one girl’s perspective on life, neopaganism, veganism, politics, books, films, and… stuff.

Posts tagged ‘news’

Apologies!

Sorry to one and all that I’ve once again been so slack with updating. I’ve just gotten over a cough that lasted several months and culminated in fractured ribs! So I’ve been in a lot of pain and rather out of commission for the duration.

But I’m on the mend now, and have been baking up a storm, so watch this space!

Pagan News: Update on the K.L. Gifford Fiasco

So, it seems that my original thoughts on this whole “Kathy Lee Gifford called pagans ‘bad and nasty’ issue” were quite right. Following that post, the vast majority of hits to this blog (in the area of about 85-90%) were referred from various search engines using terms like “kathy lee pagan nasty” and “gifford comment pagans”. It seems a lot of people out there were very keen to be involved in this.

I didn’t raise this in my original post (OP), at the risk of being provocative or inflammatory, but seriously: what the hell is with the number of ‘Pagans’ (in inverted comments because I seriously question these people’s devotion) who actively seek out cases of “persecution”?! As someone pointed out in the comments on the OP, Gifford has previously insulted numerous religious groups and other minorities. Yes, she’s a bigot. But she’s also clearly, as I assessed previously, a total moron. Seriously, it’s ignorance, not “hate crimes” (and I really dislike the inappropriate use of the term “hate crimes”, which belittles the extreme prejudice felt by so many minorities; it seems to be most commonly used by the same people who espouse the “9 million Wiccans burned at the stake in Medieval Europe – Never Again the Burning Times(TM)!!!!!!”). There are plenty of instances of actual discrimination against Wiccans/NeoPagans out there already: see here, here, here, etc. And that’s not including actual hate crimes against supposed “witches” (most of whom are innocent and frequently Christian) in Africa, Indonesia, India, the Middle East, etc.

It was asked why I wrote a blog against the “outcry” of certain NeoPagans against Gifford, when I “could” have used my time (more efficiently? Debatable.) to write a letter, sign a petition, etc. against her actions. As I stated in my OP, I devote my time to letter-writing, petition-signing, etc., in real “battles”. You know, the issues that allow for the legal suppression of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, legalised oppression and discrimination. Not the moronic, ill-informed wafflings of some half-wit American. Furthermore, yes “pagan children” could have seen the show: in which case I wonder why they’re watching such tripe in the first place, and why the parents can’t then explain why that woman is wrong. And I don’t doubt that a lot of people that watch a show hosted by such a moron probably share her sentiments anyway, otherwise why would they watch it? Except to try and find something to be “outraged” over. As for her pretense of an apology? Just adds to the already significant evidence that the woman isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

I also found it rather sad, but highly poignant, that one commenter then felt the need to attack Christianity, and Christians as a whole, based on the stupidity of one pseudo-Christian. As another poster pointed out, NeoPagans don’t like being painted as “bad and nasty”, so don’t then tar all Christians with the same brush simply because of the stupidity of a few. And I refer to Gifford as a “pseudo-Christian” in the same sense that I refer to people so insecure and anti-Christian (for no reason other than the need to feel superior [and, contradictorily, persecuted]) as pseudo-Pagans: they have no understanding of what it means to really live your faith and work as a priest/ess and holy representative of their God(s).

It’s always been my stance that if you feel that your faith is threatened by stupid off-hand remarks by stupid people, well, then it’s not really much of a faith, is it? Or are we all just so desperate to “prove” how “persecuted” we are that we want to allow ourselves to become “outraged” at blatant stupidity? But then again, is it really representative of the NeoPagan community to say that we are bothered by this moron’s comments? I know that most of the intelligent, devoted NeoPagans with real faith out there aren’t particularly phased: like me, they’re worried more by increasing legitimisation of persecution and oppression of rights (and in general, not simply as they apply to NeoPagans).

Pagan News: Kathy Lee Gifford’s “Pagan Comment”

I found this interesting. In this video clip, Kathy Lee Gifford, a (minor? I’d never heard of her) American television show host/actress makes a comment about “The pagans, the nasty, bad, pagans…”

I have to say, the choice of language is a little… sad. As a NeoPagan, and a proud one at that, I’m agreeing with Jason Pitzl-Waters and saying that, personally, I’m really not offended, and not just because her manner of “insulting” us is by calling us “nasty” and “bad”. If I was, say, four, then yes, perhaps I would be offended. But as it stands, I have to say that I disagree with (and find a little sad) the reaction of the general NeoPagan community, who are stating that Gifford’s comment, clearly not thought out, amounts to “hate speech”.

Why are we offended by the remarks of a woman who is clearly of sub-par intellect? Are we really that desperate to “prove” our persecution by secular society that we find it necessary to voice (over)reactionary, knee-jerk responses? Why are we wasting time trying to protest this stupidity, when there are plenty of real cases of discrimination occurring every day?

I agree that all discriminatory comments, no matter how stupid they are, are unacceptable. That doesn’t mean I’m going to take to court the next idiot who tells me that my religion isn’t real/valid. There’s such a thing as choosing your battles (I can think of better ones, the case of legal and political discrimination in the UK for a start), and I really don’t think these calls to petition and letter-write in order to try and “make” Gifford apologise to NeoPagans are the best use of our time and effort. We’d be better off fighting the more pressing issues of legal, political or religious discrimination, like that mentioned above, or trying to better our image in the public eye by promoting ourselves as rational human beings, rather than reactionary extremists who fly off the handle at the first signs of criticism (as is true of all extremist factions of any religion). Ring talkback radio shows and point out that perhaps Gifford’s television coaches should provide her with a better vocabulary, since she’s clearly not going to bother learning anything about what she’s talking about.

In The News: “Mother Calls Self ‘White Nationalist’.”

Disclaimer: This post is largely a critique of the circumstantial nature of the “evidence” presented in this article, representative of the media’s general attack on non-maintstream beliefs and religious practices. If the woman is a Neo-Nazi (which is entirely possible), or inciting racial violence or hatred, I completely disagree with her principles. However, the clear flaws in the article show that we need to consider that we are not being given the full picture.

So, while browsing around on Witchvox, I noticed an interesting sounding article in the news sidebar: “Mother Calls Self ‘White Nationalist’.” I clicked, I read the original article, and I have a few issues I’d like to take up with the reporting.

1. The mother calls herself a “white nationalist”, but the news article infers that this means she is a Neo-Nazi, and is propogating hatred towards other races. In fact, the term “white nationalist” just refers to someone who believes that the human races (Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, etc) are distinct, and should remain as separate nations. There are frequently connotations of “white supremacy” attached to it (and, indeed, the beliefs frequently go hand in hand), but a white nationalist does not necessarily promote Neo-Nazism or racial violence, as the article suggests. The woman in question states that “I am tolerant of all people”, and then goes on to denounce her (ex?)husband as a bigot.

2. The interesting, and highly significant, mention of Odinism in the article is somewhat defamatory. The woman’s statement that “I’m just proud of who I am. My heritage comes from Northern Europe. I believe in evolution and science… I should never be ashamed of who I am and what I am” is a common theme in traditional/reconstructionist Pagan religions. However, the article seems to be simultaneously, and quite possibly erroneously, try to link racial pride with Neo-Nazism, and Odinism with Neo-Nazism.

3. The contentious issue of the swastika. Ok, well the article basically makes out that the swastika is only ever used in a Nazi context. Wrong. Commonly used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and… oh, yes. Odinism/Scandinavian traditional religions.

So, when you take into account that: a) this woman claims that she is merely proud of her racial heritage, b) in some respects explores this pride through her religion, Odinism, and c) her child was ‘wearing’ a symbol commonly found in the above religion… it seems entirely likely that this article is based on misunderstandings and fears of what should be personal (and private) beliefs. In this respect, I agree with the woman’s statement that “I think if this was a Star of David drawn on her arm, this wouldn’t be an issue. Or a cross…” And I think it’s a little depressing that the American Department of Child Protective Services is chasing down empty cases like this, where there is no non-circumstantial evidence (well, there’s not really any evidence), than dealing with the real issues out there.

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