Sunday Sermon: What a Horrible Little Creep

[Warning: Rant]

You cannot blame a virus for being what it is. Viruses (and bacteria) are too small and simple to have enough free will to take any responsibility for their actions.

My hatred burns with a white hot flame for the human parasites who rush in to take advantage of the fear and ignorance surrounding this century’s (so far) major public health disaster. At the top of that heap of human shit, sits Jim Bakker – you know Jim, he’s the guy who sells buckets of survival glop [stderr]; garbage that comes in a convenient plastic bucket that Jim encourages his marks to turn around and use as a toilet when they’re done choking down the gack he calls “food.” You may be thinking “Marcus is leaning kind of heavily on the shit metaphors” but if you think I’m going too far, all you have to do is take a look at one of Bakker’s survival buckets:

See if you can spare a haughty “fuck you, too” for National Public Radio, who had to pretend to take Bakker seriously enough to eat some of the gack and write a snarky review of it. [npr] Journalism, in 2020, is not about tasting a con artist’s diarrheic creations and pronouncing them unfit to eat – we can and should expect journalists to dismiss this stuff out of hand. Nobody who eats this stuff listens to NPR, anyway.

23,375 servings. For $2,500 plus shipping. Let that sink in. There used to be an old joke that some spokesperson for McDonalds was asked if there was worm meat in the cheeseburgers and the spokesperson said “don’t be silly; worm meat would be really expensive.” By that calculation, Bakker ought to be paying you to take the stuff off of his hands and dispose of it. Instead, armies of dittohead preppers are probably stocking buckets of this goo, ready to survive on it when the coronavirus hits and all the dying zombie-people come coughing and crawling out of the cities. It’s hard for me to put myself in their heads because there’s not enough room in them for my imaginings and their thoughts at the same time. At a certain point, it is no longer inappropriate to express contempt for these extremely stupid people – they’ve got lots of opportunity to educate themselves, and they are not taking it. Bakker’s a wealthy sleaze; during his early career he made himself overtly rich off his ministry, but it all blew up in his face – he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the public, but was out again to resume the defrauding after a serving 5 years of the sentence. [One of the other scandals of the US prison state is the way in which white con-men get their sentences reduced if they can talk all jesusy.] The new, reinvented Bakker, doesn’t carry the same paper wealth (everything he uses, where he lives, etc, is all owned by his church for tax purposes) so, while he lives a comfortable life, he’s still a grifter. I consider him a particularly disgusting form of lowlife because:

  • He didn’t stop when he had “enough” (stupid)
  • He’s doing the same old song and dance and didn’t even invest the effort to come up with something clever (lacks creativity)
  • He has terrible taste in all respects (lowlife)

A few years ago I got curious about the New Jim Bakker and researched his finances for a while. Unlike his old set-up (the money from his ministry went in his pocket) his new set-up is a maze of Delaware corporations, non-profit ministries, and shit-selling companies owned by other people who are Jim’s business partners. That way, if there’s any prison time to be served, it’ll be someone else serving it but Jim doesn’t get the pleasure of having a big bank balance. He’s still a grifter, he’s just had 5 years to re-design his process and his practice. Basically, he’s still the same little piece of shit who has always been standing by ready to take a chunk of some ignorant old retiree’s pension, in return for consideration in the after-world.

His new grift is, naturally, aimed at the coronavirus. Because no apocalypse should go un-monetized. Thereby showing he intends to survive it and enjoy the fruits of his grift!

There was some theorizing a while back that silver might help some antibiotics penetrate the cell walls of bacteria, therefore silver might have some antibiotic properties, though – if you made a list – it would be somewhere way below a 10% bleach solution (which is pretty cheap) or sunlight (ditto). But that won’t stop ole Jim: he’s spun up a new relationship with another company that he probably owns most of through some sort of devious cut-out stock arrangement, or anonymous control through a bank account in Grand Cayman – a company that makes and sells colloidal silver solution.

There sure is a lot of silver on display there, right? Well…. sort of. The solution is 2 parts per million. So if you take 1kg of silver nitrate (an easily soluble version of silver) and added it to 500,000L of tap water, you’d have what Bakker is pushing. Last time I bought silver nitrate I was using it for wet plate photography around 2007, and the stuff was $500/lb, so let’s say that the value of the silver in the solution is, um… a rounding error. 1/20 of a cent per liter if I have that right. And that’s for a large batch. The “Silver Solution Starter Kit” Bakker is flogging looks to be about half a liter, for a $100 donation. That is one hell of a Return on Investment for god’s little capitalist tool.

Bakker’s really missing a trick, speaking of silver nitrate: it’s the main process in black and white photography, which renders organic materials photosensitive. Back when I was doing wet plates a lot, my hands (and clothes) were covered in lovely purple-black blotches [“gang sign” for other alternative process photographers] – I’m surprised these holy rollers haven’t hit on the trick of drawing a cross on a mark’s head with a little stamper soaked in silver nitrate. That way, when they left the church and got out in the sunlight the ultraviolet would develop the silver nitrate into a visible mark of the hand of god. Bakker’s gomers would eat that up; they’ll eat anything.

The Lord Saith “Never give a sucker an even break.”

I am pretty sure a lot of this depends on Bakker’s audience not understanding what “ppm” means. Personally, I’m surprised they haven’t been using “ppb” like homeopaths do, i.e.: 1/1000ppb silver solution. It’s stronger that way.

This, then, is the work of the lord, for any of you christians who have been following thus far. Either you’re an ignorant chucklefuck, or you’ve been sitting back letting this weaselly mountebank defraud your fellow believers – which would be mighty unchristian of you. I know that, in the age of Donald Trump, every christian is desperately getting their grift on, but you’re better than that, aren’t you? Of course you’re not. To be a christian in 2020 is to have knowingly signed up to be part of this great big ignorance-fueled grifting engine that runs on tax-sheltered “donations” instead of “selling stuff” (which is taxable). I used to laugh bitterly when I heard christian fascists challenge muslims “why don’t you stand up and tell your fellow faithful that they need to stop being terrorists?” which is sort of an unfair question, but it’s nowhere near as bad as “why don’t you stand up and tell your fellow christians to stop being a bunch of embarrassing chucklefucks?”

The New York attorney general is somewhat on the job: [3tv] and sent Bakker a sharply-worded “cease and desist” letter. I’m sure that’s going to clear the whole thing right up. Except, no, it’s not: Bakker’s being grifty-slick about it and instead of him claiming the stuff works, he’s got guests on his show doing it. I can’t be arsed to determine whether Alex Jones learned that trick from Bakker, or if Bakker learned it from Alex Jones or if they both learned it from Andy Weil. But that’s the problem: the New York attorney general’s letter almost certainly wound up in the trash, or got a reply to the effect that Bakker has absolute immunity.

Meanwhile, there are real people suffering and there is genuine fear and loathing going on. I wrote about how I thought the cruise ships were going to be a bad idea for incubating coronavirus, and it turned out I was more right than I ever wanted to be. Frankly, I wish I had never broached the topic. But, as bad as the cruise ships are, wait until the coronavirus hits the prisons. That is a scenario that’s so nasty I wonder if Steven King could bear to write about it. Oh, wait, that’s part of the opening of The Stand, isn’t it?

If you want to throw up in your mouth a bit (especially if you’ve been eating Jim Bakker’s shitbucket food) you can watch his slick pitch here:

For what it’s worth, I reported that as “misleading advertising” on youtube. Let’s see if they take it down. Ha. Ha. Ha.

I feel like I owe you something to cheer you up. The news of the world right now is mostly oppressive and depressing, and looking at pictures of Bakker’s food buckets has impacted my appetite for breakfast. Let me offer a counter-agent: indian grandma cooking. This lady’s recipes are amazing and the food looks so good and the smiles on the children’s faces are worth a lot. I bet the $120 someone might spend on Bakker’s silver bullshit would supercharge Indian Grandma for a while, and help her put more smiles on more kids’ faces.

Her recipe is pretty offhand; I suspect she’s just putting together what she has. But you’ve got to admire anyone whose recipe for onion rice starts with “take two 20lb sacks of rice and empty them in to a large tub; add 5 gal of water.”

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Back in 1997 I did some consulting work for the government of Singapore’s main regulatory arm and wound up staying almost 2 weeks. Singaporeans mostly eat out: the apartments are small and few people invest in the space for a full-blown kitchen or eating area. And, in truth, why bother when there are amazing food courts everywhere. I was staying at The Raffles Hotel (ooh! aah!) to keep my “sophisticated american” credentials burnished, but I think I spent as much time at Lau Pa Sat food court as I did at the very swanky hotel.

[Lau Pa Sat: I just grabbed this off google image search]

At one point, one of my hosts asked me if I was doing OK finding places to eat (!) and I explained that I would like to find some authentic Indian and Thai food, so they sent me to two different places. They warned me that both were down near the docks “where rough people hang out” but I figured that as a New Yorker I could handle it. And everything was fine. I went to the Indian place where I was told to go, and discovered no restaurant at all; there was a truck with a flat bed and an old Indian Grandma (just like the one in the video!) making tubs of some kind of curry and another guy was making naan bread on the side of a big steel thing full of hot coals. It all smelled amazing. It turned out it was a “bring your own bowl” feeding spot for dock workers, who were very friendly if perplexed by the weird American. One of the dock workers had the brilliant inspiration of selling me his spare bowl, which he made sure I could tell was new, and I queued up and got a big ladle-full of amazing creamy daal with a dollop of some kind of red curry on the side, and a big chunk of naan thrown across the top of the bowl as a cover. The whole meal, including the bowl (which unfortunately got broken in a move in 2002) was under $1 us. People kept pausing to look over at me, stuffing my face and moaning, and they’d just laugh. It was early evening and the flourescent bulbs made a weird buzzing and the air was warm and sweet and smelled of bougainvillea and turmeric.


  1. says

    American companies sometimes use metric measurements to make their product seem better. There’s currently an ad for the Payday candy bar that mentions its length in centimetres. Because saying it’s 10 centimetres makes it sound better than saying it’s 3.9 inches. Some aren’t so innocuous. There was an ad for some schlock “commemorative coin” that mentioned it was clad in 14 something or others of gold. I can’t remember the unit of measurement, but I knew it was effectively the thickness of onion paper. But a lot of Americans wouldn’t.

  2. Ridana says

    The guy in the video gives the game away right at the start: “$100, that’s an amazing price for that little silver.” Amazing that we get away with it!

  3. fusilier says

    Colloidal silver is A Thing in quackery – not _quite_ so darned effective as homeopathic duck liver, but pretty good. /sarcasm

    I’m just surprised that it took this long for Bakker to include it in his grift.


    James 2:24

  4. moose says

    I always remember the Bakker’s prosperity gospel tv show. They once told their viewers that if they sent in enough money and prayed hard enough, god would give them a motor home. “And you can even pray for it to come in the color you want!”

  5. Janstince says

    If you want some good cooking, check out “De mi rancho a tu cocina” on YouTube. Doña Angela is amazing, and all in her little shack on a griddle built over a wood stove.

  6. jrkrideau says

    Minor quibble on the onion rice video. I think the two bags together are 12.5kg (27.5lb). I just cannot see someone other than Paul Bunyan lifting and pouring out the rice like like she did with a 12.5kg bag and I speak as someone who buys his flour in 10 kg (22lb) bags. Besides the bags look too small.

    Looked like a simple but good recipe to put together when one wants a bit of quantity and it can be done with limited labour.

    If you want to hear about volume food production, here is an interesting BBC program on a food charity , Akshaya Patra, the world’s largest school meals programme founded in India in the 1970s.. It provides ~1.7 million hot lunches each school day.

    One kitchen alone produces 75,000 hot lunches each day and uses 20 tonnes of rice !

    It is a fascinating programme. / Akshaya Patra, the world’s largest school meals programme

    The kitchen/cooking part starts at about 5:30.

    I think I saw a bit of that Bakker show on YouTube a month or so ago and thought it was about as low and slimy as one would expect from him.

    What amazes me, not for this video but if the end of the world is coming why does one need that glop?

  7. says

    Besides the bags look too small.

    Rice is pretty dense. I buy the big Kohuko Rose 25# sacks and it looks like that was about the right size. If I’m off, that’s fine. I just wanted to ruminate about the scale of her cooking.

    Akshaya Patra, the world’s largest school meals programme

    I’ll check that out. School meals are so damned important. And now I am fuming with rage at the republicans trying to cut meal programs for kids. When you’re a kid your metabolism is weird and it really affects your ability to learn. (I had meteorology 101 right after I usually ate lunch and damn near flunked it until I realized I needed to have lunch afterwards)

    What amazes me, not for this video but if the end of the world is coming why does one need that glop?

    They don’t. Jim needs them to need it, so he can have the money. Because god wants him to be well groomed and comfortable.

  8. says

    They once told their viewers that if they sent in enough money and prayed hard enough, god would give them a motor home. “And you can even pray for it to come in the color you want!”

    Yeah, if you send enough money to a motor home dealer, they’ll give you one too! And it’s more certain.

  9. coragyps says

    The very best (?) stunt with silver nitrate is the old oilfield trick of painting a toilet seat with solution that you swipe from the water analyst’s kit. Purple butts are typically a little tough to explain to the wife.

  10. sonofrojblake says

    I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for this chap’s willing contributors, any more than I do for the victims of people like Gwyneth Paltrow.

    I used to be a regular listener to a podcast called “Answer Me This”*, and in between entertaining chat they would play jingles recorded by their talented friends, shilling the merch that supported the podcast. One of them was the wonderful Martin White, and he sang a little call-and-response ditty as a hypothetical listener in an exaggerated falsetto that went something like:
    LISTENER: “I’ve got too much money! I’ve got too much money!”
    PODCASTERS: “Buy an Answer Me This Tshirt, or an Answer Me This mug.”
    LISTENER: “I’ve STILL got too much money. I’ve STILL got too much money!”
    PODCASTERS: “Buy an Answer Me This book, or an Answer Me This teatowel.”

    If you’ve got two and a half grand lying round to buy a bucket of food which, regardless of how palatable it is or isn’t, you by definition hope you never have to eat, then you my friend have too much money.

    *It was a good podcast, although the back catalogue is by now only available if you pay and the frequency has gone right down since the “stars” actually parlayed its success into something more like a proper job.

  11. lochaber says

    I’m disappointed it wasn’t in the article or in one of the comments, but first google result for “silver nitrate blue guy” is this:

    $2.K to spend on apocalypse food… You can get a lot of SPAM and canned vegetables for ~$1K, spend a couple hundred on some decent tools and gardening books, and then maybe some seeds or something? 23K servings of bad, boring glop seems excessive, I’m pretty sure even the arachnophobic people will be poking through the cobwebs in the basement before they even clear 100 servings of that… Also, I wonder how long it’s good for after opening, or is it the sorta thing only suitable for feeding 23K people simultaneously?

    But, yeah, the cutting school lunch programs is absolutely disgusting. As are the various shamings and “punishments” for kids whose parents have fallen behind on payments or whatever. Institutional kitchens like that have everything planned, buy everything in bulk, make everything in bulk, and use relatively inexpensive ingredients that are relatively easy to prepare on top of that. Just hiring someone to collect money from the students/check their status probably costs nearly as much money as it collects from the kids.
    Yet another issue the republicans are penny-wise and pound-foolish on…

  12. says

    used to be a regular listener to a podcast called “Answer Me This”*

    That was a pretty fun show. I did notice it stopped producing new material and deleted it. Ah, the glory that is podcasting.

  13. bmiller says

    I never understood WANTING to survive the nuclear apocalypse. If civilization collapses and there are roving bands of virus-infected zombies, I would rather have been among those standing on the Golden Gate Bridge as the missiles fall. Especially if I would otherwise be reduced to eating that kind of “food” product.

    I guess my fatalism is due to not having a wife and children, so others’ survival drives may be stronger.

  14. says

    I never understood WANTING to survive the nuclear apocalypse. If civilization collapses and there are roving bands of virus-infected zombies, I would rather have been among those standing on the Golden Gate Bridge as the missiles fall. Especially if I would otherwise be reduced to eating that kind of “food” product.

    Let them eat me, starting with my ass.

    Joking aside, though: the premise of disaster preppers is that “99% of the population will die!” to which I usually say “that gives me a 1% chance of having to worry about it, and a 99% chance that I won’t have to sit next to you in my bunker.”

  15. publicola says

    Once a lyin’ weasel-shit, always a lyin’ weasel-shit. Honestly, anyone willingly ignorant enough to get snookered like that deserves it. It’s not a nice sentiment, but I have no sympathy for anyone that dumb, even if it was me. Like they say, you can’t fix stupid.

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