1. I really hate “Racists Getting Fired.” It is anathema to every belief I hold, that private citizens should be permitted to hold whatever belief they want and it not be limitation for employment. I have to support racists keeping their jobs because I will always sit on the other side of that coin. If they can do it to racists, then they can do it to me. I have to wonder what will happen to so many of those who support such extremism when they leave their cocoon online – will their presence on a divisive website that costs people their jobs become a liability for them when they seek work? And if that happens, is it regrettable or just deserts?

  2. “If you are easily offended and find yourself triggered by every stiff wind, this is not the collection for you, and I don’t want to hear your fucking whining if you read it and end up shaking and crying.”

    This made me laugh.

    This book was already on my wishlist, because most of what Nine Banded Books puts out is. While I’m pretty opposed to gun control, gun geekery (or faggotry in this case) tends to make me space out. Based on what the reviews I’ve read though, there’s enough here to keep people who aren’t big gun enthusiasts entertained.

    I have the same reaction to the offend-o-trons that engage in the kind of crusading you talk about that I do to those groups that claim they protect children online from pedophiles. They’re engaging in a goddamn witch hunt and nobody calls them on it because no one wants to be seen as defending pedophiles/racists. You’re not fucking Batman, you self-righteous assclowns.

    1. Oh yeah, there is plenty of weirdness in this to make up for the gun geekery. But I still read those sections because sometimes there was supremely funny content nestled in.

      “You’re not Batman, you self-righteous ass clowns” needs to be printed on a t-shirt.

  3. I’m tickled that your discussion of a book of rants took the form of a rant. 😀

    Reading your piece made me wonder how much our outrage culture (which I admit to being part of, although since I’m non-white I’m giving myself a pass) is rooted in a sense of helplessness about the direction of society in general. My energy just isn’t going into politics anymore because it’s too depressing and is even actively counterproductive at this point. At least being part of an outrage chorus gives me an outlet that doesn’t just contribute to the problem that’s killing me in the first place.

    1. Interestingly I have given up on politics, too. I no longer think there is a chance in hell that there will ever be a political candidate in the USA with a chance of winning office who will reflect my beliefs, so why play a role in a system that irritates me so much.

      Outrage culture is killing me from both sides of the fence. I know and love people in both camps and both sides are so concerned about the direction of the country, to the point that they can advocate killing police officers or depriving people of honest work on the basis of bad ideas, or to the point that they can demonize victims of police brutality while praising a kid who killed black people and insisting that all atheists be deported.

      It’s always been this way, I think. It’s just easier to tar and feather people online than in real life. But it’s alarming nonetheless.

      But I can also say that from the perspective of a white woman in the suburbs. If I were not me, it may be wholly different. But then again, it seems like the SJW camp is largely made up of people who look like me and really have no fucking reason to feel so persecuted other than a need to engage in oppression olympics.

    1. Hollister? Izzat you? This is Kjartan “Karno” Arnorsson, the cartoonist who drew the “Gun” and “How to get rid of the body” pages in issue #3. I’ve been trying to find you, so’s I can ask your permission to reprint the boar-hunt story in “Arizona Funnies” #8. If you see this message, please get back to me thru

  4. I feel like a good part of the culture of overreaction on the left stems dually from an understandable backlash by minorities against a society which has condescended to or outright abused them—and I’m pretty well acquainted with this from personal experience: I’m a broke queer Jewish dude, and a decent proportion of my friends are transgender/non-conforming folks, non-white folks, or both, many in similar financial straits—and from, for lack of a nicer term, old-fashioned white guilt, of which there are several species: The well-meaning empathetic “mea maxima culpa!” kind; the pretentious wannabe Marxist “but why aren’t you revolting, comrade?” variety; and, of course, the sort which is just a mask for emotional sadism, and which isn’t limited to recently-enlightened persons of privilege. The latter two categories are certainly the worst offenders, but it’s quite the powder-keg, and this is quite the moment for it. It doesn’t help that, y’know, they’re young. Hell, I’m no exception to that. I just try to be nice and not stupid.

    All told, though, the creepy mix of that same emotional sadism with sucking nihilism and terrible, terrible policies makes the current state of the American right so much worse. I can respect this sort of demented hyperbolic shock humour, but for every nut on the left who doxxes racists to make a point, there are ten in the Trump camp doing the same because, what, a woman said something about a video game? Someone uses “they” as a singular pronoun? Not to mention SWAT teams, rape threats, bomb threats, even to those on their own team when they step out of line. I don’t deny that the left can do so much better, but the right has degenerated far more steeply in the vicious idiocy stakes. They’ve gone back to the Liberty Lobby days.

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