Item 1: The avant-garde is no corpus. It merely lies in shock after an unfortunate bout with its own petard. It feigns sleep but one eye glitters and an involuntary twitch in the corner of the mouth belies a suppressed snicker. The giggle of coming awake at one's own funeral dressed in atomic TV beatnik furniture. A mutant with a mission.

The Rozz-Tox Manifesto is an essay written and published by Gary Panter in 1980. It is comprised of 18 numbered items and a parting note. The points are a mix of philosophical statements and calls to arms.

Matt Groening of Life in Hell, The Simpsons, and Futurama fame, is the most widely cited person who claims to have been influenced by the manifesto (aside from Panter himself.) In fact, if you reflect on the state of television in the 80's, the manner in which The Simpsons was marketed and monetized while sneaking in chunks of relatively subversive material, you might suspect Groening of writing it himself.

Item 11: Business: 1. To create a pseudo-avant-garde that is cost effective. 2. To create merchandising platforms on popular communications and entertainment media. 3. To extensively mine our recent and ancient past for icons worth remembering and permutating: recombo archaeology.

Seriously? Do you recall the Simpsons from the early 90's? Raise your hand if you ever owned some Simpsons swag. Recombo archaeology? Well, certainly The Simpsons has never made pop culture parodies, or extended homages to past iconic media...

Item 15: Law: If you want better media, go make it.

By far, Item 15 is the most widely quoted piece of the manifesto. It's certainly the most persuasive call-to-action in the whole piece. This can also be the most infuriating part to quote. The next time someone complains about the perceived decline in the quality of The Simpsons, spit that line at them. If only to watch their reaction.

Item 18: Our lack of popularity in high school has led us to think and thinking has lead us to this. No war is waged here; only a strain, a virus, a toxoid, a Rozz-Toxoid. The emergent complex asks for just twenty years of your time. Now, stand and sing ...

I've been amazed at the diverse and totally unpredictable reactions people have to this manifesto. For some people, it is a revelation to a cunning case for improving mainstream culture from within. For others, it's banal to see a dressed up, artsy rationalization for selling out.

Final Note: Capitalism for good or ill is the river in which we sink or swim, and stocks the supermarket.

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