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Notes from a Lost America
Chuckie Manson, Thor, and the Ark. Average Day in California
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This is a reprint of a column from long, long ago. I do it not from laziness, though I am fond of laziness, but because it may provide a window into a happier America that we will not see again. These days, we need any cheer we can get.

In the year of the Great Radioactive Goat-Curd Craze and Flood-that-Wasn’t, Matamoscas was just another sleepy California town in the high desert near Barstow. The only geographical feature of note anywhere near was a low mesa called Las Pulgas, about three miles out of town where the Ark was.

About a year before, a peyote-enhanced guru named Mahmud al Gravid, who looked like Charles Manson but probably wasn’t, had descended on the town with his followers. Gravid had the deeply spiritual look that comes of minor brain damage and exposure to Los Angeles. His followers were scrofulous late-adolescents with love beads. Being teenagers, they thought the world had been invented yesterday and they were the only ones who knew anything about it, especially as regarded matters spiritual. They said they were in Matamoscas to find themselves. It was a good place to look, because that was where they were.

Anyway, Gravid had received from on high a notification that a Great Flood would soon wash away the world, beginning for reasons not immediately obvious with Matamoscas. Gravid and his lemmings were to prepare by building an Ark on Las Pulgas, made of cubits. They weren’t sure what cubits were, but figured they would find them in the desert. It didn’t hold together Biblically. They didn’t know it, so it didn’t matter.

Anyway, they built an Ark that would have foundered in a heavy dew and awaited the flood.

For California the idea wasn’t peculiar enough to stand out from the background, so the locals mostly drove around in pickups and drank beer in the town’s only bar and ignored the seers out on the mountain. Given the way the Coast was pulling down the aquifers, they weren’t really worried about a flood. They would have started one if they had known how.

Then Otto Swedenborg, a huge square-shouldered Scowegian meatball out of Minnesota, had roared in on a Harley hog with a little trailer in tow. He looked like Thor and had eyes the color of swimming pools. The trailer contained pickle jars of Radioactive Goat-Curd, he said, which would cure anything, and make one’s aura resonate with the inner force of being. He had discovered it while raising goats in land containing uranium ore. Ten bucks.

The locals needed radioactive goat curd like they needed a third elbow, so they sent him to the mountain. They figured nuts rolled uphill, and there was no other hill around.


Gravid apparently saw Swedenborg as a threat to his position as alpha-guru. In the ensuing tension one of the followers said the hell with it and went back to L.A., where her father was big with CBS. A camera truck duly showed up at Las Pulgas. The whole kit and caboodle were on national television that night, auras resonating. Swedenborg got thirty seconds to expound the virtues of his goatish pudding.

The results were astonishing and unexpected. Goat curd took hold of the Californian imagination. First a trickle and then a flood of seekers of enlightenment began to show up in Matamoscas. They were a cross-section of the state: vegetarians, Hare Krishnas, sun-worshipers, fruit-juice drinkers, Ethical Culturists, and a residue of the Orgone Box movement. There were coked-up aspiring movie stars who had believed the desert was a large beach, and Valley Girls who thought the whole idea was groovy to the max. Matamoscas was overrun.

Having manufactured the event, television also covered it. A reporter asked a slack-jawed blonde beachboy, who seemed to have the IQ of a shinplaster, how he felt about the new spiritual order.

“Well, I, like, you know, I think it’s really true.”

“What’s true?”

“I’m not sure.”

Swedenborg did land-office business in radioactive goat-curd. In fact, he ran out the first day, and resorted to selling jars of mayonnaise from the local grocery, after taking the labels off. The price went up like taxes in a Democratic administration. When asked how to use the curd to greatest inner advantage, he said to let it age for a week, and then rub it liberally over the entire body. The customer presumably ended up looking like a frankfurter in search of a roll.

There was talk of building a theme park in Matamoscas based on goat curd, as well as a hotel with a golf course, and a factory to turn out soy-based curd-substitute. Several hotel chains expressed interest. Investors were sought to buy a reactor. Swedenborg was offered a high position that didn’t require that he be able to do anything. Matamoscas was On Its Way.

Then ABC, concerned about its slide in the ratings, reported that in the cliffs along Route 101-A, out of San Francisco, a rock formation had been found that was an unmistakable likeness of Che Guevara. It glowed in the dark and wept tears of proletarian solidarity, said a professor of psychiatry from Berkeley. He had discovered the likeness while processing his issues among the rocks with the help of some really dynamite mescaline. You could just feel the essence of Che trying to communicate some message of importance to all mankind.

Next morning, Matamoscas was empty. The spiritual freight train had moved on. Swedenborg left with his remaining jars of mayonnaise. Gravid and his followers vanished. The locals went back to driving around in pickups and drinking beer at the bar. The Ark is still there.

None of this happened. But it’s all true.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Mysticism 
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  1. TheJester says:

    Fred, this essay captures the Zeitgeist of the modern age: It didn’t happen … but it could have happened … so it did happen. That, in a nutshell, explains why we know the Russians sabotaged Hillary’s chance at becoming the president of something or other. Same for flake news.

    Hillary has a counterfactual persona that will never change. She will be screaming this until her dying breath: “God-like forces greater than I have kept me from my manifest destiny.” No wonder Putin is considered the most influential person in the world. As in the statistical declines in math and science, it is just another embarrassing example of what liberalism has done to our national character. Your turn, Fred. What’s the fix?

    • Replies: @Randal
  2. dearieme says:

    You are all very cruel to Hillary. Make allowances: she suffered brain damage from all that repeated ducking from Bosnian bullets.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Talk about channeling Tom Robbins!

    We can but hope to again be driving around in pickups and drinking beer at the FlyKiller bar. I sense that it is not to be. And we’re running damn short on Arks.

    • Replies: @another fred
  4. @dearieme

    She is a true hero, like you are.

  5. @Anonymous

    I drive a pickup and drink beer, but no longer simultaneously as the cops have lost their sense of humor about that sort of thing.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @pepperinmono
  6. Fred, I don’t find you funny, I do find you lazy, and I don’t give a f*ck about your, “happier America”.

    Most of your readers- on this forum at least- are in America. Modern day America. Not the barefoot Tennessee of the 40’s you grew up in, were everybody had a rifle and was a crack shot, blacks knew their place, and Norman Rockwell would occasionally come by for ice cream and a quick portrait before everyone went off to bed at 9 PM. While having no need to check the locks first, of course.

    Fred, your fantasy America never existed. But if we were ever close, we aren’t there now and we won’t be ever again. Your solution was to marry a little senorita and escape to Mexico, and lecture from afar. That seems to work for you. But for those of us left behind, your trips down memory lane are getting tedious.

    I don’t much buy in to Trump’s MAGA rhetoric, but at least he is focused on America, on the future. If Trump is only pretending to try to fix America, at least he’s trying. At least he’s talking about making the country great again, not talking about how great it once was.

    The future is ours Fred. You can keep the past.

  7. Randal says:

    “God-like forces greater than I have kept me from my manifest destiny.”

    Hmm. “God-like forces greater than I have kept me from ….” sounds remarkably like ……. destiny.

  8. Randal says:

    Fred, your fantasy America never existed

    Then how did he grow up in it (as you’ve already stated he did)?

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @another fred

    I drive a pickup and drink beer, but no longer simultaneously as the cops have lost their sense of humor about that sort of thing.

    I prefer brandy and a fireplace — never did much automotive beer consumption. The 9mm of somewhat dubious heritage under the seat would complicate that issue.

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Fred, your fantasy America never existed. But if we were ever close, we aren’t there now and we won’t be ever again.

    LOL. That’s pretty funny, douchey. Yes, that America existed — I lived in it, too. You, quite obviously, did not, either because you’re an urbanized metrosexual of NYC origin, or a TV set-designer commuting to Hollywood. You resentful fucking pansies are a pox on civilization.

  11. martino says:

    muy bueno fred . me he partido el culo. “No sucedió, pero es verdad” De acuerdo. Aqui en Barcelona, (spain) tambien llegó , aunque en menor escala esa cosa hippye, iluminados, etc. Gracias, escribe más cosas como esta. En cuanto a tipos como “seudonimo”,siempre han estado a nuestro alrrededor. Siempre tiene que haber una mosca. Aprientan los ojos fuertemente para no ver y odian a quien explica lo que no quieren ver. “Seudónimo”: Tú no existes, ni has existido, ni existirás.
    Dede Barcelona, saludos a todo el foro. Poner Google traslator, porque mi inglés es pobre, solo para leer.
    Para los que me critiquen por no dominar el inglés: Conozco cuatro idiomas, y me hago un lio un poco.
    Seudonimo: el futuro no existe, el pasado si

  12. Agent76 says:

    May 6, 2016 How Much Liberty Do Americans Have Left?

    This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.

  13. pyrrhus says:

    Funny, I grew up in the same America as Fred, minus the blacks and most of the rifles. So did everyone I know. Are you sure it was all a delusion? In any event, I would go back there in a minute. Obviously I went through the wrong wormhole and ended up in Bizarro-America. My America was ruled by Ike (no land forces in Asia), not this bunch of stupid, greedy lunatics……

    • Replies: @Pseudonymic
    , @Corvinus
  14. @Pseudonymic

    Pseudonymic, you live in an urban bubble somewhere. Norman Rockwell’s paintings reflect a sanitized New England people, not the people among whom Fred grew up (in Virginia and Alabama), who would have peppered your ass with a shotgun not a rifle had you come around with your supercilious attitude.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
  15. @pyrrhus

    My America was ruled by Ike

    Was. Current America isn’t.

    Two choices. Escape into the past, or fight for the future. What choice did Fred make? What choice did you make?

  16. macilrae says:

    This is back to your essential Fred – brilliant, man! So witty.

  17. one of those articles where readers need to smoke a joint before reading this to appreciate 🙂

  18. Austro says:

    This is the best shit I’ve ever read, America to a T.

  19. mcohen says:

    love this line fred

    “A reporter asked a slack-jawed blonde beachboy, who seemed to have the IQ of a shinplaster, how he felt about the new spiritual order.”

    a day before christmas and chanukah a us president betrayed the jewish people for a “new spiritual order”.may an asteroid land on him and his ilk and obliverate them from the face of this earth.

  20. @another fred

    You make a good point I haven’t seen mentioned on Unz in my short time here.
    MADD and their ilk have made DUI laws crazy.
    In Ohio , legal limit is 0.08.
    There has been talk of decreasing to 0.04 nationwide.
    Way overestimating dangers of driving at these levels .
    Can’t even have beer or glass of wine with dinner without fear of driving home.

    • Replies: @Ivy
  21. Corvinus says:

    Funny, I grew up in the same America as Fred, minus the blacks and most of the rifles. So did everyone I know. Are you sure it was all a delusion?”

    You grew up in an America that you THOUGHT was perfect based on how events have taken shape the last 60 years.

    “My America was ruled by Ike (no land forces in Asia), not this bunch of stupid, greedy lunatics…”

    Yes, the 1950’s. Which had race relation issues, teenage rebellion, rising rates of men and women cheating in their relationships, and mindless consumerism.

  22. Corvinus says:
    @Uncle Remus

    “not the people among whom Fred grew up (in Virginia and Alabama)…”

    The memories stem from living in the South in the 1950’s, not in America in the 1950’s. Big difference.

    • Replies: @King George III
  23. Ivy says:

    UK pols are discussing BAC down to .05, which has caused much consternation about the restricting the odd glass at a pub on the way home. DUI is a problem in many countries, with many approaches to mitigate the incidence and recidivism.

  24. Sam J. says:

    I grew up in the South and this America did exist. Blacks lived on their side of town and Whites on their’s. I remember at 12 going to the woods with .22’s and .410 shotguns to hunt. If the cops rode by they would ask what you were doing and tell you to be careful. Today they’d call the swat team.

    • Replies: @prusmc
  25. Free now enjoys the life of being married to (((Mexican woman))) who cheats on him with younger men, living in a third world cesspit surrounded by brown people.

  26. prusmc says:
    @Sam J.

    Oswego, Jefferson and Lewis counties New Yoek State 1950’s.

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