Archives For Mark Morford

A Few Quick Notes

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 27, 2009 — 15 Comments

I just have a few small items to share this Sunday before we gear up for the year-end count-downs and retrospectives, starting with SF Gate columnist Mark Morford, who argues that all the discussions about pantheism in “Avatar” are besides the point, what it’s really about is “alien porn”.

“But wait, we haven’t hit the best part yet. Because in this movie, you don’t merely get to fantasize about the Other from afar or even just indulge in interspecies sex. You get to literally become one of them … Behold, the ultimate in guilty colonialist fetish fantasy epic porn filmmaking, ever. Flawed, broken white man can, with his righteous modern technology, fuse his DNA with super-hot exotic sexually flawless alien species and become the Other and save the world and then score the hot chick from Star Trek.”

Somehow, I don’t think this new angle is going to please Ross Douthat and other conservative commentators much more than the “Hollywood is pantheist” one. For that matter, I doubt it will please the folks who’ve seen “Avatar” and found it to be a deeply transcendent/meaningful experience. As an aside, since we’re talking about movies, I saw “Sherlock Holmes” last night, and was surprised that the entire plot centered on a Freemason/Golden Dawn-ish occult order. By “centered on”, I mean it provided some sort of plot when things weren’t blowing up. It was quite the romp if you turn your expectations down a few notches.

The clinically obsessed folks at the Christian Civic League of Maine continue to stalk Rita Moran, Chair of the Kennebec County Democratic Committee, who was one of two openly Pagan delegates at the Democratic National Convention. Not content with trespassing on private property, or trying to make her book store sound sinister by listing titles found at any Barnes & Noble, they are now engaging in their own sad form of “deep background” looking for some sort of controversy. First it was misquoting a podcast interview she did in 2007, now they are combing through her past involvement with the EarthTides Pagan Network.

“The identities of the members of these organizations are often kept secret. Moran is active in the EarthTides Pagan Network under the pseudonym “Arwen Evenstar.” Under this pseudonym, Moran has written a book review column in the group’s newsletter for the past several years.”

This situation is so sad and pathological, all in an attempt to ruin Moran’s standing with local Democrats.

“It is a sad commentary on politics in Maine that the highest levels of the Democrat Party rely on an occultist whose political prudence consists of Tarot Card reading and crystal-ball gazing; and whose leadership effectiveness is a matter of casting the right spell.”

This one-man “staff” of the Christian Civic League really needs to get a life. It just goes to show you how bothered some Christians get when any other religious perspective dares to seek political power instead of staying silently in the shadows. They try to make sinister activities that would be seen as sanctified and proper if done in a Christian context. This strife only underlines how important our involvement in the public sphere is, and why the “broom closet” must become a thing of the past.

In a final note, the Pagans at the Parliament project seems to be winding down. The last of the video and audio has been posted to the blog, and we have had several post-Parliament missives from attendees, including a statement from Angie Buchanan, one of the Pagan Executive Board members of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. Buchanan addresses the recent flurry of discussion and controversy regarding definitions, and what was (and wasn’t ) said and done in Paganism’s name at the Parliament.

“In my personal participation and my observation of what happened at the Parliament, there was no attempt to “legitimize” anything, nor was there an effort to ostracize anything. There were many very successful attempts to explain concepts, terms and belief structures in ways and using vocabulary understood by those either unfamiliar with or frightened by our practices — by providing them with a frame of reference.”

Despite the flare-up over definition, and who said what at the Parliament, a situation that I take some responsibility in spreading, I do think this event will be seen as pivotal in modern Paganism’s history. Never before have we been so visible and vocal on the world stage, and I believe some paradigm-shifting happened that may greatly benefit all modern Pagans in the long run. I genuinely thank all the Pagans who took the time and effort to be involved with this event, and made our varied voices and viewpoints heard in the context of the global interfaith movement. What happened was important, I believe that we will ultimately experience more signal than noise as we process our involvement there in the coming year.

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

I have a few loose ends that didn’t make it into yesterday’s “(Pagan) News of Note” that I’d like to share with you. The first is a response from UK dating columnist Ed Saunt concerning my criticisms of his ditching a “sweet and funny” girl because she was Wiccan.

“The final thing I learnt this week is not to mess with witches … following my unfortunate experience with witch Julia two weeks ago, I have been condemned by the Pagan community as ‘a moron,’ ‘a dork’ and ‘a prat’ in a well-written – if slightly crazy – blog”

Saunt makes an “impassioned plea” to any Witch with a good sense of humor and a “well-oiled broomstick” to give him a second chance. As for my blog being “slightly crazy” (albeit well-written), I’ll take it as a compliment.

While I’m on the subject of Witches, Mark Morford sings their praises, and discusses the flap over Sarah Palin’s witch-protectin’ prayer by Thomas Muthee.

“Is it worth setting the record straight? Pointing out how true ‘n’ deep witchcraftery has nothing to do with evil or Satan or excessive black eyeliner or sacrificing newborn babies while listening to Ministry and smoking cloves? That those who’ve taken up this most ancient and potent of callings actually study their enchanted craft for years and know more about, say, the cycles of the moon and the body and the rhythms of the planet than Sarah Palin’s most secretest pagan fever dream could ever conjure?”

For the record, I can confirm that while I have smoked cloves (though I can no longer tolerate them) and listened to Ministry (it was all downhill after “Psalm 69″) at the same time, I have never (to my knowledge) sacrificed a newborn baby while doing so. As for Morford, something tells me he would have no problem finding a Witch to go on a date with (well-oiled broom optional), maybe he could give Ed Saunt some tips?

With all this talk of getting protection from, and dating, Witches, one wonders what the general public thinks about them? Well, if Halloween costume sales are anything to go by, they are incredibly popular among adults and children.

“The top adult costumes will be a witch (14.9 percent of respondents), pirate (4.4 percent), vampire (3.3 percent), cat (2.5 percent) and fairy (1.7 percent). About 1.5 percent say they’ll dress up as a political figure. The top children’s costumes include a princess, witch, Hannah Montana, Spider-Man, pirate and “Star Wars” characters.”

No doubt many of those “witches” will be heading to Salem as it gears up for a month-long Halloween extravaganza (complete with real Witches). A topic you’ll most likely be hearing more about as we approach Samhain.