Tuesday, November 06

The 50 Greatest American Weirdos - Part 5

by Jason Toon


"When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."
- George Carlin

Eyes thiswise, freaks, cretins, oddballs, and cranks! The long-awaited conclusion to our series celebrating the 50 Greatest American Weirdos is finally here! We've marveled at a parade of genuine bizarrity as we've counted down from #50 to #11. Now we get to the titanic weirdos whose overpowering freakiness shifted where America's collective head was at. Now we rescue these icons of iconoclasm from the Museum of Approved Culture and restore them to their true destiny of the truly weird. You probably think you're familiar with all ten of these weirdos, but I hope I can remind you just how strange they really are...

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
 


#10. Jack T. Chick: If you've never encountered one of the millions of copies of Jack T. Chick's ridiculous fundamentalist mini-comics floating around the bus shelters and laundromats of America, I both pity and envy you. Dive in right now. Chick's Evangelical mind-meld of impeccable draftsmanship and insane theology celebrates a vindictive and pitiless God, eager to consign children to the pits of Hell for sins like playing D&D or listening to so-called "Christian rock". No interfaith prayer breakfasts for Jack. There's exactly one way to Heaven, and his fertile imagination maps out the myriad ways clueless sinners can wander from the path. Hilarity inevitably ensues. I'm partial to the comically dystopian The Last Generation myself, but there are hosts of laughs lurking in the Chick catalog.

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Friday, July 13

The 50 Greatest American Weirdos - Part 4

by Jason Toon


"When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."
- George Carlin

Our countdown of the 50 Greatest American Weirdos was just too much weird even for Keep America Week. I've taken a few tentative steps back toward sanity, and my doctor says I'm stable enough to take a crack at weirdos #20-11. Come with me now and stare into the void...

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3


#20. Henry Darger: For 60 years, none of Henry Darger's Chicago neighbors had any idea that the eccentric, solitary janitor was quietly creating one of the most massive and original works of art in American history. The 15,145 pages of In the Realms of the Unreal chronicle an uprising of child slaves against their masters in the mythical kingdom of Abbieannia, led by seven princesses known as the Vivian Girls. Darger illustrated this elaborate epic with hundreds of indescribable scrolls, combining watercolor painting, figures traced from the newspapers and magazines Darger picked up off of the street, themes of martyrdom from Darger's deep Catholic faith, and the phantasmagoric visions of Darger's own imagination.

Darger's mythology isn't easy to absorb. But his genuine anguish at the vulnerability and mistreatment of children - rooted in his own troubled, institutionalized youth - is never in doubt. When the 80-year-old Darger finally moved out of his apartment into a rest home, this massive work could easily have been pulped with the rest of the garbage he obsessively collected. But his landlord was a renowned photographer who recognized the unsettling genius of Darger's work, preserved it, and publicized it. It's been inspiring artists, writers, bands, and filmmakers ever since.

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Friday, July 06

Flash In The Brain Pan: Burrito Bison

by Scott Lydon

 

Hang on, hang on, we're not done just yet! For our Keep America Weird week flash game, we decided to do the weirdest thing we could think of… pass the choice to someone else! After the jump, you'll get to play a little game chosen by Social Media Coordinator and voice of @Woot herself, Kristy Tye. Here's a hint of what she chose for you…

 

 

See you after the jump!

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Thursday, July 05

Sean University: Put Your Leftover Fireworks To Work!

by Sean Adams


 
America celebrates its birthday like everyone else: with a party, a cake, and a special week on the Woot blog. Except instead of a cake made out of cake that you eat off a table, America’s cake, called fireworks, is made out of light and gets served in the sky. Which is dumb, because the ground-part of America is way more important than the sky part. But that’s beside the point.

What’s really important here is, like with normal birthday cake, there can be leftovers, but unlike with normal birthday cake, you can’t eat them. That’s why I’d like to use today’s summer elective course here at the Sean Adams University of Business Management Development Leadership to discuss what you can do with the fireworks you didn’t use on the 4th.

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The 50 Greatest American Weirdos - Part 3

by Jason Toon


"When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."
- George Carlin

For the week of July 4th, we're watching the social and cultural fireworks sparked off by the 50 Greatest American Weirdos, our countdown of the bravest oddballs in the land of the free-thinkers. It's all part of Keep America Weird Week on the Woot blog!

Part 1 - Part 2


#30. Steve Ditko: As co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, among many others, Steve Ditko was one of the handful of people who basically made Marvel Comics. But he had bigger ambitions, spurred on by his unfortunate addiction to a powerful drug: the works of Ayn Rand. After he left Marvel in 1966, his heroes were increasingly bleached of all color and fun. First came the Question, a faceless, pitiless urban spectre Ditko created for second-tier publishers Charlton Comics. Then came the even grimmer Mr. A (shown above), whose super power was apparently the ability to spout an Objectivist soliloquy in the time it takes a single bad guy to fall to his unmourned death. Both wore tailored suits, the ultimate rejection of the hippie era unfolding around them.

Eventually, he abandoned superheroes entirely, then storytelling itself, issuing ham-fisted libertarian tracts like Avenging World to smaller and smaller audiences. Ditko, who could cash in on his iconic status anytime he wants to, has remained true to his austere individualist creed. Unfortunately, that includes refusing to produce work that anybody might actually want to read.

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Woot Conspiracy Theories: They Only Call it Weird to Discredit The Truth

by Randall Cleveland

When I first heard we'd be dedicating a whole week on the Woot blog to Weird America, my first reaction was, "That's a dumb idea." Then my next reaction was, "Well, at least I don't have to write anything about it." But THEN someone said, "Hey, you should write about some of those crazy conspiracy theories you believe! Those are pretty weird!"

Weird? Uh, if having the bravery and honest American common sense to seek the truth and see through the lies of the establishment is "weird," then guilty as charged I guess.

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Baseball Weirdness: True Or Not?

by Sam Kemmis


It's Keep America Weird Week on Woot, and we ask: Is there anything weirder of more American than baseball? The game's 150-plus-years of history are positively packed with oddity, bizarreness, and good ol' fashioned incomprehensibility. 

But how well do you know your weird baseball history? Below are six eldritch baseball tales. Three are true, and three are wholly fabricated. Can you separate baseball fact from baseball fiction? (Answers in the link at the bottom)

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Wednesday, July 04

5 State Birds I'd Like to Fight

by Sean Adams

In honor of Keep America Weird week, I’m listing the five state birds that I’d like to throw down engage in some fisticuffs with. 

1. Ruffed Grouse
State: Pennsylvania
Reason to fight: Look if you want to start fighting state birds, you’re going to need something beginner level. Well, check it: this guy’s so used to getting roughed up that they had to put it in its friggin’ name.
Weapon to use: Bare Hands

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Tuesday, July 03

The 50 Greatest American Weirdos, Part 2

by Jason Toon


"When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."
- George Carlin

Every day during Keep America Weird Week, we're counting down the 50 Greatest American Weirdos, the cranks, screwballs, and freaks who make this country greatly strange. We started yesterday with Part 1. Today, we meet numbers 40 through 31…


#40. Crispin Glover: "Unsettling" was not a quality that found young actors a lot of work in the bland era of Ralph Macchio and Andrew McCarthy. But somehow this beatnik-punk performance-art creep has been able to sneak his skin-crawling vibe into a stack of Hollywood blockbusters from Back to the Future to Hot Tub Time Machine, when he wasn't publishing deranged cut-up chapbooks. Swinging a platform shoe at David Letterman was his most famous episode, but his hysterically sobbed cover of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" is even funnier.

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Monday, July 02

Music Monday: Weird Americans

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! In honor of the 4th Of July, our "Weird America" week is celebrating the freaks that make this nation great. As we all know, there are plenty of strange rock stars out there. But weird? To qualify as weird you've got to be a different sort! So Scott's made a nice little list of crazy musicians that he thinks should qualify. They might not be who you wanna listen to every day, but then again, maybe you're a little weird-at-heart too! Here's the grandaddy of American shock-rock to kick us off…

Screamin' Jay Hawkins


Classically trained musician wants to be an opera singer, and it doesn't work out. What's the other option? Well, before Screamin' Jay, very few people would have said "dress up like a voodoo priest and shriek out a stalky ballad." Look, genius finds a way. This weird American showed up at the dawn of rock and roll, when Elvis Presley was considered a little risky. It's safe to say that Screamin' Jay was the Marilyn Manson of his day, and that every star who ever offended someone through rock theatrics owes this particular weird American a debt.

Inside you'll have four more weirdos, plus a link to last week's playlist. See you after the jump!

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