Saturday, April 2, 2011

Episode 50: Reactions and My Response

Recently, in case you have not heard, I did an interview with Salem Warlock and Pagan Dividing Line Christian Day. It was for episode 50 of the podcast, and it has been one of the fastest downloaded and most commented on shows I have ever done. Everybody seems to have their opinions, and I - of course - have mine, about how the show made them feel. I have received dozens of emails, even more tweets, and a number of comments on the blog (as well as blog posts on other sites about this interview). I’d like to highlight for you some of the responses and then give my own. Each response seems to be falling into a few different categories:


  • The ‘Wow What A Great Interview’ Category - People in this category are quite pleased with the show. They enjoyed the interview, enjoyed my questions, and developed a pleasant, more human idea of Day afterwards. They generally have few complaints about the show and overall thought it highlighted my fervor for a balanced view to contemptuous situations and my ability to remain calm, ask pointed questions, and in general keep the interview on track.
  • The ‘My Opinion Hasn’t Changed’ Category - These people are a little like the first group, except without the pleasant Day aftertaste. Respondents in this category felt I did a good job with the interview, but do not feel that Day’s answers to my questions painted him in any better or more human light than they thought of him before. In general, respondents favored the interview because they felt I reaffirmed their personal assumptions about who Day is as a person. However, technically speaking, there are a few respondents in this category who had a favorable idea of Day before the interview and retained it afterwards. So, one could call this category of respondents a split category. A little in both favorable and unfavorable responses.
  • The ‘I Now Dislike Christian Day’ Category - These respondents told me that when news of Christian Day first came out, they gave him the benefit of the doubt. They were quite upset that the pagan community was coming down so hard on him, and some even highlighted Project Pagan Enough as their reason for initially wanting to come to Day’s defense. Generally speaking, the respondents in this category decided that Day did not give answers that made himself look good. Also, they seemed to feel he came off looking as though he was a name-dropper that is trying desperately to be famous. Respondents, again, liked my part of the interview, though it did not really factor into their responses as heavily as other categories.
  • The ‘This Interview Was Greatly Disappointing’ Category - Respondents in this category are disappointed with both me and greatly dislike Christian Day. In fact, some feedback came from individuals who had previously sent me rather favorable reviews of past shows, yet they panned this particular episode. This category was generally codified by responses that were quite chagrined that I did not “rip Christian apart” verbally for 2 hours. Responses ranged from the idea that I pulled a lot of punches to the perception that I seemed to be overly chummy with the Salem warlock. In all, several folks said that they were really looking forward to me sticking my verbal pitchfork into Day and decided that I didn’t.


Now, if I may, I would like to tell you what I think about these responses and give my own idea of how the interview went.

To those that loved my portion of the interview, I am - naturally - quite grateful and flattered that you thought so highly of my poise and questions. I do try very hard to present a show that upsets comfortable thinking, asks direct questions, and demands some good answers.

To those that like or dislike Christian Day to any larger or smaller degree than they did, this was not my intention. I did not set out to give a favorable interview with Day in order to make him look good. Contrariwise, I did not set out to ask questions that would make him look bad. I set out to ask questions and see what he would say.

To those that disliked the interview, I was never going to please you. You probably know that. One respondent sent me an email that detailed a rather long list of dates and web addresses that contained podcasts, interviews, television shows, blog posts, and comments on websites all by Day that she was offended with. She was quite upset that I had not asked him questions about each and every offending statement he’s ever made, and about his generally perceived anti-feminist/anti-whatever rhetoric. Again, I was never going to please that person, nor was I going to please the scores of people that have always wanted to get Day alone in a room for 15-20 minutes just so they could yell at him, give him a piece of their mind, or…I dunno…punch him in the face.

I was never going to make any of those people happy, because I do not resort to bringing someone on my show specifically to rip them a new one. Christian Day makes a lot of people - including myself - very upset by some of his actions. He has grabbed a lot of media attention over the years, and as a result makes those of us that do not like the image he portrays very angry. There are people - I have come to find out - that listen to podcasts, watch television shows, and read blogs or message boards where Day appears specifically to pick apart his comments and feel offended. To those people you have my deepest sympathies. There are people that read my blog and listen to my show that openly dislike me and seem to only do so in order to write more bad comments and send even more emails about how I get everything wrong in my quest for knowledge. Again, I kind of pity you.

As to my opinion: Christian Day was honest. I told him in the interview that if he had come on the show and tried to deny that much of this was a blatant attempt to seek media attention that I would probably eat him for lunch. If he had lied about his intentions or desires or who he purports to speak on, again, I would have probably ripped him the new one that many of you wanted ripped. But, the simple fact of the matter is that he was completely open and honest about every question I asked him. There were a few times I had to follow up and challenge him, but for the most part he answered each question quite candidly. For that, I applaud him.

He fessed up to this being largely about publicity for three causes: himself/his businesses, Salem tourism, and permeating the culture with the word warlock. He accomplished those three tasks. If he had not, I would have probably seen such a response as an attempt to occlude the truth and called him on it. But…he didn’t. He was honest.

Now, do I stand by my idea that I would not have done this? Do I believe the image of the pagan and magical communities that Day and friends put out there is one that I like or would want circulated by the mainstream media? Absolutely and absolutely not. I would never have sought media attention in such a blatant, fame-seeking manner. Nor, would I want the images and messages being sent out on Fox News or CNN to be those that Day put out there. But! (notice the !) I am not going to fault the guy for doing what he did any more or less than I already have.

He came on a show with a host that was clearly not on his side on any of these issues and answered some (what I believe are) tough questions with honesty and candor. He admitted to a bit of hypocrisy when it comes to his actions for Sheen’s language versus potential action for language that he uses. He was called to the carpet about his use of salacious terminology. He was asked about alienating the pagan community, shooting himself in the foot, and whether this helped with the sales of his upcoming book. He frankly discussed his views on the pagan community, the fact that his sales are still thriving, and that no press is bad pres when it comes to his upcoming book.

Honestly, I will say that my views of Day as a person have changed. I feel he is a lot more intelligent and aware of the community than I initially gave him credit. Although, I believe his methodology for accomplishing his goals is misguided, I think he knows what he is doing and is right to say he only speaks for himself.

Generally, I was surprised by his answers. I did not expect him to be honest or forthcoming with as much as I asked of him.

So…I’m pleased with my interview. Did I know about the laundry list of Day’s sins? Yes. Did I know about those comments he’s made and interviews he’s done and television shows he’s appeared on? Yep. Did I need to ask him about every single one and make him answer why he did what he did? Nope. He said he does what he does to seek recognition for himself, for Salem, and for the word Warlock (or whatever pet cause he has at the time…like eating sushi). You can try for yourself. Here’s a sample question:

“Why did you use the c--- word when referring to [woman’s name]?”

“Because I say what I want and what I believe. I know it pisses people off, but no press is bad press, and it all helps to increase sales, name recognition, and the witchy aesthetic of Salem.”

You could pretty much apply that answer to any question you’d ask him. And they’re all honest accounts.

So, to those that are disappointed I didn’t accomplish your fantasy of eating Christian Day for lunch and spitting him back out with a bile-filled, well-worded bashing…I was never going to please you. I am generally pleased with the outcome, and while I recognize that he said some things I didn’t question further about, I feel he would have answered me similarly enough to prior questions that it would have become a fake flowers discussion. Besides, many people said of Day that he “set us back” as a community. What, then, would have been accomplished by having him on and verbally bashing him for an entire show? Setting us back even more? Making us look like overly emotional whiners or bullies? Like Day said to me, as fun as that might have been for us, it wouldn’t have solved anything.

What did YOU think about my interview with Christian Day? Comment below or email IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

10 comments:

  1. I personally feel that Christian is a person that you are either going to love or hate. He has that type of personality. And I personally feel, even if you don't agree with what he does or say, you at least have to give him some respect for being honest about who he is and what he wants to achieve. Personally, I like the guy and find him hilarious! I also have a ton of respect for how hard working he is.

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  2. I think you did a great job interviewing Christian Day, and I'm glad that you did the interview in a calm manner. I think hysterical interviews are part of the problem with the media in general.
    However, my opinion on Christian Day didn't exactly improve. I do respect his decision to defend the word "warlock" and to pursue media attention. After all, he is a businessman and an author. However, his repeated idea of the stereotypical, stinky, vagina-exploring, yarn-using Pagan annoyed the crap out of me, probably because I happen to knit, shower daily, and posses a vagina. While he is far from alone in that opinion of the Pagan community, it's really frustrating to me that he has this negative stereotype and is in effect asking me to respect his own sacred-cape and eyeliner style of worship by purchasing his book, visiting Salem, etc.
    All that aside, I'm looking forward to having the news, word of the day, and the spiritual topic back in episode 51!

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  3. I haven't read this yet but plan to after just saying this. I just read all the twitters. Gods, one more platform for me to aggravated by. LOL.

    I am sad that so many people in this world that want to debate my intentions surround themselves with so many liars that they no longer know honesty when they see it, but in my case, anyone who knows me will tell you, I am many things, some terrible, but liar is not one of them. My motives and declarations are exactly what I say they are. I don't answer to anyone but death and uncle Sam and as long as there are muggles and an October in Salem, I'll always have food on my table so I have no motivation to lie to people. I'm about brutally honest as someone gets. These people calling you into question on Twitter just aren't listening to what I actually said. When I make a statement like "they're all potheads,' *obviously* I'm speaking hyperbolically for humorous effect. I mean, come on. These people take themselves way too seriously. When I said that I didn't really know about TMZ, I explained it to say that I knew they had broken the Tiger Woods story and that more legit news sources get their stuff from there. A friend [hyperbolically - tee hee] told me today I must be the only gay man in America that doesn't go there daily but it's the gods' truth that I'd never been to the site before emailing them. I'd heard of it only in relation to Woods. As for "vatican assassin warlock," what's the contradiction there? After all the brew ha ha over my using "warlock" on Ghost Adventures, a friend posted Sheen's warlock stuff on my Facebook wall. I didn't really go that into it but, after my friend Lorelei suggested we jump on this (to which i said, "that's prostitution!" -- hardly something most people would admit to! LOL), I looked up the issue and I saw the Today Show interview where he said "he picked a fight with a warlock." If you listen to ANY radio show I did, you will see that they all brought up the assassin statement and I went right to "picked a fight," because that was the one that brought me onboard. I later commented that the "vatican assassin warlock" thing was just as ridiculous because the vatican actually assassinated warlocks at the stake so the combo of words seemed odd to me.

    All anyone has to do to understand my motives or intentions is ask ... and LISTEN. I won't guarantee you you'll always think my motives were noble, but I will guarantee you that I'll tell you the truth about what they are. I can be a first class bitch and I never apologize for it. I never claimed to be noble. I just claimed to be me. LOL

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  4. Ok, now that I've actually read the blog, more great insight. I think what you're seeing is the result of any controversial figure. You just can't put someone like me on any show and expect everyone to agree. Heck, like I said to you before I've had people come into my shop and badmouth Selena Fox and I can't think of anyone who works harder for the community than her or deserves more kudos. My manager at HEX gets into arguments with me because I liked Mother Teresa, who he hates for "spreading aids all over the world," as if she went around with a needle and a tainted syringe. Someone like me, who is openly a bitch and doesn't even try to sit on a perch of contrived nobility and counts people like Howard Stern, Kelly "if you're going to cry, go outside" Cutrone, and Joan Rivers as his inspirations isn't going to win everyone in the crowd. That was never my intention and never will be. It's more important to draw the people who "get me," than it is to jump through hoops to constantly please the people who don't. We live in a culture that loves to be offended about everything and I'm tailor-made for it. *wicked cackle*

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  5. @ Diana: My intention was not to annoy. If anything, I'm bringing up that particular image to make a point that there are all kinds. It's definitely not just a stereotype, though. I've heard countless horror stories about Pagan gatherings where 3/4 of the people didn't shower for days. It's great that 1/4 did but I'm definite in your category of someone that showers! I remember one Pagan leader friend of mine trying to get me to go to a large Pagan gathering and said that of the 3 shower stalls for 900 people (300 per stall), they never got crowded and that "those that bathed" (a quote that horrified me to the core) used the "watering hole near the creek." My response was that "the surface of that water must look like the Exxon Valdez oil spill!" This woman that told me these things did so benignly. She didn't actually *think* she was telling me something awful. To her, it was normal. So, somehow, I think you and I might be in the minority, sad to say.

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  6. You were poised in your interview with this obviously "loopy as a jaybird" Christian Day, Fire Lyte. He was annoying, talked out of both sides of his mouth, and needs to develop a more straight forward manner if he wants anybody of intelligence to take him seriously.

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  7. I stopped reading at "Anonymous said..." - LOL

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  8. Fire Lyte,
    I think the interview with Christian day was a very good one. I give you credit for sticking to your guns until questions you asked were answered. I listen to Christian Day's podcast and there have been times where I have thought what a self centered pain in the ass, but I have more respect for this man for being honest and open with the "why's" he does things. I agree with others that say he is a love me or hate me kind of person.
    You did an awesome job as usual and I look forward to your next podcast.
    Blessings from across the pond!

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  9. Odom of the Evil EyeApril 5, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    I dunno about anyone else, but I enjoyed the interview. I appreciated Christian being upfront about his actions. I'm also appalled at the extreme reaction the pagan community has had towards Christian about his actions. While I myself would not try to bind Charlie Sheen on television, it's not like Christian did any harm to anyone.

    "What about the image of the pagan community?" you may ask. The media is of a "rational" mindset, therefore anything religious (christianity included) is portrayed with a term of endearment at best. Our society overationalizes everything, turning science into their new god. Only a small percentage seek spiritual enlightenment. Honestly, how much damage can be done in a society where the spiritual is dead?

    What is my point? Don't worry about was Christian is doing, there are much bigger issues than the image of a religious community that will most likely never be seen in a positive light.

    Anyway, I have rambled far too long. These are just my observations, so feel free to disagree.

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  10. I reluctantly joined the ranks of bloggers and blog-readers but thought I would never venture into the next realm of listening podcasts. Just by random inspiration that I decided to listen to podcasts today and my first--again by chance--was yours! And what a first podcast it was!

    I really enjoyed it and thought you did an excellent job. I could tell you were opinionated about the issues but so much so that I felt you were prejudiced or attacking your guest. There's not enough of that nowadays, I think. Too many interviewers are either so opinionated that they make the interview about them or they are trying to be so objective that the listener isn't given the opportunity to feel as if the guest was engaged and challenged. So kudos!

    Now, as for Christian Day, I, personally, take no issue with anything he had done. Do I think binding Charlie Sheen was a touch excessive? Yes, absolutely, and I thought it kind of pointless, too.

    I also think that any charge of him doing damage to our community is absolutely ridiculous. I definitely agree with Velma Nightshade: no one would be happy with any portrayal our community filtered through any one person of our community. I also think it's extremely ironic that, as Pagans, Witches, etc, our most important battle-cry is tolerance and respect but some of the most vicious vitriol is from within our own circle.

    Besides, I disagree with both Christian and those criticize him: I don't think Pagans necessarily need a public image. I think trying to distill a public image from a group who are, perhaps arguably, the most individualistic people within an individualistic society.

    I also want to say that I applaud Christian's campaign to reclaim the word 'warlock'. I have used it off and on for the last ten years and find it ridiculous that many still cling to the pseudo-historical, obsolete, and archaic etymology.

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