Witches as a neglected demographic

Just to give you a smile, I thought I’d share an excerpt from a WSJ op-ed piece this morning (“Toil and Trouble in Delaware“), in which Aaron Kheifets, “a comedy writer whose work has appeared on The Onion News Network and Comedy Central,” explained why Christine O’Donnell should embrace, rather than run from, her witchy past.

After all, he asserts, Wicca is “a high-visibility, fast-growth demographic.” An excerpt from his advice:

She must demonstrate that she is willing to fight for their interests. She could start by proposing farm subsidies for sage and lilac to stabilize prices and reduce dependence on foreign sage and lilac.

Many witches have also been clamoring for public schools to begin teaching Wiccan alternatives to evolutionary theory, such as the possibility that the world was created from the dream of an omnipresent life-force that likes flute music.

Ms. O’Donnell could score further points by advocating for mandatory time off for special events in the life of your World of Warcraft character or by demanding an official apology for the Salem Witch Trials, which would include reparations. Above all, she must focus on community outreach such as busing Wiccan voters to polling stations in case their parents won’t let them borrow the car.

The level of interest generated by merely the mention of witchcraft is a testament to the power of the political juggernaut of Wicca. With witches willing to put Birkenstocks to pavement, going door-to-door for her, Ms. O’Donnell could even set her sights on the White House.

Of course, I particularly enjoyed it because of my own strong sense of the absurdity of Identity Politics. But even without that, you’re likely to find the piece to be a hoot.

15 thoughts on “Witches as a neglected demographic

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    I wonder how Christians and members of other mainstream religions would feel if they were the object of ridicule and derision like Wiccans are?

    It’s one thing to point out to the Christian theocrats that their standard bearers like O’Donnell, Glenn Beck and Mitt Romney aren’t actually Christians or have non-Christian pasts. It’s a wholly different matter to scoff at an old, traditional religion–or any one, for that matter.

    Only atheists have moral standing to point out the ridiculousness of any particular religion, it seems to me. Everyone else is relying on faith….

  2. Karen McLeod

    This clip is an insult to Wiccan. The last time I checked, it was a “nature” religion, which did not involve satanic worship. Of course, the coven she says she didn’t join may have gone over to the dark side. And blood? On an “alter?” (a grave?) Is she sure it wasn’t sap? Or stain left from bird poop? These are surely serious questions that the public needs answers to. Sally forth, Hannity et. al. and get the answers! The whole world is watching!

  3. Brad

    Um… Kathryn… Wicca is an object of ridicule and derision because, well, because it’s witchcraft. In other words, wicca is wicca because it’s wicca.

    I know that that obnoxious “Politically Incorrect” guy thinks witchcraft and Christianity are equally ridiculous, but most of us do not.

    We’re not talking moral equivalence here. Nor are we talking humor equivalence, either. There are things that are ridiculous, and other things that are not.

    A candidate for ANY political office who speaks on television about having “dabbled” in witchcraft is a ridiculous figure, period.

    The guy from The Onion gets it. He knows what’s funny. So do the editors of the WSJ, surprisingly enough. So did Monty Python.

    I hereby propose that from here on out, all Tea Party candidates should be weighed on a balance to make sure they do not weigh the same as a duck. Just in case. And let’s start with Nikki Haley.

    Yes, that was a joke. Because this stuff is comical.

  4. Phillip

    @ Kathryn: agreed. It’s only because the path of history has led Christianity (or some of the world’s other monotheistic religions) to become dominant in terms of numbers of followers, that makes any of the paganist or neo-paganist religions inherently fringy, and thus “ridiculous.” Sure, when you say witch we all think of the funny hats, brooms, etc., but I’m sure there are Wiccans who can tell you how it’s about something much different. Anyway, lots of religions have funny hats, right?

    Whether we’re religious or not, most Americans are pretty much immersed in the dominant culture, and so it’s natural to have a chuckle over Wicca. But empirically there’s no solid proof or evidence that one can point to and say, “Wicca is ridiculous and Christianity (or Islam, etc.) is not.” Can’t prove it. Just a matter of faith. And who’s got the most followers.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    Ha-whoa–“Wicca is an object of ridicule and derision because, well, because it’s witchcraft. In other words, wicca is wicca because it’s wicca.”

    That’s your argument? Man, oh man–that’s air tight. Catholicism is soooo much better and more inherently sensible just because it is. I smell incense and hear bells. I see dead people. Heck, I *eat* dead people.

    Strike One for Religious Tolerance

  6. jfx

    Christine’s a lucky gal. In a different place and time, her innocent “dabbling” comment would have got her murdered by a frothing Christian mob. It’s good that respectable mainstream religion has progressed enough to now find witch culture merely ridiculous, instead of homicide-worthy.

  7. Brad Warthen

    Well, you might as well call me out on strikes if you think I’m going to back down from thinking it’s ridiculous, ’cause I’m gonna keep on swinging at that one as long as you keep throwing it, and if I connect, you’re not going to agree that I knocked it out of the park.

    We do have a shared culture here, and that’s essential to comedy. And saying you’ve dabbled in witchcraft is definitely not the way to be taken seriously. As I said, it is what it is. You can claim it should be otherwise, but ridiculous is ridiculous.

    The ridiculous conceit that New Age adherents have “discovered” their “pagan roots” — something to which they have NO discernible claim or connections unless there are hunter-gatherers in their recent family trees, is totally beyond being taken seriously. It’s a goofy, false construct, not a respectable tradition. I mean, I always thought I’d probably fit in well with a fertility cult, but the closest I could get legitimately, without obviously engaging in a fantasy about who I am, was to become Catholic. (That may be the goofiest thing about it — that people who suddenly decide that they are witches have such little legitimate claim to such a tradition.)

    If one day I start wearing a witch doctor hat and shaking bones in the air and saying I’ve rediscovered my deep, forgotten roots in the shamanic tradition, you are more than free to say I’m full of it, and make fun of me, because I’m telling you now, I’ve got ZERO claim to any kind of legitimate connection to that, to that actually being a part of who I am. If I say that’s who I am, and if you make fun of it you are making fun of who I am, you can do more than laugh; you can lock me away.

  8. jfx

    Run with that witch doctor shaking bones caricature for a minute. How come when the followers of a witch doctor in Haiti claim the guy raised the dead, it’s ridiculous? But when a tale is told about some Aramaic guy who raised the dead a long time ago, it’s not ridiculous? Because that sounds pretty witchy to me.

    BTW, I just tweeted Brad’s derisive comment out to some of my high-level contacts at the GWI (Global Wiccan Initiative), and one of them tweeted back that they are already working on the appropriate hex. Something about a beer allergy…

  9. Brad

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t think an actual witch doctor, an actual shaman, is ridiculous. I mean, I think maybe Don Juan Matus was putting one over on Carlos Castaneda part of the time, but the books were still fascinating.

    What strikes me as ridiculous is your basic modern, middle-class types who suddenly start claiming to be witches. They lack legitimacy that a guy who came up in Haiti might have.

    I want to be clear on that point. I don’t want any REAL witch doctors to start sticking pins into little dolls with bow ties on them. They might hit something vital…

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    The Infant of Prague

    nuff said.

    [for readers of a less ridiculous religious bent, the Infant of Prague is a baby doll Roman Catholics from Middle Europe and their descendants in these United States dress in various seasonal outfits. The original was an avatar of Baby Jesus who saved Prague somehow.]

  11. Nick Nielsen

    The Wiccan moral code is simple: An it harm none, do what ye will. It’s not only more restrictive than “Do unto others…”, it’s taken much more seriously by most adherents.

  12. Karen McLeod

    I think that I see in Wiccan a respect and awe of the numinous as it is found in the natural world. There are worse ways to approach the world


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