July 17, 2007

D'oh! Neo-Pagans Threaten Magical Attack on Giant Chalk Homer Simpson

Big news from England: Wacky Wiccan Will Wage Weather War!

Homer chalk giant angers pagans

...Pagans have promised to conjure some "rain magic" to erase a figure of Homer Simpson which has been painted next to the Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset.

The figure, representing Homer in his Y-fronts holding up a doughnut, is standing to the left of the chalk giant and his erect penis. The cartoon character was drawn on the hill slope to promote the new Simpsons film, which will be released later this month. He was painted with water-based biodegradable paint that will wash away when it rains...

"We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind. We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away," said Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation...

Because, you know, Pagans can wave their magical woo-sticks and control the weather. This is why the weather is always so absolutely perfect anywhere in which one finds a number of pagans. I particularly like the bit about "I have changed my mind..." Nope, no delusions of grandeur here.

From the photograph, it's clear that no damage whatsoever has been done to the Cerne Abbas giant. The original figure is 180 ft. tall, and using that as scale it's apparent that the Cerne Abbas Homer is at least 50 yards, or half the length of a football field, away from it. The religious individuals in question this time around appear to believe that the giant itself is of major archaeological importance, but that's only a matter of speculation to anyone else. Indeed, nobody really knows how old the giant is, who drew it, or why. All that can be said for certain is that it is at least 250 years old and that a lot of local folk tradition has grown up around it — itself a collection of magical-thinking ooga-booga, including such practices as having women sit on the thing's penis to promote fertility. Of course, the members of the Pagan Federation and similar groups like to claim tremendous antiquity for anything they latch onto; it provides them with a sense of authority, even if they themselves had nothing to do with the thing they're claiming. Wicca and the like aren't old religions at all; they were created in very recent times by very historical figures and the books upon which the whole thing is based are in perfectly comprehensible English. Setting themselves up as competition to other religions, because these religions are as much about marketing as they are about spirituality, they need to claim ancient status in calculated, if obscure, ways. Christianity does it, and in order to successfully offer a competing product, the Pagan religions have to be able to do the same. It's a logical fallacy, really: argument from age. It's the same thing exactly as saying that a 70 year old man must be smarter than a 60 year old man because of the ten year age difference.

Still, you have to admire the balls on someone willing to state publicly that they control the weather, that they can cause it to rain or shine. This kind of talk is right up there with Tom Cruise making authoritative statements about psychiatry ("You don't know the history of psychiatry!" sayeth the foremost Scientologist of our time.) The thing is, I'm sure that Ms. Bryan-Evans and a majority of her followers believe that they control the weather, and they'll come up with all sorts of justifications when the preponderance of empirical evidence suggests that it isn't so... but that's exactly what being delusional is! If they didn't believe it, they'd just be making a joke or lying. It's this fervency of belief, whether it's the belief that one can magically control the weather or the idea that invisible beings from the sky make one roll about babbling on the floor of a church, that makes religion itself look so silly from the outside.

For all their humorless protestations, the Pagan Federation knows no more, and probably far less, about what the Cerne Abbas giant is than an objective archaeologist who has done real research on it. Moreover, nobody knows what the person or people who originally created the giant were like.

Here's a hypothesis, dear pagans. The giant 180 ft. tall, ithyphallic monstrosity was drawn as a joke in the first place! The people who drew it might not only have not minded that someone else drew a fat guy with a donut next to their horny guy with a club, they might have had a laugh over it... and maybe an even bigger one at the idea of a bunch of self-appointed guardians of "ancient secrets" who took the whole thing seriously in the first place and, best of all, threatened to make it rain, as if the whole atmosphere of the earth, the laws of physics themselves, could be bent to the imaginings of a few tantrum-prone crystal-consumers who all too often can't tell the difference between real life and a role playing game.

I mean, really... couldn't you have threatened to conjure dragons or shoot fireballs out of your hindquarters? Rain is just so done to death!

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