Quick Notes: Witch Hunters, Anti-Pagans, and Getting Religion

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 16, 2010 — 21 Comments

Turning the Witch-Hunter into a Hero: Summit Entertainment, the company the brought you the “Twilight” movie adaptations, is branching out from vampires into the world of witchcraft. But we won’t be seeing sexy heroic witches, or even gothy bad-girl witches like in “The Craft”, instead the protagonist will be the witch-hunter.

“Summit made a pre-emptive mid-six figures acquisition of The Last Witch Hunter, a Cory Goodman pitch that has franchise potential, and the attachment of Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov. The protagonist is one of the last remaining witch hunters, a breed that keeps the population of witches and warlocks in check. They are about to repopulate in a major way unless he can stop them.”

So let me get this straight, the historical figures who tortured, killed, and accused innocent men and women of being “witches” and “warlocks” are being revamped as broody anti-heroes trying to save humanity from real-live witches? What’s next? A film where heroic cops raid gay bars for the good of America? Films set in the old west where Native Americans are turned into villains again and again? Oh, wait. They already did that one.

That Darn Neopaganism: The newly launched conservative site “Alternative Right” comes out of the gate swinging against modern Paganism.

“The first and most important problem with Neopaganism is that, to put it simply, it is wrong. Whatever may be said about the dangers of egalitarian and universalist Christianity, that the Church was built as a repository of truth with the distinct purpose of spreading that truth and, through that truth, saving men’s souls, is beyond question. Neopaganism is built around an impulse that runs contrary to the truth… and this impulse is recognized by a vast majority of neopagans. Men that concern themselves with philosophy and ascetics in public find themselves slaughtering goats in the name of Thor in private when they know that the practice is utter nonsense. It is all well and good to desire a connection with your barbaric ancestors; it is quite another thing to bring your silly hobby into the realm of philosophy and politics. Which brings me to my second point: nearly every aspect of the western world worth saving is a product of Christianity, not Paganism. Even the distinctly non-Christian things are Christian in origin.”

First off, ten points are deducted from the essay for quoting G.K. Chesterton, the lazy man’s anti-pagan source material (seriously folks, Chesterton is not the alpha and omega of anti-pagan arguments). Another ten points for his ignorance of the pagan origins of things Christians like to take credit for, like democracy, charity, and philosophy. Yet another ten for faulting paganism for things it wasn’t around to do, like fighting Muslim advances into Europe, because the Christians had eliminated it! If this is the “new intellectual right-wing” is smells an awful lot like the old intellectual right-wing.

Get Religion’s Shameless Plug: Remember me mentioning Rod Dreher’s awful column defending his anti-Vodou attitudes? Well, religion journalism criticism site Get Religion just loved it! Singling it out for praise and discussion because, well, it praised Get Religion.

“We didn’t pay him to say that, or even plead for him to do so, but we’re glad that this concept was aired in a place where mainstream readers and journalists have a chance to read about it and, perhaps, even debate it.”

You can bet your boots I debated it. Dreher’s column was a biased self-serving ode to the reprehensible anti-Vodou tirades by himself and a handful of conservative-leaning columnists. The fact that he’s trying to repackage his outlandishly anti-Vodou attitude as a “respectful” journalistic “study” of the faith strains all sense of credulity for anyone who’s actually read his (and similar) work(s). So the plug really is “shameless”, but not in the way I think they mean. Oh, and if you feel the need to join the debate there, be sure to keep your criticism focused on the journalism, lest your comment be spiked.

That’s all I have for right now, have a great day!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Sounds like the scripters of "The Last Witch-Hunter" ripped off "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

  • DairyStateDad

    I visited Get Religion once, maybe twice some months ago (following from here, actually) and didn’t like the chip on their shoulder. So I haven’t been back, and I guess I won’t be back after seeing your comment here.

    Keep up your good work, though!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Eplidis Eplidis

    Wow. I think this made me gag.

    • http://www.robinartisson.com Robin Artisson

      I sincerely hope you understand that I was being facetious.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/magickalrealism magickalrealism

    I've always assumed that these attacks on neopaganism are a misguided attempt to solve emptying pews.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cara.schulz Cara Schulz

    *sigh* I meant to say "nothing intellectual about that post in “Alternative Right.”

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Crystal7431 Crystal7431

      Not to mention, it doesn't take a whole lot to get a bunch of fringe radicals stirred up. A box office hit would do just that, fiction or no.

    • The L

      Alternative Right: An alternative, but still wrong.

      As for the film, I’m still holding out for a Hollows film or TV series. While Rachel Morgan isn’t quite Pagan, she’s not a horror-movie stereotype or a “save the world” Charmed One. She’s a bounty hunter who uses magic to help her do her job. Witch hunters and horror-movie wicked witches have been in too many movies as it is.

      • Crystal7431

        I visited Alternative Right. Just as creepy and hateful as the mainstream right. Most of the comments bashed egalitarianism (and what is the alternative to egalitarianism that is so grand? Heirarchy and slavery?) and even the pro-pagan comments devolved into anti-semitic hate rhetoric. They can keep it.

        • Bookhousegal

          Well, at least they'll finally own that whole 'vampire' fetish? :)

  • http://secher-nbiw.blogspot.com/ Cobalt

    Ah, there's a debate about that armchair anthropologist Dreher. I think I will go whack it with the anthropology stick.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Crystal7431 Crystal7431

      I love the anthrolpology stick. ; )

  • Ananta Androscoggin

    a little surprised to find it isn't gonna be a Mel Gibson movie.

    Or did I miss some details?

    • Ananta Androscoggin

      None of that has ever stopped the extremist-right Christianist preachers from exploiting the appearance of a connection, to their own profit and benefit.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Crystal7431 Crystal7431

    Clarification: no one is making the claim that the victims were "true witches" and thus connected to anyone in the Pagan movement today.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Crystal7431 Crystal7431

    Who here is doing that TeaD? It seems as if you might have read one too many Llewellyn books.

    • Willow Phoenix

      Its like throwing a match on gasoline. I mean, did anyone see that news piece on ‘real were-wolf packs’ that got started with the twilight series?.If they can go on t.v and claim that b.s, then radicalist will eat up this anti-witch mess.

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  • Advent

    Under “That Darned Neopaganism:”

    “…that the Church was built as a repository of truth with the distinct purpose of spreading that truth and, through that truth, saving men’s souls, is beyond question.”

    I am truly impressed. I have never known of ANYTHING that was “beyond question.” Cool. I have now learned there is a static, inactive, absolutely predictable thing somewhere in the universe (or a parallel plane). I would learn more about it; but since I can’t ask any questions, well……