Quick Note: Damian Thompson’s Hurt Feelings

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  February 3, 2011 — 35 Comments

Back in November the Telegraph’s blog editor and alleged religion reporter Damian Thompson kicked off a tempest-in-a-teapot over whether the BBC was “sucking up” to Pagans during the Halloween/Samhain season. This is apparently part of the perennial British media sport of BBC bashing, but UK Pagans were unamused at Thompson’s undisguised ignorant venom and made complaints to the aptly named Press Complaints Commission. Thompson, a conservative Catholic, was apparently wounded deeply at Pagans daring to complain about anything he writes, and has lashed out in the only way he knows how; in a spiteful anti-Pagan editorial masquerading as review of Elizabeth Dodd’s “Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Dangers”.

“I should make it clear that Wicca & Witchcraft: Understanding the dangers by Elizabeth Dodd doesn’t make any silly cracks about broomsticks. But I can’t resist. There’s no eco-bore like a Wiccan eco-bore. I’ve met a few and, believe me, you need to be under a spell to sit through a three-hour whinge about Mother Gaia from a practitioner of white magick. It makes one long for the days when witches restricted themselves to a quick cackle before riding off into the night. (Just kidding, witches and pagans! Seriously, last time I had a go at them they reported me to the Press Complaints Commission, which proved resistant to their magick.) […] she’s not buying any of its [Wicca’s] bullshit about being descended from prehistoric totemic and animist religion…”

He also posts a picture of an ugly witch from the film “The Witches” with the caption “Peace be with you!” because that joke never gets old! Seriously! Never! A huge laugh every time. I can’t imagine how proud The Telegraph is of this blog post.

It’s very clear what’s going on here, Damian Thomspon had his feeling hurt. You may not know this, but religion reporters are a deeply sensitive lot, especially if they are also expected to blog on a regular basis. He had no idea that blithely branding Pagans as feminist Satanic racist Nazis when making a point about the BBC’s coverage would actually offend us. That the invites to tea would stop, that he’d no longer get friendly invites to fire circles, throwing his social calendar into ruins. This is clearly a cry for help. Positively reviewing shoddy re-hashed anti-Pagan books is one of the sure signs. So let’s put a stop to this madness now. Damian, if you’re reading this, all you have to do is say you’re sorry for acting like an spoilt ignorant child, and we’ll all work together to put this behind us.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Robin Artisson

    This guy is a moron, through and through. There is no doubt. There is also no doubt that he'll take his place one day as one of the anonymous, oblivious hordes of mankind drowned in the obscurity of Hades- a listless, insignificant, lackluster afterlife which, by the irresistible workings of Divine Justice, accords perfectly with his listless, insignificant, and lackluster human life.

    On these points, there can be no doubts. However, when he says:

    "There’s no eco-bore like a Wiccan eco-bore. I’ve met a few and, believe me, you need to be under a spell to sit through a three-hour whinge about Mother Gaia from a practitioner of white magick. It makes one long for the days when witches restricted themselves to a quick cackle before riding off into the night. "

    I must say, I totally agree with him. He may be a jerkoff, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kkampmiller Kat Kampmiller

      I long for the days when witches made guys like this impotent. Let's make him impotent!

      • Bookhousegal

        I dunno, Kat, looks like he's already pretty much a weenie, as it is, not sure there's much more we can do, there. 😉

        Maybe we can arrange an Oscar Meyer wrapper, though?

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com/ Apuleius

    Actually, this horseshit coming from Damian Thompson is only slightly more vicious than the anti-Pagan venom that noted scholar Mary Beard once wrote in her "Don's Life" column for the Times. It's also worth noting that at times Thompson is simply paraphrasing Ronald Hutton.

    • Robin Artisson

      Oh snap!

  • Riverbend

    Hee hee…thanks Jason, I actually just read this a little while ago when Wren posted it on FB. Obviously the Nazi/racist stuff won't fly (on broomsticks or otherwise), but I'm thinking maybe the Feminist Satanists (as if THAT isn't an oxymoron!! :)) and the Eco-Bores should all get together for a conference and see what we can get accomplished…I certainly overlap enough with both groups that it could be fun to hang out and do some evil plotting about planting fig trees for the snakes, or something. 😉

  • Lori F – MN

    Aw, did the over-sensitive Xian get his itty bitty feelings hurt? I ain't kissing THAT booboo!

    Isn't Satanism recognizing that the devil has control? Wouldn't Christianity fall under that?

    • http://dvera.wordpress.com/ Diane Vera

      A Satanist has a favorable view of Satan (whether seen as an actual being or just a symbol). Christians who believe in a Devil do NOT have a favorable view of Satan. Most Satanists, also, draw their ideas from a variety of sources, not just the Abrahamic religious, despite the obviously Abrahamic origin of the name/title "Satan."

  • Ouranophobe

    I don't know if you saw this, but it's starting to be picked up by mainstream press as news. And no, I'm not counting the Daily Fail as mainstream press. Granted, I'm not sure "AOLNews" is much better, but still, it's cropping up on multiple links in my Google news feed, anyway.

    With what's going on in Africa and India these days, I should have thought the Catholic Church would tread a little more softly on this idea just now.

    Also, as of this morning, the pamphlet is sold out on Amazon.co.uk.

    • Ouranophobe

      Oh, and the AOLNews article? Opens with the Witch burning thing in the first sentence.

      • Pitch313

        I'd guess that one reason my ancestors departed the British Isles for the challenges and opportunities of North America's West Coast was just to get the hell away from conceited English Catholic jerks who talk like this and think like that. Who cares how many angels can dance in the destruction of an ecosystem anyway? When he can be smugly witty?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristin.brayman Kristin Brayman

    Oh, heaven forbid! Someone got butthurt! On the internet, of all places!

    This guy needs to grow up, and then reread the old axiom: Catch more flies with honey.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jacquie-Minerva-Georges/100000390176778 Jacquie Minerva Georges

    lol- thanks for writing this. I read his article but it came up as, "How do you convert witches to Catholicism" Pure idocracy. He should read your On Faith Panel Mr. Arroyo commentary regarding can a Catholic be a witch? http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/catholi

    The answer is, "Yes, A Catholic can be a witch" and the history of Catholic church—they've turned a blind eye to many of the African Traditionalist and Catholicism blend. Maybe not in Britian and the U.S but I assure you—they do in the Caribbean

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Why draw attention to this character? His ilk thrives on attention.

  • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org/ DanMiller

    I would agree. Giving him a column inch, you might as well give him a fullpage ad for his egomaniacal looneytunes.

  • Bookhousegal

    There's definitely that, but then again, when you have these conservative Catholic pundits and bloggers playing attack dog while the Church is trying to put a velvet glove on witch-hunt propaganda with their 'exorcism' push lately …all while they're playing the victim and going on the attack about heir own misdeeds (Seems one of those 'exorcist' priests is in the news for sexual misconduct just as they're pushing to blame non-Christianity for their own 'devil' issues…)

    Well, it seems there's pretty clearly an M.O. about how their propaganda against others has been working lately. The Vatican comes out with amilder-sounding accusation, the bloggers and various groups of bishops and the Catholic League pick up on it and go on the attack against whatever target: doesn't take a genius to see the effects there regarding minorities.

    Maybe it's the Catholic people who ought to look at this stuff and say, 'Hey, this isn't something we approve of,' for one, instead of making excuses or letting themselves be mollified when this pattern turns to hatemongering.

    They usually have a self-image about being pretty nice and good people: this jerk's behavior, among others, is hardly consistent with that.

  • Peter


  • chuck_cosimano

    Well, he may be ignorant about a lot of things but that eco-bore line is wonderful and I'm going to steal it, only I'm going to change the spelling of "bore" a little, replace the "b" with a couple of other letters…

    Three hours of those folks make me want to set off a few underground nuclear explosions just to explain reality to Gaia.

  • Sara

    I love it when you're snarky :)

  • Pagan Puff Pieces

    Yes, how dare people be, you know, boring goodie goodies, instead of an embodiment of your fears that cackles and then disappears into the night. It's an outrage sucking up to such unamazing people, I tell you.

  • Daniel

    I have two things to say: "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all," and "Don't dish it out if you can't take it in return." There's enough stinging nettles in the world without having to add to them.

  • northernsea

    Is this surprising? Christians are always offended when they don't get their way. He is the victim here and powerful pagans ,even those eco-bores who offend those other emotionally repressed pagans who don't get their way are to blame. I did not know how powerful pagans, feminists and eco-bores really were, until they/we were exposed in mainstream press. Who knew? /snark

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devin-Hunter/100000168453308 Devin Hunter

    I wonder when they are going to produce a film that would air nationally which explores the dangers of Christianity, Catholicism, and/or Muslim faiths. I for one don't mind being a feminist Satan worshiping Nazi, as long as I present information as fact when it is indeed fact, and speculation when it is speculation. My largest concern with the main stream media be it here, or abroad is that it often presents itself as a source of factual information when indeed it is full of bias.

  • http://norsealchemist.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

    That's the reason he went after the Wiccans, rather than say the Asatruar. It's one thing to mock and jeer at the witches who profess to harm none.

    Very different to mock the people who's nine out of ten gods master the arts of war and violence and have no problem bring it to the battlefield or the poetry table.

  • harmonyfb

    I know! Us wacky Wiccans and our concern for the planet we live on…how annoying. How dare we insist on accurate reporting and civil discourse about our faith? Don't we know that there are blog writers out there who need stereotypes to keep their jobs? What about their needs?!?

  • http://dvera.wordpress.com/ Diane Vera

    Here's another review of Elizabeth Dodd's book on converting Wiccans to Catholicism, in the Daily Mail:

  • David Foster

    Perhaps it is time to report him again about the made remarks to the aptly named Press Complaints Commission or other groups that compile lists of "bashing jounalists" and what they are bashing. Maybe a few of them will have teeth or publish the lists openly.

  • grimmorrigan

    Paging Damian Thompson! The courtesy van waiting to pick you up out front.

    | ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '|__
    | WAMBULANCE – | i<<

  • Tea

    I doubt this guy even knows that Asatru exists. He seems pretty ignorant.

  • Bookhousegal

    People who don't read the Rede carefully and see only 'Harm none' deserve what they get if they think it means there's no 'Plan B.' :)

  • http://witchesandscientists.blogspot.net Gene

    He's just another clown with a fan base that enjoys watching hippies being kicked. Then again, it would be most poetic to seem him 'corrected' by people singing "Hare Krishna". Heh!

  • http://argentwolfwing.blogspot.com/ argentwolfwing

    How about we just stick with the second one?

  • http://argentwolfwing.blogspot.com/ argentwolfwing