Oct 302012

Every day brings shitty news, both large and small. We usually don’t write about shitty news. We usually try to write about things that make the shit in life more tolerable. So I guess you could call this post a different kind of Exception to the Rule.


Who came up with the name of “Sandy” for this storm? Sandy is a freckle-faced girl with a beaming smile and sparkling eyes, wholesome and playful, the girl next door. If the hurricane naming gurus wanted an “S” name for this thing, they should have gone with something like Shedim.

Sandy made landfall at 8 pm, Eastern Time, last night, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 175 miles from the center of the storm and tropical-storm-force winds spreading out 485 miles from the center. At least 17 people have been killed so far and this morning more than 7 million people are without power in a multi-state region.

Businesses and schools are closed, roads are closed, subway and commuter trains have been shut down, more than 13,000 airline flights were canceled, even the Erie Canal was shut down. In Manhattan, waves topped the sea wall in the financial district, sending cars floating down streets and flooding the Ground Zero construction site. The Jersey Shore was devastated. A well-known replica of the H.M.S. Bounty was sunk off the North Carolina coast. And on and on and on.

The fuckin’ thing has even extended its reach into the Midwest. Chicago officials warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepares for winds of up to 60 mph and waves exceeding 24 feet well into Wednesday. And though the storm has been downgraded from hurricane status to a tropical storm, it’s not finished wreaking havoc on the Northeastern US and Canada.

Worse weather-related disasters than Sandy have happened elsewhere in the world, to people far less prepared to deal with it. But rightly or wrongly, people have a way of focusing on what happens in their own country first, and for those of us here in the U.S., it’s pretty staggering to watch this happen. There will be hard times ahead for millions of people who are still riding out the storm and its devastating effects. We wish all of them the best.


Now we move from shit on a very large scale to shit on a very individualized scale.

Behemoth’s Adam “Nergal” Darski (shown above, in court on October 29, 2012) has been the target of repeated legal prosecution for years in his native Poland, stemming from a 2007 Behemoth concert in which he tore up a Bible on stage. Poland, you see, is a bastion of the Catholic Church and has a law on the books that makes it a crime to give offense to religion. According to The Font of All Human Knowledge, the law reads as follows (though it may have lost something in the translation):

“Whoever offends religious feelings of other people by publicly insulting an object of religious cult or a place for public holding of religious ceremonies, is subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or loss of liberty for up to 2 years.”

So far, Nergal has prevailed in his efforts to defend himself, but yesterday things took a turn for the worse.

In the last trial, Nergal prevailed through an argument that the “offense to religion” law required proof of intent, i.e., that the defendant directly intended to cause offense to religious feelings. Nergal successfully argued that when he tore up the Bible on stage in front of Behemoth’s followers, he did not intend to give offense to anyone’s religious feelings — and seriously, would anyone have attended a Behemoth show who would be offended by something like tearing up a Bible as a symbolic statement?

Prosecutors appealed the trial court’s decision to the Polish Supreme Court, and yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that a crime is committed under the “offense to religion” law even if the accused does not directly intend to cause offense. What. The. Fuck.

Now Nergal’s case will go back to the trial court for a determination of whether he violated the law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. If convicted, he could face up to two years in jail, although this article reports that “it is extremely rare for anyone convicted of this kind of crime in Poland to serve prison time.” I wouldn’t take too much comfort from that statement. Nergal is clearly a big target for right-wing church advocates in Poland, and a slap on the wrist is unlikely to appease them.

What’s happening to Nergal, in the grand scheme of things, may not amount to much when compared to what Sandy has been doing to millions of people on our shores. But as a symbolic representation of repression of speech in the name of religion (especially in the context of metal), it’s still worth reporting.

We wish Nergal all the best, too.


  1. While I’m not Behemoth fan, nor do I (as a christian) agree with what he did, it still shocks me that laws like this are in countries as civilized as Poland.

  2. Been seeing many people posting about Hurricane Sandy on my Facebook wall… just what is with this particular hurricane? Why does it seem to be affecting so many cities?

  3. And to tie these two stories together, I just saw Bill Maher’s latest tweet: “Scientists say Hurricane Sandy likely linked to record Arctic Sea loss this year but fuck them they’re just scientists what does the bible say?”

  4. Well I’ll I can say is that I was raised in a christian household (not christian like my family). One of the things they taught me and saw in my formative years, was the respect they showed to others people beliefs and opinions (even if they did not agree with them). So I try to live by that rule, to respect others (even if I disagree). People are going to have their opinions no matter what I say or do not say. In Conclusion, I think that the Catholic Church just want to make a example out of Mr. Nergal and that will not accomplish nothing why?? 1) He’s not going to change his beliefs and say he is sorry. I mean it was a Behemoth concert 2) Just going to piss off a lot of people and 3) It gives Chirstians a bad name.

    • I’m not sure if this is a linguistic thing or not, but there’s one point I would disagree with you on.

      I don’t respect others’ beliefs simply because they believe them. I respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want to believe and I respect their right to practice their beliefs however they see fit as long as they’re
      not impinging on others.

      But I cannot say I respect their beliefs, especially if I find them silly.

      I think the Westboro Baptist Church is a good example. I would be pissed at anyone who tried forcefully to make them change their beliefs, because I think they necessarily have a right to believe whatever stupid shit they want. And they are well within their rights to publicly state their backwards ass beliefs and produce stupid, ignorant pamphlets and pass them out. (I don’t think they have a right to fuck up other people’s funerals though. To me, that’s impeding on others.)

      That said, I think they’re idiots. I think they’re morally bankrupt assholes who should shut the fuck up and sit quietly in a small room for the rest of their lives. I happily mock, deride, and laugh at everything those nutters say and I am happy to see others do the same.

      • Yes the Westboro Baptist Church is a good example of people who need to go away. ” respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want to believe and I respect their right to practice their beliefs however they see fit” that is what I meant. So if you believe in Pony and how beautiful they are, or in satan, or whatever makes you happy, good!!! that was my main point.

  5. I would’ve named it Shiva. Can’t go wrong w/ the Hindu goddess of destruction.

  6. I also want to say that it’s fuckin’ cool that Nergal wore a band shirt to court, especially one that seems to have an inverted cross integrated into the logo.

  7. If you’d told me in my younger days that I’d grow up to live in NYC and Boston as a grown up, and yet I’d still experience at least three hurricanes, I would have heartily scoffed at you.

  8. That was one of the first things I noticed when I read this story earlier today. Goes to court to defend actions deemed offensive to those of the Christian faith, wears a Watain shirt. Awesome.

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