Happy New Year! April Fools Day History

Happy New Year to all of our fans and followers! And yes, that makes me an April Fool.

See, many, many moons ago (in the late 1500s), those in power noticed that the calendar was out of whack with reality and decided to change it. The Pope decreed that the Julian calendar should be the one used; and one of the effects of the change was moving the start of the year from April first (which had once fallen on the Spring Equinox) to January first. People who still celebrated the equinox as the start of the year, whether for religious reasons or just because they were out of touch, were “April Fools.” (Other reasons have been postulated; see the Wikipedia entry for more theories, and for a list of famous pranks.) Being an April Fool used to just mean getting jeered and laughed at; then someone decided it was fun to embarrass the gullible, so the pranks were born.

I like the way the British see the holiday; pranks are only acceptable until noon, and after that the “April Fool” is the prankster. Here in the States, we have to be on the lookout all day long. Pfui. And the tradition of fake news stories, of course, can hit at any time, with occasionally disastrous results. (The Wikipedia entry listed above has a list of real news stories that happened on 4/1 that no one believed because of the date.)

Since we here in the Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery believe that New Year’s happens whenever you think it does, we don’t go in for the pranking thing. But any holiday that makes people laugh is a good thing — so, as long as you don’t go after people who don’t wanna play, have fun. That’s what it’s for, right?

My favorite explanation for the origin of the holiday was done by the Simpsons; have a giggle at no one else’s expense. And a Happy New Year, or April Fools’ Day, to all of you! 😎

The Icon of the Order: The Great Gonzo

At the Society for Creative Anachronism Thirty Year Celebration (think 10-day camping trip with other people in medieval clothing from all over the US, celebrating 30 years of doing this silly — and fun — thing) . . . OK, that’s too much sentence already. Let me start over:

At the SCA 3YC, while the Mother Superior was participating in the Knowne World Tablero Championship, she . . . you know what? This’ll never work. Let’s start in the middle: after the Mother Superior bought the Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery, she was told that the other orders had decided on Muppet Icons. When asked what the HOOLD’s would be, we immediately chose the Great Gonzo. After all, which other Muppet embodied what we were trying to do? Who had more fun, and in so many different ways? We love Gonzo; and he’s an integral part of the Order. We use Gonzo Pez dispensers for our communion. We quote him at every opportunity. We sniffle when he’s sad, and yell “ICON!” at the TV when he enjoys himself in a weird way. “We’re gonna blow you up, baby.”

What brought this up? Fanboy.com posted an article titled, “Gonzo for the Great Gonzo,” and he loves this guy almost as much as we do. “He’s very proud just to be himself . . . he represents the eternal optimist in all of us.” So true, so very true. Here’s what the Cat o’ 9 Tales has to say about the Icon:

The Icon

“What’s wrong?” Rizzo
“Well, it just feels so weird.” Gonzo
“What? You mean that Mr. Arrow is dead?”
“That . . . and my pants are full of starfish.”
“You and your hobbies!”

Gonzo the Great, eater of rubber tires and holder of 5 ton blocks, is the Holy Icon of the Order. He practices the Art of Debauchery to such an extent that only rarely do people understand Him–-or want to.

“Just leave it to me. TAXI!” Gonzo (Throws himself in front of a cab)
“That’s very effective.” Kermit
“Yeah, it’s great when it works.” Gonzo

He abides by the Rules and precepts of the Order; although He gets a tad weird at times, he stays Safe, Sane, and Consensual — Muppets just have a higher pain threshold than we do. He also tries to practice Courtesy and Compassion (Caution, Discretion, and Tact are things he’s still working on), and He also knows when to quit.

“How about you folks? Souvenir photograph?” Gonzo
“No pictures.” Restaurant Patron
“It’ll be a great momento for you and your wife.”
“My wife isn’t feeling very well.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. Maybe she should be at home.”
“My wife is at home!”
“Aba ba ba da. . . . Next table!”

We highly recommend looking at the Psayings of Gonzo elsewhere on this Web site, and seeing the occasional Muppet Movie. Looking at Gonzo as the Icon of Debauchery gives a whole new point of view for the movies, and they’re generally Good for the Soul.


The Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery FAQ

I was trying to make myself write a “Who Are We?” kind of post, when I found the little three-question FAQ I wrote for the old site. It seems I’ve already written this post! So here’s a short blast from the past:

Who the heck are you guys? What are you trying to do?
The Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery, although originally started as a bit of a joke, quickly came to realize that it had a Good Message to give to the world, and that with a little applied effort it might actually get somewhere. The Order is committed to two things:

  1. Showing people that Fun is supposed to be part of life, and that it can be had without hurting yourself and others, and that if we treat others well they’ll be more likely to treat us well. (Safe, Sane, and Consensual; Courtesy, Caution, Discretion, Compassion, and Tact; Honor, Joy, Love, Play, and Integrity.)
  2. Creating a Community where people who share these views of the world can come together to celebrate, share information, and maybe do some good in their corner of the world.

How can you claim to be a new religion?
Well, we are trying, silly as it may sound, to create a religion for any faith; we started out by parodying, or using conventional forms as a framework for the rites of Our Lady of Debauchery. Our Rosary and Service are based on Catholic forms; our Hours of the Day and use of Gonzo the Great as an Icon of the Order are based on midieval religious practices; the order of the parts of the rosary are based on the Five elements currently used by modern pagans (spirit, air, fire, water, earth). The goal in using these things was to give people something familiar and then give it a twist. Hopefully we would also make them laugh in the process.

“A religion for any faith” . . . huh?
In our minds, faith is the covenant you have in your heart and mind with the god, goddess, worldview, or void of your choice. Each of us has a unique understanding of the Universe, who runs it, and our place in it; and interfering with your personal beliefs is not our job.
We are a religion: according to Webster, that means we’re in “The profession or practice of religious beliefs; religious observances collectively . . .” We are trying to promote a framework for looking at the world; a way of interacting with others that gives everybody respect and promotes a civility rapidly disappearing from American life right now; and a set of basic principles that will make anyone who follows them a happier and more successful life. The thirteen words that appear in the first question and at the bottom of our business cards is the summary of what we’re trying to show people. No matter what god/dess(es) you give your faith to — or if you give faith to none at all — the principles of the Order can be applied to your life. And we do not require Faith in Our Lady of Debauchery; just belief in the possibility of her existence — lip service, if you will.

“Our Lady of Debauchery” — who the heck is she?
She’s plucked from the whole cloth; she’s a complete fabrication, with no roots in any saint, Goddess, demideity, or anyone else, real or imaginary. The Mother Superior was given the name during a marathon drinking game tournament, just because she could hold her beer; She has become almost an Imaginary Friend for a couple of us. Every person views Her differently; to me, She’s like the Weird Aunt that will party with you and then hold your head afterwards and tell you what you did that was stupid when you’re awake enough to listen. She may or may not indulge, but She knows Her limits, and will shake Her head when you exceed yours, but She knows it’s part of the learning process. You give Her a solid listen, and you’ll learn a lot.

Copyright© 4/99 Rev. LJF Wolffe for the Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery

So, what do you think? Is there anything else I should explain? What does Our Lady of Debauchery mean to you? Let us know in the Comments!

The Relocation is Ongoing . . .

Hi! Just wanted to drop a note about how the move from the old Virtual Cathedral is going. I tell you, I’ve gotten lost in there a couple of times! It made so much sense when I put it up 10 years ago — but now I’m going to have to re-graph it to make sure I haven’t missed anything. There is no way I’ll moving everything; just the important bits. (If you’re curious, and could use a good laugh, Ye Olde Virtual Cathedral is still up — mainly because I’ve forgotten how to get into it!)

Under the Resources tab you see under our Smiley Army, I’ve got links to all of the writings available so far; and that list will be continually updated as other stuff gets put in. Here’s the list so far:

The Catechism, known as the Cat o’ 9 Tales
The Order of Service
The Psayings
Prayers of the Hours
The Five Virtues Rosary
The Rule of the Order (Early Writings)
HOOLD Brochure
HOOLD Chronology
And when I get done with the old site, I won’t be done! I found an archive of an old hard drive, and there’s a bunch of stuff that might find its way here. We’ll have stuff to read and discuss for a good long time to come!

If you’re wondering just what the heck this is about, may I recommend the Brochure? It’s what we gave people at SCA events. And please leave any questions in the comments — it’ll help other people with the same questions! 😎

Hi There! Welcome to the New Site!

Thanks for coming by to check out the site for the Holy Order of Our Lady of Debauchery! We’re currently updating our site (for the first time in 10 years). If you’re looking for the older info, it’s still available at www.geocities.com/gihoold; but soon that information will be transferred here. Keep checking back! And have a great day!