Landover Baptist Tom Hartman Zine-O-Rama

import_contacts Landover Baptist

reviewed by Tom Hartman

Published in Issue No. 41 ~ October, 2000

Religious and political conservatives of all stripes are lined up like so many carnival ducks at Landover Baptist, a satire/parody site inspired by the venerable Onion.

Edited by Christian Harper and written entirely by staffers (no submissions accepted), Landover is the “homepage” of “America’s Favorite Church… The Largest, Most Powerful Assembly of Worthwhile People to Ever Exist (Unsaved are NOT welcome!).”  Updated monthly, the site’s main page offers readers “A Godly perspective on Local, National and World News.”  Headlines like “N’Sync Killed my Baby,” “Disney’s Dinosaur Film is Turning Children into Sex Maniacs,” and, memorably, “New Concentration Camps for Divorcees,” leave little doubt that Landover‘s mission is to skewer as viciously as possible the far-right and its rhetoric. Take, for example, the following bit of venom, from “True Christian Will Boycott Olympics”:

. . . the debauchery that has become the Olympics is exemplified most by the Greco-Roman wrestling events.  “If you’re shocked by the homosexuality blatant in professional wrestling, as all Christ-like people should be, you will be unable to stomach what occurs during the amateur event,” observed Brother Harry. “At least in the pro event, the men punch and gouge each other in a truly manly fashion. In the Olympic event, all they do is hug their opponents and try to force them on their backs so they can play-act the most depraved acts imaginable.”

In the wake of the Republican National Convention and with the 2000 election looming, the LB staff has the entire GOP in their sights. “America needs Dick!” declares a banner headline in the September 2000 issue. A few of the justifications behind Landover‘s “endorsement” of the would-be Vice president? First, “Cheney will thwart the liberals’ goal of equality worldwide.” Second, “Dick will let us have any weapon we want.”

Landover‘s visuals are often funnier and more effective than the writing. The current main page, for instance, sports a revolving animated .gif encouraging readers to “Outlaw Godless Liberals” by voting for George W. Bush. In the aforementioned  “Concentration Camp” piece, the text wraps around a picture of a Luftwaffe officer looking on as a bonfire rages in the background. The caption reads, “Pastor Rich watches as the home of an obstreperous divorcee burns to the ground.”

While sometimes inspired, Landover‘s features and news rarely match the standard (admittedly high) set by the Onion. They’re too often heavy-handed, fraught with low blows and obvious jokes. Landover‘s staffers are no dummies, to be sure, but little here exhibits the intelligence and sophistication of the Onion‘s best writing. 

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Tom Hartman has been a regular contributor to Pif since 1999. He lives in Philadelphia.