The American Heretic's Dictionary (revised & expanded)

by Chaz Bufe

illustrations by J.R. Swanson

Excerpts — (50 out of 670 definitions)

ADVERTISING, n. The driving force behind supply-and-demand economics: the stimulation of demand for useless products through the supply of misleading claims.

AMERICANISM, n. 1) The desire to purge America of all those qualities which make it a more or less tolerable place in which to live; 2) The ability to simultaneously kiss ass, follow your boss's orders, swallow a pay cut, piss in a bottle, cower in fear of job loss, and brag about your freedom.

ASSAULTING AN OFFICER, ger. A legal charge resulting from a vicious attack on six uninjured, beefy cops by an unarmed, 150-pound, half-beaten-to-death assailant. While such assaults are common, it remains a mystery as to why, invariably, the only witnesses to such attacks are the assaulted police officers. See also "Resisting Arrest," "Reasonable Force," and "Perjury."

AVERAGE, adj. Of poor quality, as in "the average man."

BASKETBALL, n. Proof that childhood glandular disorders need not impair adult earnings potential.

BOOTLICKING, ger. A popular American mass participation sport, which is rapidly displacing baseball as "the national pastime."

[to be] BORN AGAIN, v. One of two physiologically impossible acts normally associated with fundamentalist christians. Fundamentalists claim to have already participated in one of these impossible acts, and one can't help but hope that they will soon, collectively, perform the other upon themselves.

BROWN, adj. A nose color favored by government and corporate executives.

CHRISTIAN, n. One who generously seeks to transfer his expertise in morality into provisions in the penal code.

CHRISTIANITY, n. A form of mass narcissism. Adherents to this curious creed actually believe that the "creator of the universe" has nothing better to do with its time than to obsess over their sex lives in order to judge whether or not they're fit for "salvation." The more pious christians are apt to label the feeling inspired by this divine attention as "humility."

CONSERVATISM, n. The desire to conserve wealth and power at any cost (to others).

DEMOCRATIC PARTY, n. The "good cop" in the biennial good cop/bad cop mugging of the American public—an abusive routine which has become such a blindly accepted, "normal" part of American life, that many working people actually believe that the "good cop" is their friend.

DIFFERENT, adj. The same. As in, "Trust me. Things will be different this time."

EDUCATION, n. In the United States: 1) A means of deadening the curiosity of the young; 2) A type of Pavlovian conditioning utilizing bells and buzzers, interspersed with domination and submission rituals.

ELDER STATESMAN, n. A politician too decrepit to do much further harm.

EXTORTION, n. The extraction of money through intimidation or threat of force. Not to be confused with the "service" rendered the public by the IRS.

FAMILY, n. A traditional means of passing on neuroses from generation to generation.

FOOTBALL, n. 1) A popular form of human sacrifice; 2) A male religious ritual. Like most other American religious ceremonies, the rite of football is normally observed on Sunday, and is, in fact, observed on approximately 20 consecutive Sundays culminating in the holiest day of the year, Super Sunday, a day on which all normal male activities—including, even, lexicography—grind to a halt. Football is distinguished from more mundane religious observances in that its celebrants normally worship a 19-to-25-inch screened deity and imbibe a ceremonial liquid known as "Bud," the symbol of which, perhaps for reasons of taste, color, and odor, is a large horse.

FOURTH OF JULY, n. Independence Day. A day set aside to celebrate the throwing off of foreign tyranny and its replacement by domestic tyranny.

FREE, adj. 1) In advertising, anything bearing a hidden cost, as in "two free dinners with purchase of . . ."; 2) A self-descriptive term often used by subjects of repressive governments, as in the oft-heard phrase, "free American citizens"; 3) n. A self-identifying label commonly used by these same individuals, as in "the land of the free" or, more simply, "the free." When used in this manner, an acceptable synonym is "gang of slaves."

FREE ENTERPRISE, n. A system in which a few are born owning billions, most are born owning nothing, and all compete to accumulate wealth and power. If those born with billions succeed, it is due to their personal merits. If those born with nothing fail, it is due to their personal defects.

FUNDAMENTALIST, n. One in whom something is fundamentally wrong—most commonly lack of reasoning ability and vicious intolerance toward those not sharing the fundamentalist's delusions. Thus, fundamentalists are especially intolerant of those able to draw obvious conclusions from observed facts, those who refuse to seek shelter in comforting falsehoods, and those who wish to lead their own lives. Members of the fundamentalist subspecies known as "Slack-Jawed Drooling Idiots" have been known to give so much of their income to "electronic churches" that they subsist on Alpo at the end of the month. In herds, fundamentalists are about as useful to society as wandering bands of baboons brandishing machetes.

FURTHER STUDIES, n. pl. The preferred method of dealing with impending ecological catastrophes.

GOD, n. 1) A three-letter justification for murder; 2) An unsavory character found in many popular works of fiction; 3) An explanation that means "I have no explanation."

GONADS, n. pl. A remarkable aid to vision, our gonads allow us to see in potential sexual partners redeeming features that are completely invisible to the naked eye.

HELL, n. A place of everlasting torment, much like the United States during an election year.

INCOME TAX, n. A particularly painful form of economic sodomy inflicted upon the public during the IRS's annual rutting season in mid-April.

INFINITY, n. Life expectancy as perceived at age 18.

JUSTICE, n. A term of vicious mockery, as in "equal justice under the law."

LANDLORD, n. A pillar of society as necessary to its existence as a tick is to a hound.

MALICIOUS, adj. Admirably suited to leading a crusade for moral betterment. See also "Devout."

MASTURBATION, n. An extremely disgusting act performed, on a regular basis, by everyone else.

MONOGAMOUS, adj. Preferring to have affairs in secret.

NEW YEAR'S DAY, n. An arbitrarily chosen day, celebrated for its arbitrariness, in which the horrors of the previous year are forgotten in anticipation of those of the year to come.

PARASITOLOGY, n. See "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

POSSESSIVENESS, n. A frequent adjunct of romantic interest, in which one person treats another with all the love, respect, and consideration he or she would give to a butterfly being pinned to a mounting board.

PRAYER, n. A form of begging, unusual in that it's often practiced as a solitary activity. When practiced in groups, it is normally referred to as "worship."

PRIEST, n. A holy individual who follows—often to excess—the divine injunction to "love the little children."

PRO-LIFE, adj. 1) Pro-death (of political opponents and of women through back-alley abortions); 2) Vitally concerned with the wellbeing of "babies" right up to the moment of their birth—at which time they become "welfare cases" and "future criminals" undeserving of such luxuries as housing, health care, adequate nutrition, and a decent education. This has led some un- sympathetic observers to conclude that the interest of "pro-lifers" in the welfare of "babies" is purely hypocritical, and that they are, in fact, motivated primarily by misogyny and anti-sexual "moral" hysteria—that their true interest is in causing as much misery as possible to sexually active women by forcing them to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. This, however, is not the case. If "pro-lifers" truly lacked concern about the welfare of the unwanted babies born as a result of "pro-life" policies, they wouldn't be so willing —in fact, so eager—to have taxpayers shoulder the crushing costs of building the prisons necessary to house those "babies" later in their lives.

PROSTITUTION, n. The sad, degrading act of renting one's body to the highest bidder. Not to be confused with the ennobling practice known as "wage labor."

RACISM, n. A sign of idiocy indicating that an individual believes that other racial groups can be even worse than his own.

RELIGION, n. 1) The first refuge of the desperate; 2) A convenient way of avoiding such unpleasantries as reality and independent thought; 3) A means of feeling superior to others; 4) A cult which has achieved sufficient longevity, membership, and economic clout to merit societal acceptance.

RETIREMENT, n. Prima facie evidence that the "free enterprise system" terrorizes people so thoroughly that they "willingly" spend their lives working at jobs they hate.

SADISTIC, adj. Popular, well thought of, a shoo-in for re-election.

SINGLE, adj. Suffering impaired vision. When in public places, unable to see anything other than happy couples.

TEN COMMANDMENTS, n. pl. The fundamental moral precepts of the christian and jewish faiths, and a fine set of guiding lights for us all. Some low-minded skeptics have suggested that god could have improved upon these inspired moral principles if it had dropped the commandments concerning swearing, idol worship, sexual exclusivity, and resting on the sabbath, and had instead instituted bans on slavery, torture, and cruelty; but these suggestions are obviously ill advised and sacrilegious. If slavery, torture, and cruelty were true moral evils, organized christianity would not have condoned, instigated, and practiced all three for the better part of two millennia. Fortunately, most christians realize this and do not bother themselves about trifles such as cruelty, torture, and economic exploitation. Instead, they rightly concentrate their moral outrage on the true evils of "obscene" books and pictures, "filthy" language, and the sexual practices of their neighbors.

TERROR, n. Extreme fear—an exceptionally unpleasant emotion which produces physical symptoms such as a pounding heart, clenched jaw, sweaty palms, and, occasionally, brown trousers. This disturbing emotion is most commonly triggered in American males, in its most gut-wrenching form, by the words "Honey, we need to talk."

TRADITIONAL VALUES, n. The bedrock of the nation: fear of the unknown; hatred of the unorthodox; anti-intellectualism; racism; sexism; homophobia; sexual repression; fear and loathing of the human body; the morbid prurience of the "moral"; enjoyment of the sadistic infliction of pain; an ignorance- is-strength, faith-not-reason philosophy; a preference for "faith" over facts; blind belief in the tyranny of the majority; censorship; gullibility; mindless support of the government, especially in time of war; rejoicing over slaughter; a sheep-like longing for "strong leaders"; the desire to make a buck at any price to the environment or to other people; toadying behavior toward one's superiors; bullying behavior toward one's subordinates; intolerance of anyone who deviates one scintilla from a narrow, christian "morality"; the desire to inflict pain on the "immoral"; and the desire to force them to be "moral" through the use of violence, coercion, torture, imprisonment, and execution. Without these Traditional Values, America would not be what it is today.

TRADITIONALIST, n. One who desires the continuance of dangerous, vicious, and unethical practices because they have already done so much harm.

TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY, n. See "United States of America."

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