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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Image is everything

Some people are their own worst enemies. Take, for example, the rather eccentric-looking chap in the photograph below. He appears to have rather clumsily allowed himself to be portrayed as a depraved menace when he is but a makeover away from becoming a card-carrying member of The Great and The Good.


A network of “suicide gurus” who use the internet to advise people how to kill themselves has been exposed…

One of the most notorious figures on the internet suicide scene is Nagasiva Yronwode, a self-confessed Satanist who runs a shop selling occult books and charms in the small Californian town of Forestville, north of San Francisco.

Yronwode, 46, describes himself as the “outreach director” for an extremist cult called the Church of Euthanasia, which advocates suicide as a means of saving the world from the effects of overpopulation.

Does this self-defeating fool not appreciate just how seductive his central message would be to the bien pensant? Indeed, they are treading water just waiting for someone like him (only a plausible, marketable version) to come along. All he needs to do is to make himself a bit more presentable. First off, he should drop the ‘Satanist’ thing. Satanists are nowhere near homicidal enough to be taken seriously.

Secondly, he needs to change the name of his cult from ‘Church of Euthanasia’ (too many negative connotations, especially the ‘Church’ bit) to something like…let’s see…’Earth Guard’. Yes, something like that.

Next, the hair. I see where he is going but it is actually a bit too scary. He needs a team of stylists to give him that immaculately unkempt, tousled look that suggests that he has just spent the last six weeks trekking through the Amazon basin while actually remaining clean, sexy and approachable.

While it is difficult to criticise a man’s wardrobe when he appears to be wearing nothing, he must, in fact, give a lot of thought to this. It is very important. He must dress in casual but expensive designer clothes (but avoiding anything pin-striped or which may smack of business). He must also learn to wear them without even a hint of self-consciousness, developing the kind of incidental nonchalance that says he does not spend even a second thinking about anything so trivial and consumerist as his appearance and that these designer togs all just fell on him as he unthinkingly walked past a wardrobe.

His name is good. He can keep that. It is appropriately ethnic and difficult to pronounce and will enable him to fabricate some cock-and-bull story about his native land and peoples being despoiled and plundered by the predations of the greedy, Western, warmongering profiteers. They will lap that stuff up on the college circuit and the less truth there is behind it the better. He can also keep his job title – “Outreach Director”. Nobody has the slightest idea who they are or what they are supposed to do but they get hosed down with money drawn from the public well. Why change that?

So, by taking his central idea of mass suicide for the sake of the planet while undergoing a few easily-achievable adjustments, this man could turn himself from a pariah into a much-admired ethical voice for decency in the midst of a wicked, uncaring world. Instead of being hounded by and pilloried in the press, he would find himself the subject of fawning editorials, his merest utterances carried away and borne forth into the popular lexicon almost before they have left his lips. He would be whisked off to every international climate jamboree where he would rub shoulders with all the governmental and non-governmental glitterati. He would be glad-handed by politicians who would earnestly seek his advice on framing their next round of legislation. He would be slobbered over by dewey-eyed Hollywood celebrities and the legions of vulnerable teenage followers that he seeks would flock to him in such numbers that he could never have imagined in his most flagrant flights of Satanist fantasy.

Yes, Nagasiva Yronwode is a man for our times. He just doesn’t know it yet.

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37 comments to Image is everything

  • All valid points, Thaddeus, but I would like to dwell on the hair point a bit more: what’s up with that, dude?

  • RAB

    I think he has modelled it on what Frank Zappa looked like on the cover of We’re Only In it For the Money.
    Either that or early Druid on Acid.

  • Optikata

    ‘Earth Guard’ eh? You’re not wrong as the man is indeed a “green”.

  • Lantana

    His hair?

    The Devil made him do it.

  • But why doesn’t he practice what he preaches?

  • rockdalian

    How about Earthanasia?

  • Evan

    I have a job interview on Thursday. Now I have a backup plan.

  • Evan

    But why doesn’t he practice what he preaches?

    Why hasn’t Osama bin Laden blown himself up?

  • Andy

    But why doesn’t he practice what he preaches?

    Come on Tully, that’s obvious, someone has to bring in the new recruits.

    Besides he’s worthy.

  • JohnAnnArbor

    How about Earthanasia?
    Sounds like an ’80s band.

  • Achillea

    I’m pretty sure scunchies are haram for Satanists.

  • I have seen far creepier people in Zombietime’s essays. Regardless, Barack Obama is the saviour of the moment right now, not Mary with the hair ribbons.

  • Troy

    How about Malthusiasts for a cult name?

    He looks like a really grumpy double-dutcher.

  • newscaper

    Actually I think there *was* a late 80s punk/hardcore band called YouthinAsia as a joke.

  • Lantana, I think you are right – the dark angel is known for his perverted sense of humor.

  • Fierce Guppy

    Fear not Thaddeus. His organization is not the only Earth friendly death cult in town. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement has been around for many years. I have used http://www.vhemt.org (Link) as the information gateway to the man=virus movement, where, btw, someone has been brainstorming some not very voluntary solutions. Shop around. You’re certain to find a human specie hating “ethical voice for decency” over there.

  • RobtE

    Mr. Ironwood* is insufficiently concerned about the fate of Mother Gaia to, you know, actually refrain from driving one of those eeeevil poison-belching, resource-guzzling automobiles, it seems. Maybe not the hero of all our golden tomorrows then after all.

    * Sorry, but I just can’t be arsed with all that pseudo-Olde Englishe spelling malarkey.

  • guy herbert

    It strikes me that if you are running a cult marketing aimed at the mainstream may not be what you want. The man’s appearance shouts to the disaffected young, “I’m different and interesting, not boring and a fount of conventional wisdom.”

    The same tactic might also work if you were looking for a grant from some sorts of quango that have ‘diversity’ as one of their goals. He should approach the Arts Council.

  • Andy

    The man’s appearance shouts to the disaffected young, “I’m different and interesting, not boring and a fount of conventional wisdom.”

    I’m disaffected and young and it shouts “nutter” to me.

  • DavidBruno

    Surely even the disaffected young would say “Not over my dead body” to this weirdo.

    His hair style is part New Agey, part Rainforest Tribe Chic…and, let’s see, part Art Teacher in a ‘challenging’ inner-city comprehensive, with a nod in the direction of the international colours of Benetton thrown in with the grips for that cross-border appeal. It’s hair with attitude.

    ‘Earthguard’ LOL

  • wm

    This pie-eyed piper is not so loony that he doesn’t include a disclaimer in his interview with the Telegraph. “I’m not the protector of these troubled youths…their parents are the people who made them troubled. They are responsible for them.”

    But ol’ Charley Manson himself said much the same thing, didn’t he, at his trial...?

    “These children that come at you with knives. they are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up. . .”


  • So – What are the odds that Nagasiva Yronwode is actually an anagram?

    Either of his actual name, a pithy encapsulation of his word view, or an insult?

    Maybe we can have a contest to see who can crack it first…

  • bluhawkk

    Has Oprah discovered him?

  • Phil – Robert already cracked the Ironwood part – I came to the same conclusion after staring at the name. Nagasiva, I will guess, is naga=serpent, siva=Hindu god of death.

    Whoa, cool name, dude! You must’ve read tons of books on eastern religions and stuff!

  • I believe the “Church of Euthanasia” is, at least for most people, a joke, as is generally clear from its over-the-top slogans, such as their bumpersticker “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself.”

    According to wikipedia:

    The Church of Euthanasia (CoE) is a dadaist political organization started by Rev. Chris Korda in the Boston, Massachusetts area.

    The CoE uses… satire and black humor to highlight Earth’s unsustainable population. The CoE is notorious for its conflicts with Pro-life Christian activists.

    According to the church’s website, the one commandment is “Thou shalt not procreate”. The CoE further asserts four principle pillars: suicide, abortion, cannibalism (“strictly limited to consumption of the already dead”), and sodomy.

  • Ernie G

    I tried Phil A’s suggestion and ran “Nagasiva Yronwode” through an anagram generator. There were over a thousand results. Here are a few:

    Airwaves Annoy God
    Giveaway Darn Soon
    Veranda Yoga Winos
    Nirvana Way Goosed
    Wanna Ideas Groovy
    Gonad Ovaries Yawn


    Vagina Yearns Wood

  • remembering the basics of my since rejected reeducation, this guy is the anti-honky. back when i was a kid trying to grow up in Ann Arbor I found out that the worst thing one could ever do was become a honky (or honkie if you insist). Never specifically defined, it meant that you had gone over to the dark side and had taken on the cultural aspects of THEM.
    Therefore, despite this thing’s willingness to espouse your children’s demise, he gets a pass, cause he’s not a honky. honky.

  • mick n

    H Pail,

    Wheat Oboe Thus:

    Aversion Gonad Way

    Vain Nowadays Goer

    Onion Wad Savagery

    And I Was Over Agony

    Over Gay Sow and Ian

    A New Agony Advisor

  • mick n

    Nice Post – Rum Dandy Aesthete!

    (or Handmade Rusty Tee, Numerate Shady Ted, Shuddery Enema Tat, Dud Stearate Hymen, Enter Ashamed Duty, Thy Austere Mad End…)

  • Cover Me, Porkins

    The man’s appearance shouts to the disaffected young, “I’m different and interesting, not boring and a fount of conventional wisdom.”

    It shouts “taken directly from a mug shot series on The Smoking Gun.”

  • There are two sides to everything, and it appears the Daily Mail took the bait from a successful Internet troll. See:

    Church of Euthanasia

  • Darwin

    The Church of Euthanasia is not a serious cult. The Rev. Chris Korda is more performance artist than cult leader.

    This post follows in the rich tradition of intellectual titans The Jerry Springer Show by taking a parody/art “cult” and treating it seriously.


    FWIW, I’ve met Chris Korda, and he’s a nice guy. Anti-humanist, sure.. but good fun at a party.


  • watcher in the dark

    I get the distinct impression that the man in the picture is not actually very happy, judging by the tension in his shoulders and the way he stares. Sort of closed in.

    But maybe he just isn’t used to having his picture taken.

  • Jerome Thomas

    Is it just that I me or does this guy bear a physical resemblance to Tom Cruise?

  • “I get the distinct impression that the man in the picture is not actually very happy, judging by the tension in his shoulders and the way he stares. Sort of closed in”

    Of course he is unhappy that is his prison mugshot,pity it leaves out the heels and the skirt.

  • comatus

    For reasons of my own, I invite your attention to the fact that this person’s hair isn’t really very long. Actually having very long hair is a social commitment of some years. Shaving a gouge here or there, moussing it straight up, or applying a dozen pony-tail ties is a fun way to impress the gangbangers at the clubs, and is easily concealable as you spend your mornings humping flour sacks for The Man. Smooth out the ten-month beard, and this Hydish gentleman’s Jekyll could sell insurance or coach soccer (actually, recommended vocations for suicide cultists).

  • Sunfish

    Jerome Thomas:

    Is it just that I me or does this guy bear a physical resemblance to Tom Cruise?


    (But he’s also not as good an actor as that Napoleon Dynamite guy.)