bITS 'N CHUNKS
Here on GlobalComment this week I'm thinking out loud about something that really grinds my gears and touches my heart at the same time, and that'ssss....inclusivity! Please give it a read.
Obviously that post is about media specifically, but let me tell you all...why I chose now and that topic. First off, as much as it seems we're taking two steps forward and five steps back, we really are getting there. I feel confident about it for once. But here's why I'm pushing: I am so sick of this shit.
I've had a few incidents this year where I've seen people flip out over being asked to do the bare minimum, e s p e c i a l l y when it comes to issues facing folx with disabilities and matters of gender. I remember thinking to myself, "y'all seriously only do this when someone asks for an image description."
The cry for intersectional feminism and progressiveness has become, "get your SHIT together already." I'm tired of seeing progressive groups turn to casual transphobia, transmisogyny, and ableism. That fails. The old media is starting to lap some of y'all and that's embarrassing. No one is out here about to do your emotional AND physical labor anymore. I'm not asking you to be inclusive, I'm telling you. Stop fan casting Idris Elba in to everything, hold your problematic faves accountable, start casting a more inclusive pool of actors because they're out there and if you don't see them find them, stop piggybacking off existing labor and calling it solidarity, and generally roll up ya sleeves and be better in 2018.
I discovered Woven In thanks to some publicity on Fuck Yeah Black Goths. Just to prove the scene is not dead (undead, undead) I try to stay on the lookout for new dark music. I didn't really know what to think when I saw the initial incarnation of the band marked as dark surf. Like…was that some kind of ironic category that I'm too old to get?
This was only the second time I'd seen that tag and I thought maybe it's a thing people were trying to get started on the 'net. Lo and behold, beach goth/dark surf/surf goth is a real thing...kind of? I've heard surf punk but to be honest that's not really my thing. I can see this happening more organically, though. It makes a lot of sense, surf music & goth have a lot in common, namely the high guitars and thumping bass lines. In surfer music, they sound like feet pounding on wood piers to jump into the water. In goth, they sound like anxious doom. Totally the same.
I gave Woven In a few listens and I really liked their warm, ominous, melancholic version of ennui. To me they successfully made the easy-breezy sunny sounds associated with California into something painfully tense, a little distrustful, and startling. I tried to keep up with their career over the years. On their Facebook page, they announced a change in direction to something veering a little closer to goth and here we have Bossa Blanca. Please listen.
As I listened, I thought to myself this is a mature effort from an artist that is very confident and ready to go get some new legs. It's getting there, it feels transitional. It's definitely heavier on the goth overtones but it still has that beach kick. Despite moving on, Woven In's sound is so unique and such a firm blend of elements that it's pretty much emulsified. It reminds me of when auteur directors get out of their usual genre or every time Stephen King writes a non-scary book: you're still expecting some of their old ticks to crop back in, maybe because they can't help themselves.
But if this is where the group is going I'd really like to follow their dark journey along, whether it's on a dark moonlight beach or back on land.
Manly P Hall is an…interesting dude. You've probably heard of him even if you don't recognize his name as The Secret Teachings of All Ages is a pretty popular book in esoteric circles. Recently, it made news for being found on Osama Bin Laden's bookshelf. What does it mean? Probably nothing, it's not like we can ask.
There's not a ton of information out there about Hall except what he tells us himself, because his uhh "followers" *coughcult* meticulously scrub information about him to leave only the most glowing praise. So what you find on the internet is apologetics and his own prose. Surprisingly, one of the few negative thing present about him online are his kooky racial views. Probably because they're easily dismissed as products of his time (and I am not saying that we should). His relationships didn't seem too happy either, but those couldn't be his fault right? Right?
Anyway, other than being a St Germain-ish type figure, Mr. Hall was an educator first and foremost and a lot of his lectures are available online in audio format. I really love listening to the Wisdom series. There is a surprisingly good amount of practical business advice in there too, especially for those of you that work in a corporate office like I do. I don't care for/about spirituality but good advice is good advice.
The Secret Teachings is actually a very high level overview. And what exactly are all of the things? Literally everything that would pique a young mystic's interest. Hermeticism, Kabbalah, alchemy…all things. All ages.
It does feel like a sampler plate. In fact, the biggest drawback is that it is A LOT. But Manly takes a practical approach to it, too. It's not as condescending as some people we could mention right now nor is it terribly out there. In fact, it's very normal. If I were caught reading this book in public I'd be accused of something at worst, absolutely nothing at best.
Yes, an occult self-help book is exactly what you needed! It sounds gimmicky but Hall writes in a really accessible and objective manner. I prefer listening to specific lectures as his text is a bit dry and pushes the needle to purple, but I still recommend The Secret Teachings to people who think they want to get into certain secret practices but maybe have the wrong idea or no idea at all.
I read Malleus Maleficarum in junior high. I was obsessed with its lurid sexual details, feeding into my perverse desire for historical scandals and understanding European witchcraft trials. I read a lot of Kenneth Anger, too.
It also happened to line up with my school reading curriculum which also included The Crucible and Tituba of Salem Village and some other YA and historical pieces I don't really remember. I saw tantalizing excerpts referenced everywhere and I wasn't getting the information I craved so I just read the source.
In those days before the popularity of Google searching and ease of access, I would go get a book from a library. If it was a historical text, I tried to find one with lots of scholarly notation and contextual notes. Then I checked the year. So I got the biggest, thickest, most recent tome I could find and varied up my reading with checking out the notes.
Well, it was certainly lurid and frighteningly thorough. My fascination with the material turned to curiosity about witch trials themselves when it became obvious to me that a lot of these men in power had some wild imaginations and severe issues with women. Learning about patriarchy later on helped put this in context as I hadn't been quite exposed to feminist thought yet. But just from reading it became clear that in the age of enlightenment this ran deeper than just superstitious rural folk. I was able to learn about charlatans like Matthew Hopkins as well.
So, as it turned out Heinrich Kramer and quite possibly Jacob Sprenger were eyeball deep in misogyny and possibly out of their damn minds, but Malleus Maleficarum is still a good read for historical context and will probably set the stage to understand modern Wicca and paganism within feminist movements. If you don't care about that kind of thing, it's a good peek inside the very real, very lethal madness of the witch hunts in Europe and America. The content explains how to identify a witch, how to prosecute a witch, then tries to get fake deep and hashtag woke about why you should set about finding innocent women and killing them.
As for the sexual details my depraved mind was after, it was certainly no Mare or The Monk but it was about right for the level of scandal in that time. And hey, it caused moral panic for about two hundred years so there's that.
Not everyone back in The Day bought into this witch nonsense and quite a few people thought it was rigoddamneddiculous even then. Unfortunately, controversy has always sold in large amounts so no matter how much skeptical literature Malleus was lined with, there were (and probably still are, be honest) just enough people willing to be led along enough to go headlong flying off a damn slope.
Ack! I've been a little under the weather lately. A LOT under the weather. And working on edits and stuff.
But, I wanted to give a little blog space to the holiday season/spendpocalypse and share some small or smallish shops I think y'all would like and maybe your friends will too. This is heavily geared towards niche purchases and The Subculture.
CLOTHING AND OTHER ADORNMENTS
Agashi by Christina O (site re-opens on Black Friday!)
The Crypt of Curiosities
CherryxCheezy (Etsy and Redbubble)
Hail, Dark aesthetics
DHD Heavy Industries (gear4cyborgs)
The HP Lovecraft Historical Society
Tater Rounds Beauty
Crow & Pebble
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...