Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

OMG, Cultural Appropriation of Hallowe’en by Capitalists

Actress Dorothy Lamour, a Hollywood star of the 1940s and early 1950s (who made a comeback in the 1970s.) She appeared in several movies set in the South Pacific and is often remembered for the publicity photos of herself wearing a sarong, making her the “number 1 pinup girl of the U.S. Army” in World […]

It’s Not Culturally Insenstive When We Do It in a Hip and Ironic Way

One Antonia Blumberg, writing at The Huffington Post, which often veers off into the weeds of political correctness, tackles that burning question of late October: Is it “culturally insensitive” to wear a Hallowe’en witch costume? But the  HuffPo’s  cultural sensitivity is barely skin deep — they are also featuring an article on “Witch Is the […]

Judy Does Hallowe’en

Actress Judy Garland in what I assume is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer publicity shot from the late 1930s, together with a publicity cat.

“Good Witches” at the Alchemical Bar

In Brooklyn, says the New York Times, “real-life good witches” are selling herbal cocktails and “celebrating all things magical.” Ms. Ayales’s best-selling formulas are Love Handles, a tonic said to help blast fat with ginger, Himalayan pink salt, green coffee bean and a rain forest tree berry called cha de bugre, and Lucid Dreaming, a […]

“Beautiful, Wartless Witches”

According to Smithsonian magazine, Hallowe’en started becoming a fashionable party evening in the early 1900s. And images of witches were (surprise) empowering: “This is the period of the New Woman—the woman who wants to have her say, to be able to work, marry who she chooses, to divorce, and, of course, to be able to […]

Satan in Northern Ireland

Dennis Wheatley (1897–1977),  British military intelligence operative and author of occult-horror novels, is supposed to have left the “strategic military deception” trade after World War II, but his spirit evidently lived on. According to a recent article in The Guardian newspaper, during “the Troubles” — the period of conflict between versions of the Irish Republican […]

The Myth of Halloween Sadism

Myth in the popular sense, that is to say, an urban legend, says sociologist Joel Best, who has been studying the razor-blade-in-the-apple and similar stories for decades. Visit his website and click the tab for “Halloween Sadism.” Halloween sadism is best seen as a contemporary legend (sometimes called an urban legend) (Best and Horiuchi 1985, […]

Queen Nefertiti Goes Cuckoo

“It’s kind of fascinating but it’s kind of horrifying,” I said to M. across the breakfast table when I saw an ad for “the only cuckoo clock inspired by the Wonders of Ancient Egypt.” “‘Queen Nefertiti’s regal procession rotates,‘ it says,” I added. “Horrifying, completely horrifying,” she replied. She detests noise-making clocks and barely tolerates […]

Help a Russian Scholar of Paganism Attend the AAR

Most scholars who attend the American Academy of Religion annual meeting have their travel and hotel rooms paid for, at least partly, by their institutions. Some, however, don’t receive such support. Dmitry Galtsin, a researcher in the Rare Books Department of the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Galtsin has had a paper on […]

Clerical Dress for Respect, Christian and Pagan

It happened this afternoon that I had tabs open to two different articles about clothing and social respect for (Protestant Christian) clergy as well as a Wild Hunt post about some kind of Pagan trying to prank the county commissioners in Escambia County, Florida, into abandoning their custom of religious invocations before meetings. (I am […]