Of late, the Pagan blogosphere has been abuzz with the startling news that Kathy Lee Gifford is an ignorant twit. This came on the heels of the announcement that George W. Bush is a fascist douchebag and Brittany Spears is crazy. So many shocking revelations are apt to give one the vapors!
Actually, that’s not what has some Pagans upset. It’s more that she was an ignorant twit in our direction. But let’s face it, with the number of things this particular piece of ambulant plastic in the shape of a human female does not know, the probability of her saying something stupid about Pagans was fairly high. It’s kind of like getting upset when a kitten shits on your floor. Yeah, it’s irritating. But was it really unexpected?
For some reason, when I saw the clip, I couldn’t help thinking of the scene in the Castle Anthrax from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “Nasty, bad pagans!” “Wicked, bad, naughty Zoot!” So I may be having trouble taking this as deadly (and I do mean deadly) serious as, for instance, as The Faery King who posted this warning on youtube. Apparently, Gifford’s comment, made during a silly quiz, is not merely stupid and non sequitur, but also an incitement to violence against pagan children at school, and a sign of creeping theocracy in the United States.
While the groggy lot of middle schoolers who get liquored up every morning to go off to beat up whichever group Kathy Lee Gifford says something ridiculous about present a clear danger (to themselves as much as anyone else; the double barrel loss of brain cells renders such wild youths incapable of operating heavy machinery at the very least) I can’t imagine it being very big. Much like the Montel Williams Kindergarten Mafia, we’re dealing with a limited, niche demographic.
More seriously, the influence of the Religious Right is, in fact, a grave danger. But Kathy Lee Gifford hardly qualifies as a new Tinseltown Torquemada. If television is intended for the lowest common denominator, The Today Show is targeted at the lowest common denominator before it’s had its coffee. The notion that anything said on it has any relevance to real issues actually tends to minimize the real importance of these social problems in the minds of those paying attention. Tying an idle comment to a polemic on an important and dangerous trend derails any discussion of it, simply because it looks like an overreaction.
There are basically two mainstream views of Pagans. Either we are weird and evil, or weird and harmless. This is the reality we deal with in a culturally and spiritually dead society in which the highest goal is to make enough money to isolate yourself in front of ever more sophisticated technologies of sedation. In this context, people who believe in something greater than themselves, who have an imaginative relationship with the sacred, will tend to be viewed in a negative or condescending light.
I ask no apology from Kathy Lee Gifford, any more than I would ask one from the kitten mentioned above, or the lunatic that shouts insults at me on the street. It is not in their nature to truly feel remorse, and any apology would be hollow.
Instead, I laugh. Because the situation I find myself in is absurd, as it always was before.
(Oh, and stop watching so much fucking television. Honestly, if you have to be up that early, take a walk and say a prayer to the Sun instead of staring at the Spectacle sent to enslave you.)