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Tom Feston, Runaway Mogul
Joe Hagan • Men's Journal
A Liberian road trip with the creator of MTV, Ralph Reed and a reformed cannibal named General Butt Naked.
A congregation of about 20 teenage boys -- an assortment of reformed killers and drug addicts -- sits on plastic chairs and listens raptly as the man in a baseball cap and brown military shirt sleeves confesses to leading a militia of drug-fueled child soldiers to kill a purported 20,000 people during a horrific period of unrest in the 1980s and '90s, and to eating children from his own tribe to gain spiritual favor in battle. Until he found Jesus in a burst of white light -- shortly after hacking his last victim to death -- he merely saw it as part of the job description. "Every time I do this sacrifice," he says, "the battle immediately turns against the enemy. Or turns in favor of us. They would start running."
He also believed nudity was his armor against enemy bullets -- thus his wartime moniker, General Butt Naked.
The three white Americans sitting alongside Butt Naked are duly sobered by the testimony. And in the raw reality of the moment, there is the hanging question of why their leader, Tom Freston, the spike-haired media mogul who helped create MTV and once ran the film and TV company Viacom, has brought them here, to a bleak neighborhood in a failed and lawless state, to meet a murderer.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Sun Myung Moon's Lost Eco-Utopia
Monte Reel • Outside
In search of Sun Myung Moon's "ideal city," hidden somewhere deep in the Paraguayan Jungle.
More than a decade ago, Moon told some members of his church that he wanted them to lay the foundation for a new Garden of Eden in one of the least hospitable landscapes on the planet -- northern Paraguay.
Moon was notorious for attention-grabbing gestures: conducting mass weddings in Madison Square Garden, taking out full-page ads in major American newspapers to support Richard Nixon during Watergate, spending 13 months in federal prison for tax fraud and conspiracy in the early ‘80s. But during the final years of his life, his Eden-building project kept chugging along well out of the public eye, germinating largely unseen in this remote wilderness of mud.
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images