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The Lame Monkey Manifesto was an undergound newspaper at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville from 1986 to 1990. It provided a much needed balance to offset the administration-controlled student paper: The Daily Beacon. It pioneered university instructor evaluations, and helped students with landlord evaluations and humor.

(This is a stub article and has not yet been completed. I have a ton of material which needs to be scanned and organized, and will eventually be posted.)

My name is Christopher Gray and I was the founder, editor, copywriter, typesetter, paste-up artist, salesman and you-name-it of The Lame Monkey Manifesto. I had a real hard time delegating and this is why the paper eventually closed: I had always wanted to establish it as an instituition, but never really figured out how to do that. We had some invaluable volunteers who by persistence, hook, and crook were able to (thankfully!) take control of some of the features. Tip of the hat to Robert Bowers and Lance Bledscoe for taking over instructor evaluations, and for Ian Blackburn who served a stint as editor and publisher, and for many many others who I hope to mention.


Instructor Evaluations

One of the most popular features of The Lame Monkey was Instructor Evaluations. At the end of each quarter, we'd distribute forms asking for students to grade their instructors, and the results would be published in the next edition of the paper in time for registration. The grading scale was iconic, depicted by an atomic bomb blast, the finger, scales, sex, and beer. Baldwin Lee, a favorite art photography prof of both myself and Paul Mozingo always got a martini because he didn't drink beer.

The university eventually established its own evaluation system. It is probably more statistically accurate, but certainly less colorful.

Creation and Distribution

apple_pieThe Lame Monkey was a child of the desktop publishing revolution. I was working as a typesetter at Universal Printing because I knew how to use a Macintosh, which was a new thing. Universal Printing was owned by Rand Cabus, who let me use the facilities in exchange for an ad in each issue. This helped keeps costs down to only what it cost to pay the press run.

It was produced on a Macintosh in Aldus Pagemaker, each page was printed on two 8.5x11" pages which were then pasted together to form a tabloid sized page (11x17") on pasteboard. Since it was easier easier and faster to physically paste-up artwork than to deal with computer limitations of the era, the pasteboard "flats" were what I delivered to the printing company to shoot to plate and print.

The Lame Monkey was printed on the cheapest paper the web press would take, to hold down costs. Press runs ran between xxxx and xxx.

As with much of the free material at the university, I placed stacks in dorm lobbies, libraries, student lounges, and at the locations of advertisers around campus. It was something to have my car filled from top to bottom with stacks of papers and I usually dropped half the stacks the first day, then supplemented them with the remainder over the course of a week.

The Lame Monkey was always able to pay for itself, if you exclude all the free labor. This was the goal.


The Lame Monkey Manifesto was published from 1987 to 1990 with a total of 23 issues.

Before the Monkey

I never really planned on attending The University of Tennessee. I grew up in Clinton, TN and was looking to escape to somewhere with more opportunity. I wanted to study film at NYU, secured a hefty scholarship there, but could not make up the difference. UTK was my last safety school and the only one I could afford. It was a party school, but because of it's size there were a lot of resources, and I was going to make my best use of them. The Monkey came to be as the result of a lot of failed enterprises and because I was bored.

I couldn't study film making, so I learned video and print on my own. I eventually became a College Scholar so I could study whatever I wanted.

Underground publishing has a long tradition, but when I started at the University of Tennessee as a freshman in fall of 1984, I was not aware of any.


LMM_cover_1-1Lame Monkey 1-1
Apathy Poll Taken At UTK - No One Responds
January 5, 1987
12 Pages
First Issue

  • The Drop/ Add Checklist
  • Tribal Rituals of UT Women
  • The Restaurant from Hell
  • Dieclectics: Nicaragua, Now or Never?
  • Olin the Adventurer

The cover has "blah blah" all over except in one place where it says "fish hats". I was visiting a friend in New York City and at a gallery opening I saw a lady with a ceramic fish curved from her chin to atop her head. I had never seen anything like it, thought it was amazing, but when she exited the elevator a jaded older lady commented in a perfect snobby voice: "those fish hats, they're everywhere!". Well, that got them on the cover of the Monkey too.19880222-Knoxville-Journal-

This "Drop and Add Checklist" introduced the first instructor evaluations ever to occur at UTK. Since we needed evaluations from as many students as possible, and since The Lame Monkey was a work in-progress and would take too long to explain, I made a form for a fake poling company (the fake logo appears at the top of page 7). It looked official enough to get students to willingly fill out the eval forms. Paul, I and some friends with clipboards spent several days in the A&A building stopping all passersby, getting as many evaluations as we could.

The first issue was released on registration day, when students gathered at Stokley Athletic Center to stand in line, pay their tuition, and try to work out their schedule. I rented a monkey suit which Paul Mozingo and Lance Greene ran around in during registration to generate buzz, and which became a prop for the cover of issue #2.

The response to the first issue was varied. It was a hit among students, but was dismissed as as one-off by administration. The Knoxville Journal ran an article about me and the paper.

LMM_cover_1-2Lame Monkey 1-2
Enter The Lame Monkey Chair of Excellence Sweepstakes
January 29, 1987
12 Pages
Issue #2

  • The Federal Budget
  • Biggest Erection on Campus
  • Chair of Excellence Sweepstakes
  • Pyramids on Mars
  • The Art of Lying
  • JIT
  • The Restaurant from Hell

LMM_cover_1-3Lame Monkey 1-3
Chair of Excellence Sweepstakes Competition Thickens
March 12, 1987
12 Pages
Issue #3

  • Bo Ferger: A Candid Interview
  • JIT
  • UT Administrator Picture Puzzle
  • A Drug Free America
  • God and the Bank Draft of Doom
  • The Restaurant from Hell

LMM_cover_1-4Lame Monkey 1-4
Bull Flies at UTK
March 26, 1987
8 Pages
Issue #4

  • The Drop/ Add Checklist
  • JIT
  • Hightopics
  • UT Administrator Puzzle

LMM_cover_1-5Lame Monkey 1-5
Lame Monkey Forces Ed Boling Resignation
September 21, 1987
16 Pages
Issue #5

  • Instructor Evaluations
  • JIT
  • UT Bored Game
  • Ed Boling Scrapbook
  • Typhoid Mary & The Sponge Pagoda

LMM_cover_1-6Lame Monkey 1-6
Ron Ruelle Wins Chair of Excellence Sweepetsakes
November 23, 1987
12 Pages
Issue #6

  • God's Little Petri Dish
  • JIT
  • How to Carve Your Monkey
  • Win a Date With Johnny Majors
  • Cock Roaches of Hell House
  • The Restaurant from Hell

A winner is finally selected for the Chair of Excellence Sweepstakes, a running joke since issue #2.

LMM_cover_2-7Lame Monkey 2-7
Happy New Year, Gimpy
January 4, 1988
12 Pages
Issue #7

  • Who's Got the Logic
  • Instructor Evaluations Fall 1987
  • Win a Date With Johnny Majors
  • The Manifesto

LMM_cover_2-8Lame Monkey 2-8
Welcome, Lamar Alexander: We challenge you to make a difference
March 21, 1988
12 Pages
Issue #8

  • Special: Men's Athletics: Who Passes the Buck?
  • Instructor Evaluations Winter 1988
  • The Judybats: A Groupie's Interview
  • Very Little Advertising

LMM_cover_2-9Lame Monkey 2-9
Gimpy Shot Dead By Sniper
January 4, 1988
8 Pages
Issue #9

  • Your Own UT Diploma
  • JIT
  • My Date With Johnny Majors
  • A Slap in the Faith

Volunteer_Watchdog_cover.pngThe Volunteer Watchdog
January 4, 1988
4 Pages

This is not a Lame Monkey, but I got caught up in a student government campaign by Acacia, the fraternity which took on the UT Administration when a dispute resulted in the seizing of their house, forcing them to purchase their own. It seemed a good idea at the time.

LMM_cover_2-10Lame Monkey 2-10
The Lame Monkey Returns
August 22, 1988
12 Pages
Issue #10

  • Drop & Add Checklist
  • The Last Days of Jack Reese
  • Very Little Advertising

I was leaving to go on an extended backpacking tour of europe with no solid plans to return, and passed the publisher hat to Ian Blackburn.

LMM_cover_2-11Lame Monkey 2-11
Special Post End-of-the-World Issue
October 1, 1988
8 Pages
Issue #11

  • Doug Dickey for UT President
  • The McDonald's Manners Sanatorium
  • Why Anarchy Can't Work

LMM_cover_2-13Lame Monkey 2-13
Peace on Earth
December 7, 1988
8 Pages
Issue #13

LMM_cover_3-14Lame Monkey 3-14
Many Happy Returns, Gimpy: The Lame Monkey Turns Two
January 9, 1989
16 Pages
Issue #14

  • Contest Extravaganza #4
  • More Evals Than Ever
  • The Color Parade

LMM_cover_3-15Lame Monkey 3-15
Instructor Evaluations Rock The World: An Irate Professor Speaks Out
February 20, 1989
8 Pages
Issue #15

  • New Fiction
  • Monkey Poetry
  • UT Gay Support Group
  • Pro-Choice Stencil
  • A New Look for the Monkey
  • ... and a Couple of Strange Poems sent to us from NY

LMM_cover_3-16Lame Monkey 3-16
For You Safety, Please Study This Cover
March 20, 1989
8 Pages
Issue #16

LMM_cover_3-17Lame Monkey 3-17
April 25, 1989
20 Pages
Issue #17

LMM_cover_3-18Lame Monkey 3-18
After Three Days He Rose From the Grave
August 31, 1989
8 Pages
Issue #18

LMM_cover_3-19Lame Monkey 3-19
Exclusive Interview with Lamar Salamander
October 26, 1989
12 Pages
Issue #19

  • Activism in 1989: A Knoxville Area Guide
  • Fred Hampton Remembered
  • Nothing Else Better
  • BBS Listing
  • and more...

LMM_cover_4-20Lame Monkey 4-20
Lame Monkey Begins Its 4th Prehensile Year
January 8, 1990
12 Pages
Issue #20

LMM_cover_4-21Lame Monkey 4-21
Drugs, Politics and Sex: Three Deadly Sins?
March 26, 1990
8 Pages
Issue #21

LMM_cover_4-22Lame Monkey 4-22
Advertising and Greed
August 20, 1990
32 Pages
Issue #22

LMM_cover_5-23Lame Monkey 5-23
The Drums of an Unwanted War
January 7, 1991
8 Pages
Final Issue #23

  • Fall Semester Instructor Evaluations
  • Yusef And The Christian Yuppies
  • It It Were Meaningless
  • An Invitation To Get Involved

The Gulf War had broken out.

dobbsI did not enjoy being famous. At parties I was always introduced as The Monkey Man, which was always followed by basically the same conversation, which got old very quickly. This culminated in death threats made to my answering machine for an comic strip I ran entitled "Clowns On The Run". I eventually found out these messages were made by a six foot ex-military abusive-to-girlfriend-at-parties nutjob who lived in Ft. Sanders known as Bonehead. Preferring a lower profile, I started publishing under the name Rev. Dr. Ne0n Fleshbiscuit, my church name in the Church of the SubGenius.