The following are interviews with two zine writers who both produce zines of a personal nature. Kelly Dessaint is based in Los Angeles, USA, and is the editor of Pitldownlad. He is also the author of A Masque of Infamy, a novel which is available on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. Ryan Mishap is based in Eugene, Oregon, USA, where he produces Mishap Zine.
[I’ve reproduced the pages from the print-based zine Sticky Sounds, Vol 7, December 2013, here with permission.]
“The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin was the brainchild of Brett and Vic. As the outcasts of Saks High, they found great pleasure in being contrary. Since the Christians were always talking about devil worshippers and cults, they decided to start a cult of their own. The stuffed talking bear was the most absurd icon they could think of to worship. They scrawled ‘Teddy Ruxpin Rules’ all over school, on desks, cafeteria tables, their lockers and the bathroom walls. There were slight variations, such as, ‘Teddy Ruxpin Is God,’ ‘All Hail Teddy Ruxpin,’ or ‘Teddy Ruxpin Is My Savior.’ But the message was always the same. They knew it was stupid, but it alleviated the boredom. And it pissed off the Christians. So that made it worthwhile.”
Even though “The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin” is part of a much larger work, that is, the novel A Masque of Infamy, I am loath to label this zine as an excerpt. Those who have read A Masque of Infamy may feel turned off by this zine because of the potential regurgitated material, but there are additional passages, rewritten parts and anecdotes that were painfully cut from the novel. Despite my impractical, I am often told, desire to publish that entire novel as a series of typewritten zines that truly represent what I was trying to accomplish with the novel, this version of “The Cult of Teddy Ruxpin” is the complete tale of how I lost religion, discovered punk and made true friends after moving to a small town in Alabama. It is a story of teenage rebellion, resisting high school conformity and conformity in general as well as subverting the dominant paradigm. It’s about how a seed was planted in fertile soil, a seed that continues to mature to this day