The Lukewarm Butterknife

Fireaxe Newsletter - edition 6.3.1

Apr. 1, 2003

"Today a man was arrested and charged with drugging
unsuspecting women and videotaping himself raping
their unconscious bodies. In a related story, president
Bush bamboozled the public in a televised speech where
he mentioned God and security a half dozen times and
then requested another 75 billion dollars for his war in
Iraq."
- How the news should be

It finally happened. After years of writing scathing diatribes in The Burning Blade, sending out tasteless parodies in The Lukewarm Butterknife, and producing a series of intensely nihilistic CDs, Fireaxe has been declared anti-American and has been kicked out of the US. In other news, Fireaxe is teaming up with legendary pop singer Sade to produce a song and perhaps a full length CD together. And once again God himself has raised his ugly head in an attempt to prevent the release of the divine massacre that is "Food for the Gods" by giving Fireaxe creator a massive malignant kidney tumor. When will that self-righteous, virgin-Mary-fucker ever learn?

A big "Hello" to anyone receiving the Lukewarm Butterknife for the first time. A big "Goodbye" to everyone if I donít pull through. And a big "Praise to Kali" should things turn out for the better. This is (or maybe was) the official parody of the Fireaxe newsletter.

Fireaxe declared anti-American, Brian Voth deported to North Korea

With the DOW average dropping and government deficits climbing attorney general John Ashcroft appeared on the Compliant News Network news today and declared a number of U.S. citizens to be anti-American. He also said that they had been arrested in the middle of the night and hauled off to an undisclosed location for "questioning".

"These people represent a growing danger to the United States of America.", Ashcroft said to a crowd of reporters, a mass of demonstrators waving signs, and one lone supporter, his wife. "By their actions, Fireaxe, the Dixie Chicks, and a thousand guys named Muhammed have shown themselves to be haters of this great country of ours who will stop at nothing to destroy it."

When asked whether the heavy handed tactics were necessary Ashcroft responded, "We are not the like KGB, the KGB wouldnít have held a press conference. And furthermore the KGB abducted millions of victims, weíre only doing a couple thousand, so chill out."

When asked if the detainees were being tortured the attorney general replied, "You mean like how Saddam Hussein tortures his own people? You can be sure that our detainees are receiving better treatment at our hands than they would in Iraq.", then he quickly asked for the next question before anyone had time to think about his answer.

"Did any of these people own guns?", a reporter asked, but Ashcroft refused to answer the question.

"What about due process, probably cause, and their right to an attorney?", the same brave reporter asked.

"Dammit man, weíre at war!", John Ashcroft bellowed. "These suspects are have committed sins against God, umm, I mean theyíve committed crimes against America. Iím just trying to protect you and defend your rights to speak freely so shut the hell up!"

"And you, you look like one of THEM too.", the attorney general said as he pointed his finger at the reporter with a glazed look washing over his eyes. "Youíre part of the big conspiracy too arenít you. And you, and you, and you.", he said pointing to others in the crowd.

"Guards! Arrest everyone here!", John Ashcroft shouted. And in an instant several squads of black clad policemen in riot gear rushed out into the crowd and began subduing the peaceful mass and shoving them into paddy wagons. One man wearing a WWJD T-shirt was nearly beaten to death by Ashcroft himself.

A few days later, with the nationís attention starting to draw back towards the latest economic bad news, Ashcroft appeared before the nation on television with Fireaxe creator Brian Voth tied to a post and naked from the waist up.

"My fellow Americans, behold the enemy of America. A man who holds the very principles of our nation in contempt. A man who has no regard for everything that we believe in. A man who deserves much worse punishment than he is about to receive because weíre so God damned, er, praise be unto Him, moral. Here he is, the creator of all the evil that is Fireaxe.", John Ashcroft said to a cheering crowd of carefully selected, coached, and bribed supporters. "What do you have to say for yourself?", the attorney general asked Brian as the roar of the crowd died down. "Well, I know that the lyrics of the new ĎFood for the Godsí project are pretty intense.", the bruised and worn down musician began, "But I felt that considering the subject matter that I was dealing with I had to be graphic and that in order to present an unbiased perspective I had to hold nothing sacred."

"The lyrics?!", John Ashcroft exclaimed. "Who cares about the lyrics! What this man is guilty of is creating well produced, artistic music and distributing it...", he shouted as he paused and turned towards the crowd. "...without trying to MAKE MONEY!!!!!"

The crowd erupted in a deafening chorus of boos and jeers.

"Thatís right.", Ashcroft added, "Heís giving it away!" The angry tone of the crowd rose to a higher level and many people started throwing containers of bottled water and now worthless stock certificates at the stage towards the stunned artist.

"What the fuck?", was all that Brian could say.

"He is the reason our economy is experiencing a Ďminor downturní!", Ashcroft said, choosing his words carefully. "He has weakened America and made it vulnerable to attack! He is the reason for September eleventh! If everyone gave what they created away our entire civilization would collapse! Heís an economic terrorist! He is the enemy of all mankind!" The crowd roared in approval. At the mention of September eleventh all their objectivity had gone completely out the window. They wanted blood.

"Let me go you lunatic. I know my rights.", Brian exclaimed.

"The constitution isnít there to protect criminals and terrorists.", Ashcroft said as he drew another roar from the crowd. "And Iíll protect America from terrorists even if I have to break every law in the book." After working the crowd into a frenzy the bitter, fanatical, senate election loser from Missouri pulled out a bullwhip and began to lash the long-haired troublemaker.

"Hey, oww, hey, hey! You canít do this. You canít publicly flog people.", Brian shouted. "Itís illegal!"

But upon hearing Brianís pleas Ashcroft stopped, pulled out a copy of the USA PATRIOT act, and showed him the articles within it that said that he could do exactly what he was doing, and worse.

"Holy god damned shit!", the astonished guitarist yelled. "Didnít anybody in congress read this fucking thing before they passed it into law? Hey, wait, whatís that clause about a sex act?"

"Donít worry.", the attorney general assured him. "Youíre not my type.", and he continued to beat the poor man to the rhythm of the chanting crowd in a manner not unlike professional wrestling.

"Ow, ouch, hey watch the kidney, Yowch!" "And furthermore, weíre stripping you of your citizenship and deporting you to North Korea so you can hang out with the rest of your commie buddies.", John Ashcroft said with a grimace that could only be described as the grin of a man with personality disorders so extreme that he could only receive pleasure by abusing a helpless human being and who had done so almost to the point of orgasm.

"Fine, just...get...me...away...from...you...you...", Brian gasped before the microphone was pulled away from him.

Weeks later, and from within the closed society known as the Democratic Peopleís Republic of Korea, Brian was able to do a secret interview by e-mail with an avid listener:

Simon Lukic: How are you faring in North Korea? Have you become a political prisoner yet?

Fireaxe: Iím doing alright I guess. No I havenít been arrested. Kim Jong Il is far too self assured to be threatened by a mere musician. Iíve been finishing up "Food for the Gods", well, at least when the power is on. I had a scare when "Dear Leader" himself invited me to his palace for dinner. It turns out he likes my music. I couldnít believe it.

Simon: No way. So what happened?

Fireaxe: We talked for awhile about my CDs. He loves it when I rip on Western culture and religion. He told me that he spins the track "Them" over and over and over. But when I asked about the songs that point out the flaws in his ideas and beliefs he just smiled and explained to me that thatís where I was wrong. So really heís like just about everyone else Iíve ever talked to about politics and religion.

Simon: So whatís it like in Pyongyang? Getting any airplay?

Fireaxe: Nah, the state controls the media, so nothing unusual gets played, but I do have a small following here and I am keeping in touch with listeners abroad. The government values me for my technical skills, so we have an arrangement where I help them out with computers and software and in return I get a decent place to live with a few luxuries. You know, now that I think about it, things arenít really all that different here than they were back in the US.

Simon: What about people starving in the streets, the threat of war and destruction, a maniacal leader bent on world domination, oh, wait, I see what you mean.

Fireaxe: Yeah, but to be honest itís worse here, except in Fresno.

Simon: Did you hear that Donald Rumsfeld has unilaterally declared war on North Korea?

Fireaxe: No. We donít get much news here. Itís all propaganda. Almost as bad as Fox news.

Simon: Yeah. Rumsfeld said that it didnít matter to him whether anyone supported it, not even the president or the military, and that heíd drag the nukes to Pyongyang himself if he had to.

Fireaxe: What a nut. What if the president agreed to drop a nuke on Pyongyang provided that Donald rides it on the way down. Do you think that heíd go for it?

Simon: Yeeha!

Fireaxe to do duet with Sade

The music news was rocked today as one of the most beloved singers in the entire world, Sade, announced that she was going to record a song with one of the most behated, or at least beunknown artists on the internet, Fireaxe. After a dozen reporters known for their ability to write embarrassingly gushing reviews of anything that Sade did were allowed into the press conference, Sade made the surprise announcement.

"Epic records and I have decided to reach out to a new market for my music.", the singer began, neglecting to mention that her label was disappointed with her sales and threatened to renege on her contract if she didnít do something "edgy".

"So we found an emerging and promising artist on the internet.", she added, meaning they figured that Fireaxe would be too starstruck to read the sodomatious contract they were going to offer to him. "And my style of Ďloverís rockí will combine with his style of, um, whatever he plays, and make something that will really grab you.", and grab you by your wallet as well as Epicís board of directors hoped.

"It sounds like a winner already.", one reporter said with a big zombie-ish smile. "So whatís the new song going to be called?"

"The title is a mix of the themes that are the hallmarks of both artistsí music.", said Epicís spokesperson. "The first hit song will be called, ĎYouíre like a dream, boy, and thus you must dieí."

The crowd of reports emitted a collective cooing and began scribbling on their PDAs.

"Whatís it going to sound like?", asked another reporter.

"Itís going to be very romantic, and very edgy. Itís going to be like nothing youíve ever heard before.", the spokesperson said with an imp-like grin trying to make it seem like the music was going to be rebellious, brash, and edgy instead of the tired and pretentious garbage that the major labels pump out with remarkable regularity.

The crowd quivered in anticipation. One reporter even got goose bumps.

"Is there any chemistry between Sade and Brian?", asked one reporter who had a major crush on Sade.

"Weíve been in the studio for a few days and Iíd have to say that there was a spark.", Sade said with a mischievous grin, trying to sell a few more copies of the CD with her sheer sex appeal. "What about you?", the same reporter asked Fireaxeís creator with a hint of jealousy. "Any spark in the studio."

Epicís spokesperson let out a barely audible groan. Heíd hoped that Brian wouldnít have to say anything and prepared for the worst. "Umm, yeah, a big spark.", Brian said, selling out. "There were some serious, serious fireworks."

The reporterís face turned a light shade of green. He stood fast in utter disbelief. "No way.", he said finally.

"Ok, ok. Iíll admit it.", Brian confessed. Epicís spokesperson cringed. "Itís just PR bullshit. This is all just a sham. Donít you get it?"

It was clear that the crowd didnít, but Brian continued.

"Look, in case you havenít noticed, I have no sex appeal. Zero. No one would ever believe that Sade would go for a guy like me. Weíre trying to sell you a bullshit image. Thatís it. Bullshit! See, Iím like this sexy, edgy singer from the internet who plays metal and has an armload of hot babes, right? Hah. Iíll tell you the truth. Iím a dud in the sack. I donít have a clue what Iím doing. I miss a lot. I get everything in the wrong order. I look at porn and wonder what those people are doing. I think, thatís not what Iím doing."

Epicís spokesperson tried to interrupt but it was too late, Brian was on a roll.

"Itís not common knowledge but I was on the pilot for ĎTemptation Islandí, that show where sexy singles try to break up couples by seducing them. I got voted off.", Brian said and fired off another story without waiting for the nervous laughter. "So my friends took me a whorehouse to get me laid because it had been a while. Like five years is a big deal or something. And there I was with a dozen hookers in front of me and a pocket full of cash, but one by one they just looked at me and said, ĎNo wayí and walked out. It was humiliating, and those were some seriously skanky broads."

The reporters sat there dumbfounded. The idea of a rock musician saying such things had fried their brains, a feat that could be done even on low heat.

"Itís always been this way.", Brian lamented. "No sex appeal at all. When I was born they didnít bother to write down what sex I was on my birth certificate because they didnít think that it would matter. Iíll tell you. I ordered one of those penis enlarger things and they wouldnít send me one because they didnít want any woman to get any more of me than absolutely necessary. The women I date are relieved when they find out that Iím a premature ejaculator. The sooner the better they say, and they never ask for foreplay. So I went to a gay bar and half the guys walked out and went to the straight bar across the street. Itís tough being me."

The spokesman for Epic just shook his head. Then he punched a few buttons on his cell phone and said to his assistant, "Alright, get me the next edgy internet band on the phone. And this time one with a little more sex appeal."

Jason Christie of Gortician got the next call.

Stricken with cancer, Fireaxe creator remains an atheist-nihilist

This is no joke. Honest. But I can be funny about it.

I have a really big nasty malignant tumor in my left kidney. It might be fatal. Thereís no way of knowing right now. But one thing I know for sure is something I hear all the time from fanatical fundamentalists trying to explain everything in the universe that they do not understand: God did it.

I donít know how it happened. Maybe I masturbated one too many times. I hear that God doesnít like that. Maybe I made one too many posts to the alt.atheism newsgroup arguing that God doesnít exist. That would piss God off. Maybe just refusing to believe in such an absurd concept as an intelligent designer who seats us in the smoking or non-smoking sections for all eternity after we die is enough to enrage the deity to take me out before my time. But if a god created everything then he surely created my cancer for a reason I can only assume is to stop me from completing my epic and "evil" musical project. After all, in "Food for the Gods", I deconstruct as many gods as I possibly can in an attempt to reveal them as being the products of humans who need someone to love and be loved by as well as something to justify their hatred and atrocities. What god wouldnít be angered by such an explanation. And worst of all the music is really cool, so a large number of people are going to hear it and possibly be tempted into not believing. Itís a simple equation. If you take out one sinner and send him to hell immediately, you will save all the people that he would have taken with him. God is just doing the math.

I know that itís hard to imagine that a god would be so petty as to inflict suffering and death upon someone for making him angry. But if you read the bible, and many other holy books, you might be surprised to find out how petty the gods described in them really are. Often they act like children who have been given all the power in the universe to use or abuse as they will. Taking a look at the leaders of the world past and present itís not hard to see where the authors of holy books got their ideas from. But today weíre supposedly more enlightened and so we metaphorically take a big black marker and cross out the parts of our holy books that we donít like anymore. So if you donít think or feel that a god would give me cancer then you can find a good explanation for why that isnít so. Just donít think that youíve proven anything because itís all just a big word game. All you need to do is to craft an explanation that makes you feel better and voila, it becomes the truth, for you.

For me the vision of a god that makes me feel better is one closer to Kali than the Christian god. A goddess who his cold, calculating, and ruthless has far more appeal to me than one who is angry or emotional or one that is male. I donít know exactly why that is, itís probably just an assemblage of the things that I admire and respect in the people Iíve met over the years. If the Christian mythology were true Iíd have to take an adversarial position to their god. Heís an asshole. Heís a dictator. Do as he says and you will be loved. Disobey him and you will burn. Isnít that the type of thing that weíve been taught to abhor and resist? Why spend your life fighting dictators on earth only to surrender to the ultimate dictator in heaven? But as much as Iíd like for there to be a real goddess as I imagine her to be I have to disabuse myself of such notions because they do not fit with my understanding of the world. Iíve spent my adult life practicing an applied science and the one thing that I have been made painfully aware of is what terribly unreliable tools your intuition, emotions, and gut feelings are. I remember how many times I thought that I knew the answer to a problem only to discover that I was completely wrong and Iíve learned that the path to discovering the truth is not one that can afford the luxury of faith or convenient assumptions that cannot be proven wrong. Simply put, God is bullshit, Kali is bullshit, and life is too complex, difficult, and treacherous to spend it basing your decisions on fantastical notions of deities, commandments, and divine punishment. When the pressure is on, you must set aside your feelings and use what you know. The best way to deal with things, is to deal with them.

Some of you may feel that the best way for you to deal with my illness is to pray for me or to do the secular equivalent of praying and hope for my survival. I can assure you that it wonít matter to me, but it may help you, so go ahead and do it. But if you have to pray, try praying to Kali instead of whoever you usually pray to since what I need now is a goddess who knows how to destroy, that is, one who can purge the cancer out of my system. Kali has got to be the best choice. So repeat this prayer,

"Kali, great and terrible goddess of destruction, please refrain from your work in Iraq (or wherever) if only for a moment and tend to the needs of one of your children. Obliterated his cancer. Crush it in your mighty hand so that he may rise and finish his epic musical project in which he calls out your name. After that you can waste him, but not before then because ĎFood for the Godsí is some seriously rocking music that I really want to hear and I need you to help him to complete it."

I recommend that you should then sacrifice something valuable since thatís how real gods and goddesses work.

I feel that some of you are wondering about the message that Iím trying to get across with all my music and my writings and so forth. I probably havenít been completely clear, either because the subject matter is difficult, or my manner of speaking isnít plain, or that you have hundreds of question or arguments that I havenít addressed. I could probably spend my whole life trying to describe how I think the world operates and not come a step closer to proving it in any definitive manner. I could also spend my whole life trying to prove it and only contribute a small piece to the puzzle. But there is one thing that I can make perfectly clear and that is if you read something that I have written and want to ask something that begins with, "So youíre saying that we should...", then you have missed the point. My purpose has never been to propose a course of action. Iím only trying to establish how I think things are. Iím trying to construct the big picture. No one should use it to determine what we should do until we sufficiently understand everything, sufficiently test everything, and actually set a clear goal. In my view the world today lacks all three things. Without understanding we all have to guess what we should do and the consequences of guessing wrong at the highest levels are growing more catastrophic every day. I personally donít think that weíre going to understand the world around us before we go over the brink, but that doesnít mean that all is futile. Nihilism only means that it doesnít truly matter what we do. Itís taken me a while to get used to that idea but now I can see what it means. Sure Iíd like to live a long life. Iíd like to complete my projects and see how everything turns out, but I realize that these desires I have are just arbitrary. If I had been born in another country or in another time Iíd have different desires, and as long as I live I will always have something that I want to finish before I die. The exact ending point is inconsequential. We expect to live about 70 years, so it seems like a shame if someone dies before then, but is any time truly a better time to die than any other? Sure, itís no fun to be alive when your body doesnít work like it used to anymore and you know that it is just a matter of time before the end, but we always want to see one more day. Whether that is because of curiosity or our innate desire to live it doesnít really matter. So Iíve realized that it doesnít really matter which day it is that you die, the important part is trying to live. The same can be said about the human race as a whole. We look at all our progress and advancement and speculate that we will continue to thrive and one day be literally the rulers of the universe. But does it really matter if we succeed? So many philosophies emphasize that the journey is the important part, not the destination. Being alive is to be traveling somewhere, reaching for some goal, or trying to live out your dreams. So if we are always traveling to a new destination, setting our sights higher with each new day, it doesnít matter when we get there or if we get there at all. The end can come any time, and the result is always the same, but instead we believe that our future is to be judged and we spend our lives in fear.

I think that we as a race of humans are racing too fast towards our destinations and that the journey is getting less and less enjoyable with each passing year. Our bodies get pushed past their natural limits and maybe the cancer that I have is a result of that pushing. I think that our belief in gods is the driving force behind our pushing ourselves past our limits, so perhaps in that respect the gods did cause my cancer. I know that my surgeonís devotion to his gods have resulted in his skills. He had to push himself through medical school and build a thriving practice to get where he is today. The gods are not real, but that doesnít mean that "faith" canít move mountains, or destroy them. The problem is that we are collectively trading our present for our future and we are all paying a very high price.

I do have one specific message to pass on should this be my last newsletter. If itís not then you should forget what Iím saying because Iím sure to change my mind down the road. If you want to keep it be sure to print it out. Hard copies are more reliable than hard drives, and if the payments stop going to my provider my site will go away, so be warned, Fireaxe may one day disappear.

Most of your life will be spent in drudgery, working towards those rare times of bliss, and the longer you live, the harder you must work to revel in those fleeting moments. Donít be afraid to suffer as you toil for suffering will yield strength. Donít be afraid to travel down long lonely roads for they lead to new and different lands. And when the worldís door opens for you just a crack and your wisdom tells you that your time is now, donít be afraid to charge full speed into the fray with your eyes wide open and your hands gripping the reigns for success is never measured in victories, but in glory.

Itís not the ultimate answer, but itís good advice.

Iíve had time to think about dying, and the more I think about it the more I realize that the most important thing to me, at least right now, is "Food for the Gods". The strange part is that it would be somewhat ironic or perhaps appropriate that I die at this particular part of the project. When you get your copy and get to the final part of the work youíll understand and may get a wry laugh out of it. Should I be given the customary six months to live, or end up living out my days in chemotherapy struggling to survive I will put my last ounce of effort into finishing this work. I feel that it is not only the pinnacle of my efforts as a musician but as a person as well, at least in the philosophical sense. Itís not just a CD, itís the highest form of art that I can create and I would regret not being able to make it as good as I can due to being less than full strength. Also I doubt that even if I do survive that I would take on something of this magnitude again. It has been quite a challenge.

Or maybe I will.

Ending Comments

Maybe this is actually the end. In a way it seems unreal and in a way it feels like something Iíve always expected. I canít explain why I feel that way, I just do. Also, Iíve always wanted to explode that old myth about there being no atheists in foxholes. Now it seems that I will get my chance. If you ever hear anyone repeating the tired old myth that "There are no atheists in foxholes" tell them that they are completely full of shit. Is courage cowering before a deity and begging it to spare your life? I donít think so.

Brian Voth - Creator of Fireaxe

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