“Don’t Mess with Firefly”

Not just a cult-favorite TV show but an issue of free speech on campus at the University of Wisconsin. With Neil Gaiman  and a thick-headed campus police chief. Don’t underestimate the fans of Firefly.

UPDATE: Sorry, the YouTube link disappeared for a while.

Two Items Involving Ronald Hutton

First, an interview by Ethan Doyle White with British scholar of esotericism Dave Evans, who did his doctorate with Hutton at Bristol and speaks well of him:

Having a conversation with Ronald is a delight, and I had him to myself every 3 weeks or so, for a precious half an hour, for almost 3 years. I am a very lucky person. He is indeed a very friendly man, but no pushover when you work for him- he is a superb adviser on academic work; firm but fair, and he will not allow crap work to get through the filters- he steered, cajoled, encouraged and generally supported some very difficult stuff I was doing, at the same time as managing his perpetually massive workload in other areas.

Second, news that Professor Hutton will be hosting a program for the Yesterday Channel (half-owned by the BBC, I am told) called Professor Hutton’s Curiosities, about little-known museums in the London area. I think that one of these is the Horniman Museum. Let me know if it is any good, since I do not have satellite or cable TV.


“Season of the Witch”

On Peg Aloi’s recommendation, I recently watched Season of the Witch, also known as Hungry Wives.  As Peg mentioned, part of it is witchcraft-meets-Second Wave feminism, and part of it acknowledges the whole “occult explosion” of the late 1960s-early 1970s.

Maybe it it is what the old Bewitched series would have been if that show had any sort of edge to it.

Or Mad Men with a coven, bumped up to the early 1970s. (Hey, Mom had that couch!)

Enjoyable, and with enough twists that it rates three pentacles.


The Wizard and the “Reality” Ghosthunters

Oberon Zell, co-founder of the Church of All Worlds and headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry, looks to have a bit part in a reality TV series, Ghost Girls. Its Facebook page calls it “an off-beat Supernatural/Reality Based TV show pilot about three ‘Real’ claravoyant [sic], beautiful women, who also happen to be divas of the supernatural. They and thier [sic] unusual friends commune with ghosts, and seek the unusual and unexplained mysteries.”

“Uncle Oberon” hopes to see some product placement for some of his Mythic Images Collection as well. And why not? They might as well decorate the set with real Pagan art, instead of something just “faked up” (to use Gerald Gardner’s phrase) for the filming.

More on Pop Witchcraft in Movies and TV

At The Juggler, Zan continues the series on witches in pop culture with a look at the 1990s.

No, I did not know that Charmed wins the category of “longest-running hour-long series that features a trio of women.” But then it started after M. and I had moved up into the hills where, not being committed enough to TV to get a satellite dish, we get by with one or two channels.

Dr. Taverner and the Dreamer’s World

Not Sherlock Holmes, it's Dr. Taverner

Robert Moss, novelist and noted writing on dreaming, has a series of posts on his blog about Dion Fortune’s Secrets of Dr. Taverner.  Supposedly, the occultist/psychiatrist Dr. Taverner is based on a real doctor whom Fortune knew in the early twentieth century, and the “secrets” are retellings of actual cases.

 In my opinion, she succeeded beyond her ambition. The Taverner stories are both gripping and entertaining, and a valuable source of practical guidance on psychic protection and spiritual cleansing and many other facets of psychic well-being that are missed in our standard approach to healthcare and therapy. In its fictional wrapping, The Secrets of Dr Taverner is a practitioner’s casebook, of the greatest value to subsequent practitioners. It is perhaps the most accessible of all Dion Fortune’s works for the contemporary reader.

I once suggested to Stewart Farrar that he adapt them for television—how perfect for PBS’ Mystery seriesand he agreed that they would work well on “the box.”

Only, he said, the current leadership of her Society of the Inner Light was very protective of the copyrights. Too bad. Stewart would have brought both his writing talent—which had included dramatic scriptwriting—and a Witch’s experience to the job.

Wicca Work?

M. drew my attention today to the fact that Rocky Mountain PBS (Motto: “All Antiques Roadshow all the time.”) was offering another BBC-produced copy show, Wicca Work. Typical of RMPBS, they seem to be starting with the third season.

CORRECTION: The series is New Tricks, the episode is “Wicca Work.” (Thanks, first commenter.)

The description of the series says,

They may have handed in their badges and started collecting their pensions years ago, but Lane, Standing and Halford are back for a third and fourth series, still working at the London Metropolitan Police as civilians investigating unsolved crimes as part of boss Pullman’s team, Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS). Led by Pullman, who spends half her time trying to rein them in, the three men investigate an array of challenging and disturbing crimes.

What, if anything, is the significance of the title? Is this just another case of Wicca being the new black?

UPDATE: They may have used the word “Wicca” a few time, but this was more Dennis Wheatley than Gerald Gardner. The “white whitches” are really “black witches,” they sacrifice people, and the solitary witch who lives in a tipi (!?) gives the detectives teas that (a) make them incredibly horny or (b) are psychotropic and mind-bending.

More Pagan Narrow-casting

Modern Pagan TV is a show streaming on the Web, produced in Denver.

You can watch their first programs by visiting the archives at the website.

I’m sure that this is (part of) the future, but I am not going to stop blogging, me. For one thing, I don’t have to think about what I am wearing—although, contrary to the blogger cliche, I am not wearing pajamas at this moment.


On Becoming a Killer of Zombies

At the Pop Theology blog, another attempt to figure out the zombie craze, via review of a new collection of essays, Triumph of the Walking Dead.

It is based on the AMC series, but goes far beyond it.

From a pop theology perspective, the most interesting essays cover morality, meaning(lessness), personhood, race and gender, and redemption. In his essay, “Take Me to Your Leader,” Jonathan Maberry examines post-zombie morality through Rick’s position of leadership among the survivors. The most fitting conclusion, it seems, is to abandon all concerns of (im)morality because existence in this world requires amorality. Craig Fischer‘s “Meaninglessness: Cause and Desire in The Birds, Shaun of the Dead, and The Walking Dead,” offers a brief but fairly brilliant comparison of the three. Examining the “cause ” of the apocalyptic events of each film and the comic book series sheds informative light on the others. While they may all be related, in varying ways, to sexual desire, they could just as easily all be meaningless. Fischer makes a great case for Hitchcock’s The Birds as a “proto-zombie film” (69).

I still lean somewhat to the idea I was playing with last month, that “zombie apocalypse” is a why to mentally prepare yourself for life-or-death situations without having to consider killing your fellow humans. You always here about how a fighter must at least temporarily dehumanize the enemy—what is more “de-human” than a zombie?