Friday, October 16, 2009

Rob Zombie and the Myth of the Burning Times....

Okay, one of the minor subplots in the Coven of Bast sourcebook is how the Covenant, and especially the Bastian factions feel about the Salem Witch Trials. In addition to talking about future history, I want to say something about how the Salem Witch Trials are viewed in contemporary pop culture, and how modern neo-pagans have appropriated the witch trials and "Burning Times" meme for their own end... basically I think we do (and should) use the Witch Trials as political capital.

Every time a pagan political figure is debating a Christian politician, he or she should force the opponent to either defend or apologize for the old crimes, and while I can't realistically buy into the huge numbers of millions of slaughtered pagans of some adherents of the Burning Times idea, that's something I would never, ever say in a debate. Of course, that means that neo-pagans as a people need to get more commentators, debaters and ideologues (especially well educated, articulate and damn angry ones) out into the media to counter and debate with douche-nozzles like Glenn Beck and his kind, but that's another issue, for another day and an

It's a myth, sure, but it's a good myth. It makes neo-pagans the oppressed heroes of a history specifically written to screw 'em over. It makes us the last hope of a destroyed culture. Instead of being moody goth kids reading crap like Silver Ravenwolf (seriously, how the fuck can you take seriously a ideologue/theologian who basically named herself after a D&D character?) we're the Last Starfighter, but instead of weird space-lizards wanting to kill us for our beliefs, we're up against modern Christian America. Plus, bringing up things like Salem and the Burning Times supports the argument that Christianity is a hate-filled, dangerous religion.

So it's a good meme, and a better cultural myth. And it's something I really want to explore in a more articulate way through the game. Anyway, I've always been a horror movie fan, so the trope of the pagan avenger, risen from the ground of Salem to kick a little monothiestic ass is a good one. I wrote the Neo-Witch Avenger advanced class (for the Skortched Urf Studios "Advanced Class Update" line) after watching Silent Hill and Blair Witch II: Book of Shadows back to back. Anyway, I'm always rooting for the risen pagan revenant in those movies, no matter how horrific her vengeance is. It's cathartic for me, I guess in both a political and purely personal sense.

That said, I found a couple of absolutely kick ass videos on YouTube. Hopefully, I can figure out how to embed the little fuckers here, or at least you can follow the link and get a nice, viscerally visual explanation of the whole concept of grim, pagan vengeance, that whole feel of "I will have justice, and I don't care if the entire world has to burn for it." Anyway, very cool.

Talk to you later,

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