The Rolling Stone Profile of Marc Cronenburg – Part 2

NOTE: This is NOT a real Rolling Stone interview.  In the original draft of my novel, Angel of Mercy, protagonist Matthew Cruze was a freelance writer for Rolling Stone Magazine.  As the story progressed, it made sense to take Cruze down a different career path.  He became an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times.  That left me with 20-some pages of what I thought was great background on antagonist Marc Cronenburg, the reality TV producer who creates the show, Angel of Mercy, written in the style of a Rolling Stone article, that I couldn’t use in the book.

So, I thought it would be fun to share this with you.  This is part one of the mock Rolling Stone article written by Matthew Cruze entitled: When Reality Television Becomes Real Life: How a renegade talent agent, a dedicated cancer doctor, and a notorious Los Angeles gang leader became the new Kings of Reality TV

If you missed reading part 1, click here to read it now.

When Reality Television Becomes Real Life

How a Hollywood super producer, a dedicated cancer doctor, and a notorious Los Angeles gang leader became the new Kings of Reality TV

By Matthew Cruze

Reprinted with permission from Rolling Stone Magazine (not really)

Rolling Stone Interview With Marc Cronenburg

Young George Jefferson Lamont Sanford Fisher hated his name and couldn’t understand why his mother, who claimed to love him above all her other twelve children, would hang such a heavy weight around his skinny neck.

His father — or the man his mother claimed was his father – was a Haitian garbage truck driver named Louis Charles Pierre-Paul, who had a wife and eight legitimate kids across town.  Pierre-Paul told the boy he was so named because his mother was a “flaky bitch” who spent too much time in front of the television watching reruns of old TV shows.

His father said she had branded the boy with the black equivalent of a Boy Named Sue; what that meant the boy had no idea.

“It’s a fuckin’ cross you gots to bear,” his father told him during one of their infrequent visits, leaning against the garbage truck in the early morning heat, passing a fat joint back and forth even though the boy was only ten-years-old.

“But it’ll make you strong.  Make you learn to fight, learn to defend yourself, don’t take no shit from nobody who gives you shit about your name.  Someday you be thanking the crazy bitch for naming you that shit.  It’ll make a man out of you.”

His father was right.  Growing up on the mean streets of south-central Los Angeles young Fisher fought hard and fought often and eventually fought well because his name was a constant source of aggravation and agitation.  He was never the largest one in the fight, nor the strongest or the toughest or the least bloodied, but he was always the last to stop swinging, kicking, scratching, cutting, and biting.

He didn’t win all the fights, but he usually won the respect of his opponent and by the time he was a 15-year-old high school dropout hanging on the street corners and riding in the backs of gang cars and making money as a dope mule for the Black Fist gang there were very few on the street who didn’t know the boy now known as Crazy Mofo.

The name was given to him by Mustafa Max himself, the notorious leader of the Black Fist, a man twice Fisher’s size and three times his age after a particularly brutal battle that left young Fisher broken and bloodied and blinded by his own swollen eyes.  He couldn’t see and could barely stand, but the boy kept coming at his opponent.

“Boy, you one crazy mutha fucka,” the older man reportedly said.  He spun around to address the gangsters circled around them and held out his arms.  “Y’all ever seen a crazier mofo than this?”

And with those words the fight was over.  The man who had been beating the living hell out Fisher a few minutes before picked him up and took him in and started molding him into the man who would one day replace him as leader of the gang.

The name his mother had given him was never spoken again to his face or behind his back by anyone except his mother, who called him different names on different days.  To speak his given name could mean an immediate death sentence to the one who dared to utter the words.  He would later say that George Jefferson Lamont Sanford Fisher burned down that night and Crazy Mofo rose from his ashes.

By the age of twenty-five Fisher was a battle-hardened veteran of the gang wars who had killed more than a dozen men and maimed a few dozen more.  His favorite method of dispatching an opponent to the great beyond was by shoving a 10” ice pick in his victim’s the ear.  He called it “shish-kabobbin”.

He bragged that he had killed enough black men to form both sides of the starting line at the Super Bowl and enough peckerwood white boys to stack ‘em up three high and four wide in the bed of a redneck’s pickup truck.

One of those he kabobbed was Mustafa Max, the man who brought him into the gang ten years earlier and taught him how to command respect from his crew and instill fear in his enemies and rob, rape, maim, and kill without hesitation or regret.

Max treated the kid like a son, but business was business, dog-eat-dog, so he couldn’t have been too surprised when his adopted son shoved the ice pick deep in his ear.

“I hated to do it,” Mofo would later say on his A&E Biography.  “He was like a father to me, you know, but the mother fucker was in my way.  For me to move on up, he had to move on out.  That’s why I’ll never run for president.  There ain’t nowhere to go but down.  End of story, bitch.”

He ruled with a heavy fist over one of the most-feared gangs in southern California; a gang known for extortion, blackmail, murder, drug manufacturing and distribution, prostitution, carjacking, contract killing, and a variety of other crimes of various severity.

The authorities had tried to catch and convict Fisher nee Crazy Mofo for years, but had never gathered enough evidence to issue as much as a traffic ticket.  Those willing to testify against him always seemed to develop amnesia or lose a family member or break a limb in a mysterious fall or simply disappear.

One little known fact about Crazy Mofo – at least not known beyond his insulated inner circle – was that he was a rabid fan of reality TV.  He watched it constantly, demanding that a television be on in every room wherever he happened to be.

He loved the cop shows and prison shows and teenage baby mama shows (which he called white bitch research) and especially the Real Housewives of Oakland because he claimed to have had a threesome with two of the women on the show during a visit to his old home town the summer before.

The one thing Crazy Mofo wanted more than anything, but couldn’t buy or extort or steal or kill his way into, was his own reality TV show.  He knew it was an idea befitting his name.  Wasn’t no way he could put his shit on television; mother fuckin’ cameras following him around all night long filming everything him and his boys was in to.  Be like starring in surveillance video for the mother fuckin’ cops.

Then it hit him one day as he watched a crime show featuring surveillance video of three heavily-armed, masked men invading a convenience store and savagely beating the employees before emptying the cash register and making a clean getaway.  The cops had no idea who the masked men were or how to find them.  It was a light bulb moment for Crazy Mofo.

The following Monday morning Crazy Mofo and an entourage of half dozen or so members of the Black Fist, all dressed in head-to-toe black and looking none-too-happy to be up before noon, were camped out in the lobby of the Medusa Studios executive offices when Marc Cronenburg arrived.  Cronenburg was the producer of True Crime Videos, Blunders and Bloopers, the program that caught Crazy Mofo’s eye a few days before.

Cronenburg was cool as a cucumber as the pretty young receptionist told him that a Mr. Mofo and associates would like a moment of his time to discuss an idea for a new reality television show.

Rather than call the cops – a call that probably would have never gone through given the brood of large black men watching from just across the room – Cronenburg calmly invited Mr. Mofo and his associates up to a third floor conference room to have a seat and pitch their idea.

At that moment a very odd, very profitable partnership was born.  Together Cronenburg and Crazy Mofo gave birth to a new type of reality show; one seen from the other side of the law featuring the bad guys as heroes and their exploits as quests of bravery and honor.

Cronenburg would later say Crazy Mofo, “Represented the rise of the anti-hero; the quintessential dark side in us all.”  He was the Tony Soprano of the new age.  And with that, VR-TV was born.

Cronenburg found, hired, and assigned the most battle-hardened producer, camera man and sound crew he could find (media veterans fresh from covering the Afghan war) to follow Crazy Mofo and his gang around for a month and film their various activities.

In Cronenburg’s opinion what they captured was pure gold.  As he watched the raw footage he had to pinch himself.  He couldn’t believe his amazing good fortune.  It was Aaron Thibodaux all over again.

“I knew we had captured something very special,” Cronenburg said in an early profile of his partnership with Crazy Mofo in Penthouse Magazine.  “It was all there; the mayhem, the extortion, the manufacture and distribution of drugs, the prostitution, and the violence, lots and lots of wonderful violence.   I watched the raw footage with a huge erection.  I knew we couldn’t show everything, of course, but what we could show would make for amazing TV.”

Were there any rules, the Penthouse interviewer asked.  Any limitations on what could and could not be recorded for broadcast?

“We recorded everything, but we couldn’t use it all.  That first season we had two rules: they could do no harm to the public at large, meaning anyone not associated with the Black Fist or other individuals involved in criminal activities; and no one – gangbanger or not – could be seriously injured or killed on film.  Of course that would change in season two, but for the first season we kept things tightly reined in, believe it or not.”

To hide their identities Crazy Mofo and his soldiers wore rubber masks that looked like politicians and celebrities of the day (Crazy Mofo wore Barak Obama, of course).  They all wore black hoodies and black gloves to cover identifiable tattoos and scars, but no one was fooled because Crazy Mofo’s right-hand man, a three-hundred-pound behemoth with a Mike Tyson voice called T-Nuke had a habit of saying “Amen tuh dat!” to everything his boss said.

The expression, and T-Nuke’s smiling face-sans-mask, would eventually be printed on thousands of t-shirts sold through the show’s website and distribution deals with stores like Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Target, Urban Outfitters, and The Gap.

Cronenburg packaged three 42-minute episodes of the show and sent demo DVDs to every network and cable channel executive worthy of his time.  In an unprecedented move he put the show up for auction and after a fierce bidding war Medusa Studios signed the largest distribution deal in the history of television and the show, aptly titled Real Boys in the Hood, debuted on Friday, September 7th at 9 p.m. on Spike TV.  The show was a megahit from day one, setting a record for the highest rating for a debut show in the history of the genre.

By the end of the first season Crazy Mofo and the boys had removed their masks and were filmed free of disguises and without voice distortion and became the talk of the industry.

Oddly enough, the authorities didn’t seem too concerned with investigating the criminal activity shown every week.  Perhaps they didn’t believe the crimes were real (most reality shows are staged to some degree) or didn’t care as long as the criminals committed crimes only against other criminals and not on the public.

Or maybe it was because Marc Cronenburg used his considerable clout to keep his star free from criminal prosecution.  Whatever the reason, Real Boys became cable’s number one show after just two episodes and television’s number one show by the end of the first season, serving up a smorgasbord of menace and mayhem every week for a hungry audience to devour.

The Real Boys marathon, which ran for twenty-four straight hours one weekend during the show’s off-season, gave Spike its highest ratings in the history of the network.

Needless to say, Real Boys reruns were shown daily on the network from that week on and there was talk of a live Real Boys broadcast to go head-to-head with the Super Bowl at the end of the year, which was cool with Crazy Mofo so long as his beloved Raiders weren’t playing.

It was midway during the second season that television – reality or otherwise – changed forever.  To test the ratings potential of a live broadcast, Spike executives asked Cronenburg if his star would be willing to be filmed live, without the benefit of retakes (yes, there are retakes in reality television) and the heavy editing that came with every regular episode.

I’m sure at some point someone, either network executives or maybe Cronenburg himself, must have wondered if putting Crazy Mofo and the boys on live TV was even a good idea, given Mofo’s erratic mood swings and a tendency toward sudden violent outbursts that had resulted in several scenes of assaults so brutal they could not be shown to the public during the first season.

Surely someone must have asked, “What if this guy does something really fucking crazy while the whole world watches live?  What if he hurts or kills someone or does something the police can’t ignore and Cronenburg can’t fix?  What then?”  Even with a twenty-second delay the liability could be huge; but so too could be the payoff.  The potential for profits and the chance to break new ground far outweighed anyone’s concerns that something could go horribly wrong on live TV.

If the question was ever asked, no one bothered to answer it.   Perhaps Cronenburg hoped his star would do something shocking and insane.  How else could he test just how much the viewing audience was willing to bear; how far he could push the envelope without ripping right through it?

Rumor had it that there was already a movie version of Real Boys in work, one that would most certainly garner an NC-17 rating and that was just fine with Cronenburg.  He wasn’t going to let some stupid ratings board dictate the kind of movie he could make.

The ratings were bullshit anyway he told shock jock Howard Stern when he was on Stern’s Sirius radio show with Crazy Mofo to promote the second season of the show.

“If teenagers want to see an NC-17 movie they’ll figure out how to do it,” he told Stern.  “If they can’t sneak into the movie they can just buy the DVD.  Or better still, do both.”

So perhaps it was a gamble worth taking to see just how severe the backlash would or would not be and how high the ratings might or might not go.  Either way his cash registers would ring.  Cronenburg told the network he’d make the live broadcast happen.

High on primo heroin, his own ego, and the promise of a seven-figure paycheck, Crazy Mofo agreed to the live broadcast, scheduled for October 29th, the date of his 30th birthday.

A 50,000 square foot warehouse on the outskirts of Oakland was converted to a posh nightclub for the event.  Thousands of invitations went out to a variety of guests, including a few hundred rap and hip-hop artists, television executives and music moguls, three hundred of Mofo’s “boys and bitches” and lots of Mofo’s celebrity friends (the invitation list included Johnny Depp, Leo Dicaprio, Britney Spears, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Cameron Diaz, and dozens of other celebs, most of whom claimed not to be acquainted with the birthday boy when asked by the press).

Every player in the NFL and NBA got an invitation, but not the NHL or MBL (Crazy hated hockey and called baseball a “pussy sport”).  Every Victoria’s Secret model got an invitation, as did a select list of Playboy and Penthouse pets.  Beyonce was reportedly going to sing Happy Birthday ala Marilyn Monroe to close out the two hour show.  It was promoted to be the celebrity social event of the season.

Security was provided by a hundred Black Fist members; every one paid well-above scale to provide the service.  Mofo’s favorite rapper and close friend Snoop Dog was scheduled to host the event.

The night came with great fanfare and great expectations (Spike spent more money promoting the live event than it had spent the previous two years promoting all its shows combined) as thousands of people milled about the crowded warehouse with drinks and cigarettes in hand, smiling for the photographers and waving at the TV cameras, ready to party the night away.

It was at twenty-three minutes into the broadcast, just after the first commercial break (Cadillac bought out the entire show) that one of the Black Fists, a low-level thug named Rodney Ray Rickey aka Triple R, hoping to achieve his own notoriety during the live feed, pulled two Mac-10 automatic pistols from beneath his jacket and started firing above the heads of the crowd.

The shots could barely be heard above the thump of the music.  It took several minutes for party-goers, producers, and security to realize there was a man walking among them firing shots into the air.

When the realization hit, chaos ensued.  Revelers began screaming and shoving and pushing and running over each other to get away as Rickey made his way through the crowd, firing at the high ceiling as he came.

Crazy Mofo was at the far end of the warehouse, holding court on a large stage that had been set up to resemble the old Tonight Show set (Crazy’s mom was an ardent Johnny Carson fan, but hated Jay Leno).

Crazy was behind the desk, his guests taking turns on a long couch wishing him well.  His sidekick T-Nuke sat at the opposite end of the couch in a red tux tailored especially for his giant frame.  Snoop Dog, Ice T, Lebron James, and one of the Kardashian sisters were on the couch waiting their turn to pay homage when Rodney Ray Rickey emerged from the crowd with a pistol in each hand.

Crazy Mofo almost looked bored, peering over his Oakley sunglasses, watching the gun man come.  The overhead boom microphone picked up Crazy Mofo’s voice when he saw the guns pointing in the direction of his guests.

He snapped his fingers at T-Nuke and said, “Nuke, Dog, get them off the stage.”  As T-Nuke and Snoop Dog hustled everyone off stage Crazy Mofo took off his shades and set them on the desk, then calmly got up and walked around the desk and sat back against it.

He folded his arms across his chest and waited for Rickey to approach.  His demeanor would later spark debate that the whole thing was staged, just a publicity stunt gone awry, but an intensive investigation would fail to prove the suspicion true.   Crazy Mofo was just one cool dude.

My old pal Dr. Moss-Moseley would later write in the Atlanta Constitution that “Mr. Mofo’s actions were not unusual given the situation and his own growing sense of self worth.

He was like Wyatt Earp facing down the Clantons at the OK Corral; like Leonidas facing the Persians at Thermopylae.  He considered himself to be invincible, bulletproof, his world impenetrable.  He was wrapped in the armor of his own ego.  It was all a part of becoming the legend he wanted to be.”

For the live broadcast there were twenty five roving cameras and several dozen fixed cameras scattered about the warehouse.  There was not an inch of the place that wasn’t being recorded.  As the cameras rolled Rickey came to within ten feet of the stage and steadied his weapons in Crazy’s direction and pulled both triggers.

For a moment bullets ripped into the desk on both sides of Crazy Mofo.  He didn’t flinch.  Then, as abruptly as it started, the shooting stopped.  Both of Rickey’s pistols were empty.  The camera captured Rickey’s face as he held up the pistols and looked at them for a moment, realizing his ammunition was spent.  Then his eyes drifted to the stage to meet Crazy Mofo’s.

Crazy Mofo flashed his famous gold-plated grin as his arms unfolded from across his chest.  In each hand was a nickel-plated, semi-automatic pistol, a matching set of Kimber Ultra Carry 1911’s given to him by the rapper 50 Cent for his birthday, pulled from shoulder holsters hanging beneath his arms.  As 25 million households watched Crazy Mofo pumped a dozen well-placed .45 caliber slugs into the center of Rodney Ray Rickey’s chest and face.

Cameras filmed from all angles as Rickey was shaken like a ragdoll from the shots and slammed backward over several tables covered with drinks.   The slow motion replay of the shooting would become YouTube’s most-viewed clip in the history of the service.

Dozens of Black Fist security guards descended on Rickey even though he was dead before he hit the ground.  Crazy Mofo hoisted himself up on the desk and calmly blew the smoke from the barrels of his pistols and set them on the desk where the police could retrieve them.  T-Nuke could be heard off-camera yelling, “Amen, motha fucka!  Amen.”  Crazy Mofo smiled into the nearest camera.  His fingers gave a sideways peace sign and he said, “We’ll back after this message from Cadillac.  Love me some Escalades, yo.  Peace,”

Nearly a hundred uniformed police officers and several dozen SWAT cops who had been on standby outside the warehouse (just in case things got out of hand, the chief would later say) raided the warehouse and ordered everyone – Black Fisters, celebrities, athletes, super models, bartenders, waitresses, production crew, boys and bitches all – down on the floor until things could be sorted out.  Hours later, when everyone was finally cleared to leave it was the Los Angeles police department that found itself mired in controversy, not the gang leader who had just shot a man to death on live TV.

“Keeping us in there for three hours was bullshit,” hip-hop star Sweet T told the crowd of reporters gathered behind the police line a block up the street.   “What the cops did was police brutality.  The dude was already down.  Crazy’s boys had the situation under control.  The cops came in with their guns out, pushin’ all the black people to the ground, runnin’ over us, screamin’ shit at us, calling us niggers and telling us they was gonna blow our black heads off.  This ain’t Ala-fuckin-bama in the sixties, yo.  This is all on the cops, man.  Somebody get Jesse Jackson on the phone.”

“The accusations of racism and brutality against this department and misconduct by the officers on the scene are completely without merit,” the beleaguered police chief said during a press conference the day after the shooting.  “We had an untenable situation there; over a thousand people in a dark warehouse with loud music blaring and reports of unidentified persons firing into the crowd.  My officers did what they had to do to get control of the situation and assess exactly who was a threat and who was not.  If that inconvenienced a few celebrities and party goers, then they have my apologies.”

The entire melee was broadcast live, without interruption, to tens of millions of TV sets and computer screens around the world.  An FCC investigation into why someone at Spike didn’t pull the plug when the shooting began or at the very least hit the delay button when bullets began tearing Rickey to shreds was launched, but no action was ever taken against the network or any member of the executive or production staff.  Spike issued an apology and promised that heads would roll, but I suspect that Spike executives were dancing behind the guy who wrote the apology, laughing and doing high fives.

Crazy was taken into custody (protective custody, the L.A.PD media rep called it).  Before Rickey’s body cooled to room temperature the media started speculating about charges the star might face.  The TV lawyers came out of the woodwork to give their opinions.  Was this a case of self defense or justifiable homicide or was it coldblooded murder, given that Rickey was clearly out of ammunition before Crazy shot him dead.   The police asked that question, as well, and the answer they received was classic Crazy Mofo.

“Why did I shoot the motherfucker?  Because it was my turn, bitch.”

He was released a couple of hours later to the cheers of hundreds of adoring fans who had gathered outside the police station to show their support.  They waved signs that read “Crazy For President” and “Let My Crazy Go”.  No charges were ever filed.

Crazy Mofo was hailed as a hero, the savior of hundreds of people who might have been hurt or killed had he not take out Rickey as he did.  Wherever he went he was mobbed by adoring fans.  To standing ovations he sat down with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Fallon to tell his story and offer colorful commentary to the video of Rickey being gunned down in slow motion.

He appeared on The View, The Talk, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and even brought Oprah out of retirement for a one-hour sit-down on the O network.  He made the covers of People, Us Weekly, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Maxim, Handgun Aficionado, and dozens of other magazines.  And when he sat down for the Barbara Walters Interview on Oscar night one question set the stage for Crazy Mofo’s future.

“Would you do it again?” Barbara asked, her voice hushed, as if she were interviewing him from a church rather than the Malibu beach house he shared with T-Nuke and a number of his choicest bitches.  “If the situation should ever arise again, could you be as calm and defend yourself the way you did?”

“Hell, yeah, I’d do it again,” Mofo said without hesitation, his thick lips peeling into a sneer over the gold teeth.  “Where’s the camera?”  He waved the camera in close and raised his sunglasses to reveal his dark eyes.  “And if any other motherfucker wants to mess with me, wants to take me on, try to take out the big gun, then come on down, motherfucker, and I’ll do to you what I done to that bitch.”

Barbara feigned shock, but she had to be smiling on the inside.  She was no fool.  Like Cronenburg, she knew great TV when she saw it.  She pretended to be taken aback.  She reached out and touched his hand.  “Don’t say that.  You’re just inviting trouble.  Aren’t you the least bit afraid?”

“Hell naw, I ain’t afraid of nobody, Bob-ra,” he said.  “This is like the Price is Right, baby.  You wanna piece of me just come on down.”  He pulled back the black leather jacket to reveal the twin Kimbers holstered beneath his arms.  “I will introduce you to my boys, Hans and Franz, yo.  We will pump you up!”  He clapped his hands and pointed his fingers at the camera and made shooting sounds and laughed and laughed and laughed.

“Do you think it’s OK for people to watch the video of the shooting?” Barbara asked.  “I mean, it’s horrific to watch, isn’t it.  Like something you’d see in a war.”

“We’re in a motherfuckin’ war, my sister,” he said.  “People should watch that video.  They should show it to their kids.  They should show it in the schools, yo.  My fans tell me that was the best motherfuckin’ TV they ever seen.  People beggin’ me to shoot another motherfucker and I do what my fans ax me to do.”

And with that the gauntlet was thrown and the consequences filmed for an eager audience to see.  Over the next two seasons there were a dozen attempts on Crazy Mofo’s life.  He now had a camera crew (who wore body armor to work, by the way) with him 24/7 so no attempt on his life would be missed.  And in every case the assailant was either shot dead or beat to death by Crazy Mofo himself as his Black Fist guards stood nearby doing crowd control.  In the case of one rival gang banger who managed to sneak past the guards and slice off a piece of Crazy’s ear while he was taking a piss at a urinal in a nightclub bathroom, the man was found the next day upside down in the handicapped stall with his ears cut off and his head crammed in the toilet bowl.  His ears were in his mouth.

And in every case the authorities half-heartedly investigated, viewed the video footage, questioned witnesses, and placed the blame on the assailants and pressed no charges against Crazy Mofo or his boys.  “This was clearly a case of self defense,” Allen Grumman, Crazy’s attorney would say at the press conference that followed each incident.  “The video offers rock-solid proof that my client was minding his own business when he was assaulted without provocation.  He did nothing to instigate the attack and even warned his assailant to back off.  He was protecting himself, end of story.”

And every week the ratings soared.

And every week Crazy Mofo’s star grew brighter.

And Marc Cronenburg and the network – and millions and millions of viewers – could not have been happier.

As of this writing there have been sixteen attempts on the life of Crazy Mofo; all filmed for posterity and profit.  He has thus far survived them all with little more than a small scar on his ear to show from it (the general consensus is that heroin will kill him before another human does).  But we all know how real life works, especially when it’s played out on the stage of reality television.  Real life is amplified, personalities pushed to the point of caricature.  People do crazy things they would never do if the cameras weren’t rolling.  Anything can happen and usually does.  I suspect it’s just a matter of time before Crazy Mofo learns that being the fastest gun in town ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Given the success of Real Boys in the Hood (and the possibility that its star might die at any time) Cronenburg has cranked out other violent reality shows like Ford cranked out Model Ts.   And each show is more sensational, more outrageous, and more dangerous to the participants and society than the last.

His latest is American Militia, a show that’s almost comical to watch until you realize that its stars aren’t putting on an act; they truly are fucking nuts, and thereby fucking dangerous.

Meet the Dumbrowski family; a group of Michigan survivalists who think that since the world is going to hell in a handbasket anyway, they might as well help it along a little by blowing up everything that’s not tied down.  They live in a military-style compound deep in the woods and build bombs out of metal pipes and fertilizer and ball bearings and roofing nails.  They practice their craft by blowing up junked cars and old barns and abandoned shacks that have hand-painted signs that say things like “free aborshuns ” and “juw basterd’s house” tacked on the front door.

And they do it all in the name of life, liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of good old fashioned entertainment.  Anyone with half a brain knows it’s only a matter of time before these idiots either blow themselves up or kill an innocent bystander with one of their stunts.  Or perhaps that is the hope.  Imagine the ratings if the entire Dumbrowski clan was blown to kingdom come and their deaths filmed in glorious HD.

Just when it seemed that reality television was destined to become a highly-profitable yet clichéd hodgepodge of bad guys versus worse guys and idiots versus themselves, enter Dr. Adrian Zoebel, a rich, handsome cancer surgeon from Los Angeles County; a man with a heart of gold and looks to match.

On April 12, 2012 Dr. Zoebel was arrested by Los Angeles police; accused of killing a dozen of his own patients in their hospital beds.

Marc Cronenburg couldn’t believe his good fortune as he watched Zoebel’s arrest on Fox News.

He was about to strike gold again.


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