(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 2, 2009 — 1 Comment

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

We start off with two film-related tidbits that might interest my readers. First, Warner Bros. is moving forward with a big-budget production of the Odyssey directed by Jonathan “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” Liebesman and scripted by Ann “The Chronciles of Narnia” Peacock.

“Warner Bros. has nabbed Ann Peacock’s spec “Odysseus” and set Jonathan Liebesman to direct. Story centers on the Greek lit hero and king of Ithaca who returns to his island after 20 years of fighting the Trojan Wars only to find his kingdom under the brutal occupation of an invading force. Gianni Nunnari (“300”) is producing through his Warners-based Hollywood Gang shingle. Craig Flores exec produces.”

The Warners-backed Hollywood Gang is also producing the Theseus-starring “War of Gods” (and an as-yet untitled sequel to “300”), making ancient Greek legend a hot topic in 2010. Meanwhile, the remake of “Clash of the Titans” (starring Perseus), which is racing “War of Gods” to the theatres, has started filming and you can see some set photos, here. I predicted in the wake of “300” that we’d see more “sword and sandal” flicks set in a Greco-Roman context, and it looks like the flood has arrived.

Since we’re talking about film and fantasy, you might want to check out a fascinating round of panel discussions by SF Signal that asks about gods and pantheons in fantasy literature.

“In a created fantasy world, gods can proliferate by the hundreds. When building religious systems for fantasies, what are the advantages/disadvantages of inventing pantheons vs. single gods, or having no religious component at all?”

Check out some of the really thoughtful and insightful ruminations on the subject from fantasy luminaries like Marie Brennan, Elizabeth Bear, L.E. Modesitt Jr., and John C. Wright (among others).

Speaking of panelists, Starhawk speaks out against torture at the On Faith site and references the repeated tasering of a Pagan Cluster member and the Burning Times in the process.

“Torture, like a virus, also has a way of spreading. When torture is licensed at the highest levels, it percolates down to every police department and branch of Homeland Security. We may have a black president now, but a black man in this country who is arrested still stands a high chance of being brutalized and beaten. At the protests last summer outside the Republican National Convention, a dear friend of mine was attacked by police at a legal and peaceful rally, thrown to the ground and tasered multiple times. Another young friend was beaten in jail, then marched hooded and shackled through the hospital where he was finally taken for treatment. These are small examples, but they show how a culture of torture, force and bullying takes root and eventually threatens the freedom and safety of us all.”

I’ll ignore the Burning Times references and instead agree that ultimately no good can come from a policy of torture. Most of Starhawk’s fellow panellists seem to agree (except for Chuck Colson). I wonder what they think about the Pew Forum’s recent study linking torture acceptance with increased church attendance.

While I’m on the subject of Pew research, another recent study finds that nearly half of Americans have changed faiths in their lifetime.

“Americans change religious affiliation early and often. In total, about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Most people who change their religion leave their childhood faith before age 24, and many of those who change religion do so more than once. These are among the key findings of a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey documents the fluidity of religious affiliation in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change.”

Sadly this data doesn’t go into how many people leave Catholic and Protestant Christianity for “other” religions, but it still gives and interesting snapshot of how fluid religious affiliation in America truly is.

In a final note, the dreaded H1N1 (the virus formerly known as “Swine Flu”) briefly cast its spectre over famed Pagan goth-rock band Inkubus Sukkubus who were in Mexico City for a concert.

“Tony and Candia McKormack went to Mexico City last week to play a gig to promote their band’s new album — which is ironically about the Mexican Day of the Dead. Authorities cancelled the event after the swine flu outbreak and Tony, 48, and Candia, 42, flew back to England on Monday. They began feeling unwell after arriving at Heathrow and have now been ordered to remain inside their home in Kingsholm, Gloucs, along with their two children Leon, 11 and Carmen, four.”

Luckily it turned out to not be H1N1 and everyone is fine. The band’s new album “Viva La Muerte” is shipping now, and all planned gigs are going forward. For more Pagan-related music news, check out the Twitter feed for my A Darker Shade of Pagan podcast.

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

Jason Pitzl-Waters