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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 20,979,028  

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Reponses: 74

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Question of the Week: 11 - 10/16/2000

Hollywood Hype

Hollywood Hype through movies such as "The Craft" and now the "Blair Witch" movies, and television shows such as "Charmed", "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer". "Freakylinks" and "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch," have all contributed to the rise of public interest in the Pagan paths and especially Witchcraft. If someone came to YOU after seeing "The Craft", "Charmed" or "Blair Witch," etc., what do YOU want them to know about real Witchcraft and Paganism? What would YOU-or do YOU- tell these folks?

 Reponses:   There are 74 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Hollywood Protraying Things In The Extreme? Okay Lets Put This Into Perspective... Oct 18th. at 8:20:45 am EDT

Steph (Midwest City, Oklahoma US) Age: 29 - Email

Hollywood protraying things in the extreme? Okay lets put this into perspective: If you have ever participated in politics, you know that the West Wing is a crock. If you have ever been in the military, you know the JAG is a crock. If you have ever been involved in a situation that was press worthy, you know that press covereage at best is chock full of innuendo and speculation rather than the real story, the press coverage is worse if you are on the "wrong" side. Worse yet, if you are a Native American...well say no more. The point is that these people make their money selling life as a carnival or selling a carnival as life (depending on your perceptions). I really do not see why we are surprised by films like The Craft, The Blair Witch Project, Midnight Offerings, etc., The goal of Hollywood is to profit off of strong emotional reactions of the audience. In Touched by an Angel, its through tearful reuinions with God and Country. In Charmed, its cheap thrills with Melissa Alano in a tight sweater participating in the Occult activities with her nubile sisters.
I am glad that people are taking a stand in these matters, but as long as we are subjects in the media spotlight, there will always be people who want to glamorize it, demonize it and there will always be those who are attracted to either/or prospect, because they see themselves as dull or unsuccessful and the Occult, Witchcraft, Wicca, etc., as an easy way out of life's probems.
It's important that we specify what we don't like and under what circumstances:
Is it the Escapist scenario we don't like? Then make sure that Hollywood people know, there is a lot of hard work and study in these matters.
Is it the idea that this is sometimes portrayed as a False Religion or dangerous cult, let these people know that you won't support these films if they keep minimizing the genuine values of the Pagan Community and religious traditions
Is it the use of incorrect vocabulary? Mixed traditions? The fact that all the chics are size 3 sex pots? No regular Women, No regular guys? Tell them what you want. Give them suggestions.
I personally would like to see a movie just about the Aunties in Practical magic with those same actresses. I found their characters a lot more interesting and 3D than the other women in that film.

As for when individuals become attracted to this community via Hollywod Hype? well when they show up at your door step asking questions, Tell them the truth. Truth is, that this is not for everyone. Its not about being special or chosen, its about if your personality meshes with these practices. Whether or not this religious path will give a person stability, if there is room in this practice for said individual to grow. That means study, and lots of practice. That means commitement. People who do not like that answer will eventually find their way to some other group or practice or church.

What The Producers Of Bwii Have Done Is Mixed Enough Truth With... Oct 18th. at 12:46:41 pm EDT

Khyron Provost (Concord, New Hampshire US) Age: 17 - Email

What the producers of BWII have done is mixed enough truth with pop culture so that the end product is a sort of polluted vision of one type of paganism or witchcraft. I remember explaining my beliefs to people who had seen "The Craft", and wanted me to change their hair color, or hurt their enimies with "black magic". Sabrina the Teenage Witch has done more to portray us as harmless, goofy characters who are not to be taken seriously than any efforts of the religious right. I was personally upset at the subtitle of BWII, Book of Shadows, especially after seeing the previews which, to me, seemed to portray the Wiccan(?) girl as the stereotypical Goth Queen who was bent on Carriesque revenge against her enimies, such as the plot of "The Craft" I think that a decent plot for a movie would be the story of a middle-lower class person thrying to deal with the religious intolerance that is so prevalent in America today. We are out there, and not all of us wear dark mascara, tons of jewelry, and act all sinister most of the time. Already i can forsee the barrage of inane questions about BWII, and I don't need to gaze too hard at my crystal ball to see this coming, people. Is there some organization for religious and historical accuracy out there that these people can consult before they start filming a movie? If someone knows, please mail me. Witchvox may want to take an interest, or even link to them for a while. Just a suggestion.

You Know Something? I Just Read What George W. Bush Had Said... Oct 18th. at 1:16:17 pm EDT

Demarkus Hawkens (Indianapolis, Indiana US) Age: 25 - Email

You know something? I just read what George W. Bush had said about not believing that Witchcraft is not a real religion. "NOT A REAL RELIGION!?!?!" Is this guy blind? Look around! We're everywhere! What would I say or do to prove that we count and we do exist? I'd give him the web address for the Witche's Voice. Maybe if he were to see something this great, maybe he'd change his tune and acknowledge our existance.
Anyone know his Email?

First, I Would Explain To Them That They Have Just Viewed A... Oct 18th. at 2:32:38 pm EDT

Patrick Chambers (Grandview, Missouri US) Age: 44 - Email

First, I would explain to them that they have just viewed a work of fiction and that much of what they have seen is probably therefore inaccurate. Then, I ask them what their specific questions about Wicca and witchcraft might be.

It is easier to answer direct questions first and then try to give an overview of the realities of witchcraft rather than trying to battle your way through the misconceptions and BS right out of the gate. (Example: "Do you really stick big hatpins into doves to kill them for spellcasting?!" "No. We don't kill anything in our spellwork. Spellwork comes from inside of you..." and then probably on into a discussion of ethics).

While the recent popularization of Wicca and witchcraft in the media have indeed brought new recognition and interest on the part of the general public, it is incumbent upon us to teach and educate responsibly and accurately. Only with dedicated and knowledgeable practitioners passing on good information can we dispell the unfavorable public points of view and hysteria about our paths. Otherwise, we're just a bunch of freaks and weirdos in the eyes of the public.

If Someone Came To Me Asking Questions About One Of These Shows... Oct 18th. at 3:46:35 pm EDT

Kaicielia BlueDragon (Madison, Wisconsin US) Age: 24 - Email

If someone came to me asking questions about one of these shows or movies, I would be ever so happy to answer the questions asked as fully and accurately as I can, or as they would like to hear, as the case may be. I am more than willing to give any information asked of me, but I will keep an eye out for those who are not really listening, just asking to get some kind of rise, or some slip up, to prove that it is all nonsense or something worse.
I have learned that many people do not really wish to learn, and that they are often asking about it with alterior motives. To these people, I will give a bare minimum of information, because they are great at turning the words around and making them something they were never meant to be.
To those who are truly interested, however, I will give full attention, and reccomend books and this and other web sites to help them along.

I Think There Are Good Things And Bad Things To The Popularization... Oct 18th. at 4:33:42 pm EDT

Jenett (St. Paul, Minnesota US) Age: 25

I think there are good things and bad things to the popularization of Cracft things. (Hi, I was born on the Virgo/Libra cusp. Nasty habit of seeing multiple sides of everything.)

Good thing: it's good that it's out there and talked about at all, and perhaps opens up the ideas to new people.
Bad thing: They sometimes get some weird misperceptions, and it's always harder to unlearn things than it is to learn them right the first time.

Good thing: It creates a greater demand for other materials (books) out there from interested people.
Bad thing: Not all of the books are particularly good introductions to the Craft or Wicca or Neo-Paganism either.

I'm still exploring whether Wicca is right for me - though it's feeling more and more like that recently - so I'm both not very public about it (except with friends, all of whom have known Pagans much longer than I've been exploring), but I think my preference is that at least if people start exploring and asking questions, then you can guide them - until they want to learn, you can't really do that. (The idea of the teachable moment) I think that movies - and other media - at least allow us to get the subject out there, and to help bring discussions a little more out in the open.

I Enjoy These Entertainment Projects. But They Probably Don't Have That Much... Oct 18th. at 4:48:46 pm EDT

Pitch (Concord, California US) Age: 21

I enjoy these entertainment projects. But they probably don't
have that much to do with what ordinary folks do when they
follow their paths.

For one thing, typical circles don't get re-takes, so living with
your mistakes isn't a guest shot on *World's Witchiest Outakes!*

For another, magic doesn't usually show up in everyday life
accompanied by all the great SFX. There's a lot less spectacle,
although sometimes an equal amount of drama.

For another, these days you pretty much got to pay some
attention to the web, because that's how lots of witches keep
in touch.

Starting A Little Off Topic But Related. A Recent Issue Of The... Oct 18th. at 4:55:12 pm EDT

Andraste Moonshadow (New York, New York US) Age: 35

Starting a little off topic but related. A recent issue of the Catwoman comic featured a police detective who was a witch. Not a zap pow TV or movie witch, or even a super hero witch, just a regular real life witch, a little plump, who used tarot for leads in a case and had to put up with stupid comments from her new partner. The media is moving slow and only at the edges right now but there are signs of hope.

What we need next is a Wiccan character in a mainstream TV show, like a Wiccan doctor on ER, or a Wiccan cop on NYPD Blue. Both shows could do with something a bit different and they seem to have explored issues of race and sexuality to death. Why not tackle religion and at the same time show that Witches are people to.

There's plenty of scope for tension between characters since even an established "nice" one could be ignorant and prejudiced against the new guy or gal and only learn over time that they've got it all wrong. If you make a character racist they just look like a pig. Make them anti-witch and they won't look so bad, at least not until they and the audience learn to understand and respect the beliefs of said witch. Actually this could really work from a dramatic point of view. Once the main characters have come to accept their Wiccan co-worker you could have pressure from outside, a rabid local minister discovers that there's a witch about and tries to get them fired.

I need to find me the email addresses of some TV producers ;o)

This Publicity Is Truly A Mixed Exposes "mainstream" Americans And... Oct 18th. at 9:01:12 pm EDT

Maureen O'Danu (Independence, Missouri US) Age: 34 - Email

This publicity is truly a mixed exposes "mainstream" Americans and others to pagan, but very often the portrayals are missing something, or just plain wrong. I am my message. I am a good friend, good family member, good neighbor, and good citizen. I follow the rede.

I Would Be Sure To Tell These People That Paganism Is A... Oct 19th. at 5:18:16 am EDT

Laughing Tiger (Tuscaloosa, Alabama US) Age: 25 - Email

I would be sure to tell these people that paganism is a religion, not just a hobby. That it is not something you pick up on the weekend, when you are bored.

I have had people ask about love spells "Like on 'The Craft' ya know?" I tell them that spells like that are wrong. To cause someone to love you through magik is against their free will, and destined to end in ruin.

Usually I will tell them a little about paganism, and if they are still interested, I suggest a book or two, and offer them any help I can. Some people become disinterested when they find out its not like it is in the movies or T.V. shows....sorry folks "Sabrina: the teenage witch" is a cute show but it doesn't happen like that.
Love Light and Laughter

The First Thing I'd Tell Them Is Not To Believe Everything They... Oct 19th. at 1:22:28 pm EDT

Xkalaber (- -, Maine US) Age: 41 - Email

The first thing i'd tell them is not to believe everything they see or hear on television. Also, male witches are not warlocks, they are witches. I'd have to ask them what specifically is it that they want to know and take it from there. Although shows like Charmed do provide valid information about witches, they get more wrong than they get right.

I Try To Explain The Differences Between The Fictional Witches (like Sabrina... Oct 19th. at 1:28:36 pm EDT

Shayla (Phoenix, Arizona US) Age: 34 - Email

I try to explain the differences between the fictional witches (like Sabrina or Samantha), and the spiritual belief of Wicca. I must admit, I enjoy shows like Charmed and Sabrina, not only because they portray witches in a positive light, but because they show women in a positive ligbht. Sabrina's aunts are a scientist and a musician. The Charmed ladies are professionals (except for the youngest, who is a student.) Both shows also try to teach the idea of using power responsibly (which is not a witch thing, but a human thing.)

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