As occultists it is worth remembering that the religions of old no longer have any right under law to punish us for how we do or do not pray. Yet as highlighted by the case of the late David Farrant, a man who was wrongly convicted on a laundry list of minor charges due to his visible involvement with the Highgate Vampire, there is more than one way to instigate a witch burning. If the law is not strong enough to light the pyre beneath the accused then the media can always be relied upon to heap fresh bushels of kindling at their feet and fan the flames. Of course this misrepresentation of one of the Pagan community’s most controversial elders extends far beyond the tabloid newspapers of the 1970’s, continuing to this very day.
The media is ever the tool of the bland and fearful majority, gambling ratings against the public’s hatred of those that are different. Watch a few hours of any mainstream American television network and you will find numerous references, some blatant and many more hidden, to the positivity of their prevailing Christian faith. This trend continues on all the twenty four hour news channels, talk radio stations and most newspapers too. Everything created there seems saturated with the Abrehamic godform’s exclusionist and myopic DNA, even leading to certain strands of witchcraft becoming bizarre hybrids that both sides should rightly disown.
Politicians and presidents, all backed by God’s own money, tow Christ’s party line like good little pawns and play their part in seeding the world with Biblical ideals. While the shadowy Muslim and Mexican hordes are the external ‘other’ in the average American mind, it is the goth, the witch and the Satanist that they fear from within. Watching any of the numerous crime documentaries that hail from the land of the supposedly free is all that is required to see this bias in action. Even felons that were in no way affiliated with the aforementioned alternative lifestyles are regularly recast as avatars of Satan with black trench coats, dark eyeliner, bedrooms full of Ouija boards and an unhealthy interest in Dungeons and Dragons.
Yet it is jarring to see actual file footage of the same convicts later on in the episode, proving that they were in reality anything but Goetic demons made flesh. Scratch the surface and it is easy to realise that such ostensibly factual slices of American life are in reality little better than modern morality plays. Thus pseudo-truths become highly stage managed food for thought spoon fed to a slowly imploding nation that prefers to see things in stark black and white. The truth is actually very many beautiful shades of grey, as any magickian would happily and vehemently attest without regret.
It is no surprise that more than a few of the outsiders that are cast as scapegoats by the majority embrace that hatred, ultimately seeking to reflect it back through violence and civil unrest if given even half the chance. All Governments realise the need to control the emotions of their population, to repress dissent and present a unified front behind their deity or figurehead of choice on the global stage. In the UK, where the Church of England is slowly buckling under the weight of it’s own inability to evolve and the more fundamentalist voices from the Muslim Faith are really only a minority, the media must look for fresh outsiders to grind beneath their collective boot.
Thus biases against the ‘other’ hold sway, forcing a warning message to run before television programs of a paranormal or Spiritualistic nature but leaving Songs of Praise or Carols from Kings unfettered by such stigma. Indeed, it is interesting to note that Ofcom, the organisation in the United Kingdom that sets guidelines for all broadcast media, places mediumship, magick and exorcisms firmly under the Harm and Offence heading, while religion gets a section completely to itself. Worse, most of the rules relating to the latter actually protect it from criticism and censor a free and open debate about those millennia old fairy tales, at least within the mainstream dialogue.
The continued cohesion of any regime directly relies upon the manipulation of information to push their population towards a given mindset. This becomes even more pronounced in an age where the internet has rendered geographical borders increasingly irrelevant. Yes, the heavily biased state controlled media that is tolerated in Iran or Russia would be vehemently resisted by the emancipated population of the ever widening Western world. But it is no wonder that few people know what is really going on when all our lives are underpinned by the idea that all we have to do is change the channel to get an honestly opposing point of view.