Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Witches: the Biography special (Review)


Okay, so last night the Biography channel had a re-run of their special concerning Witches. I had been really anticipating this show, as it originally came out last year and I never got to see it. It comes out on re-runs every now and then, I found out from the blog Lizzie's Logic, and it came on again last night.

I'm going to be as fair as possible in this review, but you all know my views on media's take on paganism...

The Good: Most of what the narrator said was quite accurate in its representation of the basic understanding of earth-based spirituality and modern paganism. The show made the point that pagans/witches could be your doctor, lawyer, teacher, and neighbor. Even though the historical information was quite brief, it was excellent in its attempt to show that people that were tried for witchcraft were only charged due to political or social motives rather than actually practicing witchcraft. Oh, and they stressed that WE DON'T FRIGGIN WORSHIP THE DEVIL! (Yeah!!!) Also, the last segment, in which they talked to Roberta Stewart moved me deeply. She's the wife of fallen soldier Sgt. Patrick Stewart who fought to have the pentacle put on her husband's gravestone.

The Bad: However, for being a Biography channel special, I was hoping for a little more in-depth information than the basic info you find in the first chapter of every single 101 text. Perhaps they could extend this show to be a series and go a bit more in-depth into each of the topics they presented. But...my biggest beef with the movie...the thing that quite literally made me a bit sick to my stomach...was the inclusion of LAURIE CABOT and SILVER (FUCKING) RAVENWOLF!!! Pardon the language. I was just so incensed by this. Cabot got on screen with her frizzy black hair, mountains of black robes, and Flava Flav sized pentacle and told the cameras she didn't appreciate the visual stereotypes of witches in the media. As she sat there in her billowing black robes with a spiral tattoo on her left cheek and glasses the size of pie plates.

She is THE bad stereotype of modern witches. She is the face that the media seeks out to put on television, because she looks like what pop culture thinks 'real' witches look like. I mean, really, she said the Goddess required us all to take vows that we would wear black robes and 'the pentacle' at all times. I have never in my life, except when graduating from something, worn a friggin black robe, and my one pentacle was small and meant to be more of a personal symbol than something to flash around for the masses. (though, I don't wear it anymore...more out of a desire for different jewelry) And, really, she knew she was going to be on television. If she didn't want to perpetuate a stereotype of silliness and institute an idea that this religion is legitimate, she should have dispensed with the 5 people in fairy wings and glitter crowns in the depiction of her coven's Imbolc celebration.

Also, every pagan that I know cannot stand Silver Ravenwolf. (Or Technicolor Sparrowbear, as my friend Beth would call her) I have no idea what world Silver is living in, but it has nothing to do with a little thing called reality. Click here for an excellent article on the problem of Silver Ravenwolf. Yet another woman who is perpetuating the exact stereotype she claims to be trying to overturn.

Couldn't they have gotten some nice, normal, well-spoken individuals on screen? Of course not. They have to go for the most visually and aurally sensational subjects they can find.

This, however, shouldn't deter one from hearing the information presented. What is said is, most of the time, wonderful information. (Except for the fluffy bunny garbage espoused by Cabot and Sparrowbear.) I cannot wait for the TV special in the mythical future that will grab a bunch of normal folks that are, surprise, also pagan. Dare to dream....

What did you think about the show?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

6 comments:

  1. I totally agree with your assessment of the characters used in this little production, it kinda made me cringe but it's the history that interested me the most. I had heard your podcast on fact from fiction and give you kudos for digging down and really speaking about the actual history. They should come see this witch in her ratty sweats and over sized tee-shirt...now THAT'S scary!

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  2. The history was excellent. It's something I've been trying to fervently study, but it's hard to get good sources when there's so much fluff out there. Also, I'm still not sure what I want to study, or truly how to go about it. (I mean...not that I don't know how to do research. I've got a degree in Social Sciences which required classes such as "Research Methods," but studying religion is a whole different thing.) I don't know if I want to study the ethics, the philosophy, the history, the practices, or all of them. And if it's all of them, then in what order?

    :::sigh::: In a different vein, I've met a lot of people that found it quite surprising when they've been told I'm this big, bad witch...and then meet a blonde, athletic, college-aged kid wearing Hollister and not owning a single Harry Potter dvd. It's always funny.

    FL

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  3. Hi Fire Lyte!

    I did not see the program, but I agree with what you are saying about them always putting people who look like the stereotype in the media. It drives me nuts! I am always telling my hubby that-"why do they keep putting these LARP-ing looking people on TV as Wiccans. It makes our religion look like a joke!" Not that there is anything wrong with LARP-ers or capes but we do not all look like that! Seriously common people-you can't say witches are just normal people-doctors, lawyers, teachers etc and then interview the crazy cat lady who looks nothing like a doctor! I am a proud Wiccan who enjoys my Prada purse, hair salon, and designer clothes as much as the next girl :-) Who ever said witches can't look fabulous too!

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  4. ABOUT TIME THEY MENTION THAT WE DONT WORSHIP THE DEVIL!!! AUGHHH!!! maybe I should be posting this after I listen to your podcast? oh well haha...I know you always do a great job =)
    Love and Light
    Renee

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  5. and you want everyboby to know your a homo ..so you Have to tell EVERYBODY ..fire lyte in the loafers ....so If someone wants to prance around in robe and a big fuck'in pentacle ..who really gives a fuck? who gives a shit if you take it up the ass.... nobody....other than closed minded narrow minded people right!!!!you need to tel people your a FAG right ...but other people should expess themselves as they want right .....you suck and you fuck'in stupid.....you little pickle sniffer ...and p.s alot of my friends are gay butt hey don't judge peole like you do pussy fuck....now go on a suck on you mommy titty you poor confused little shit...

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  6. and the BAD sterotype of a Gay know it all ...Hey look at me I'm special ...I'm gay, a poster boy ...and "I NEED EVERYONE TO KNOW".being gay doesn't make you fuck'in special .you are no better than the sterotypical witches that you shit on ....and I don't relly care for either of the two people you mention but hey look at what your saying......

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