Column: To Make the Voice of the Criminal Audible

Jean Genet’s text “The Criminal Child,” previously unavailable in English, was translated and published in December 2015. An anonymous commentary on the text, included as an afterword within the same pamphlet, reads “The Criminal Child” as an intricately coded set of instructions for magical initiation and ordeal. “The Criminal Child” was originally written in 1948 as a speech to be read on a radio show in order to address reforms to France’s youth prisons that had been proposed at the time. It was rejected and never read on the air. When Genet published the censored text the following year, he wrote in his introduction, “I would have liked to make the voice of the criminal audible.

Quick Notes: A Rude Aphrodite, Polytheism in A Song of Ice and Fire, and Black Heimdall

Just a few quick news notes for on this Thursday. Aphrodite’s Middle Finger: Der Spiegel reports that nine employees of the German magazine Focus are being ordered to appear in an Athens court for “accusations of defamation, libel and the denigration of Greek national symbols.” Six Greek citizens are bringing the complaint, partially for the article, which discusses tax fraud and failed construction projects, and partially for the satirical cover image. “The Focus cover featured a photograph of the famously armless statue Venus de Milo, which depicts the Greek goddess Aphrodite, that had been doctored so that the deity was showing her middle finger to the viewer. The story, titled “Swindlers in the Euro Family,” included a detailed description of what the authors claimed was “2000 years of decline” in Greece, including reports of tax fraud and failed construction projects.

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens. In South Africa, News 24 interviews Damon Leff of the South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA) concerning recent comments by ANC MP Adrian Williams (an “out” Pagan politician) that modern Pagans in South Africa should abandon attempts to reclaim the term “Witch” due to its (sometimes violently) negative associations in the country. “SAPRA rejected Williams’s views on the use of the word “witch”, saying communities must be educated about other people’s religious beliefs and practices. “While Williams self-identifies as pagan, it should be noted that he has no mandate to speak on behalf of all the witches in South Africa,” said SAPRA director, Damon Leff.” The piece also interviews a representative of the Traditional Healers Organisation (THO) who sympathizes with SAPRA’s goals, and feels that while it might be possible for the term to be used and reclaimed among white South Africans,  colonialist framing of the term “witch” has made reclaimation all but impossible among black South Africans.

Aphrodite’s Perfume

For those wondering what the goddess Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) smelled like, wonder no longer. Archaeologists in Cyprus claim to have found the oldest perfume factory in the world with scents dedicated to the goddess of love (among others).”The prehistoric scents and 60 objects from the site in Cyprus have been placed on display at the Capitoline Museums in Rome, having been found in 2003. Perfumes named after Greek goddesses and made from pine, coriander, olive oil, parsley, bergamot, bitter almonds and laurel were discovered in alabaster vials. Research Council archaeologist, Maria Rosa Belgiorno, told ANSA: ‘We were astonished at how big the place was … Perfumes must have been produced on an industrial scale.