"The 4 Pillars Of Obedience" from Antihero Skateboards

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The top graphic for each board displayed the original "The 4 Pillars Of Obedience" text that inspired the artwork on the bottom.

 
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Every board was packaged with AH stickers, postcards of all four graphics, and a zine containing the original "The 4 Pillars Of Obedience" text.

 
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The opening pages of "The 4 Pillars Of Obedience" zine.

 
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Design by Acid Invader.

 


Foreword From "The 4 Pillars Of Obedience" Zine

The documents now collectively referred to as “The 4 Pillars Of Obedience” have been a curiosity to scholars since they were first discovered nearly three decades ago among the detritus of a cargo ship that wrecked off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in the early 20th century. The pages, torn from what appears a ship’s log, were preserved in an empty rum bottle. Much of the text has been ravaged by time and conditions, but many of the pages are remarkably well preserved. Particularly those containing the list known as “The 4 Pillars,” which has been receiving a lot of attention lately due to its use of language that eerily foreshadows subjects and events today—information and technology that the anonymous author could not have known about nearly 100 years ago when it was written.

The author sometimes refers to himself as the Captain of the cargo ship, and at other times a prisoner who has been exiled to a life at sea due to madness, or crime, or both. The author endearingly calls his ship/prison “my little Narrenschif” (German for “Ship Of Fools”). We know very little about the cargo ship other than that the author says it was in the business of trafficking a wild parade of inhabitants, all exhibiting various states of mental illness, up and down the New England coastline. It’s unclear whether his use of the term “fools” for his shipmates was meant pejoratively or complimentary as he alternates in this opinion throughout his writings.

Most of the text is on the subject of a bizarre “authoritarian utopia” where everyone blissfully does as they’re told and welcomes their oppression. “The 4 Pillars” list seems to function as an organizing principle for this “imaginary” society. The four pillars (School, Church, Work, and Law) are like masts borne by four different boats, each with its own set of commandments, laws, and edicts. Some have argued that they are meant to be taken literally as a code of conduct onboard the “little Narrenschif,” which itself may have had multiple personalities and functioned in some capacity as all four water vessels listed: a rowboat, an ark, a tugboat, and a battleship. The list may have been a set of rules—a very colorful set of rules—designed to appeal to the cacophonic language of the insane crew that was housed on this floating asylum.

The majority of scholars, however, tend to agree that the author meant for the list to be a sarcastic condemnation directed at New England high society, specifically his persecutors (whether real or imagined) who sentenced him to “life as castaway.”

“Those who have dropped anchor ‘pon the Lande,” the author writes in one fragment, “they are the Mad.”

He continues, in his rambling style, to belittle those who lash themselves to the mast of Reality (“Patriots,” as he calls them), who go to work, who worship “GOTT,” who obey the law, and do as they’re told, they are the ones that are truly insane. The author, on the other hand, along with his maniacal cast that disappoints him more often than not, is a little ship of fools, adrift at sea, rolling endlessly upon the waves, they are the ones that are free and who have not betrayed their Divine origin.

Before we proceed with further commentary on the scant fragments of remaining text, let us first turn our attention to the best preserved pages that contain the very peculiar list known as, “The 4 Pillars Of Obedience”:

 
The author endearingly calls his ship/prison ‘my little Narrenschif’ (German for ‘Ship Of Fools’).