Editor’s Note: Normal people might find some of this offensive. (We hope. Dear Lord, please!)
Election 2016 has been terrifying. So let’s take a break and talk about something more calming -- Halloween. Even a holiday designed to scare the heck out of you should be a breath of fresh air. Forget Clinton and Trump. Imagine Psycho, The Exorcist or The Night of The Living Dead.
Yes, we had horror before 2016.
I’m old enough to remember when the only culture wars surrounding Halloween involved kids vs. dentists. We’d knock on so many doors that we’d have empty our bag at home and go out again. (My dentist thanks you.) Then came the tainted candy scares, followed by over-protective parents and it’s all spiraled downward into a PC nightmare ever since.
Now, the holiday has split into dueling dysfunction. On one hand, you have angry Social Justice Warrior types who want to put you in prison if you wear something they have not approved for your culture. Wear a sombrero? You better be able to show some Mexican heritage, not just consider Mexican food your favorite. I expect roving band of SJW lunatics invading frat parties with instant DNA tests. Don a costume that is not linked to a significant part of your genetic history and you’re history, too.
Then there’s the media obsessed with Wicca, witchcraft and people who treat Halloween as a religious observance. Journalists and liberals who think Christianity is some weird cult magically gain sudden religious respect any time a fringe faith is mentioned.
Follow the Bible, honor Christian teachings like one of 2.2 billion or so around the world and the media generally trick readers into thinking you are a Neanderthal. Unless you are an atheist who doesn’t really follow the faith you claim to represent. But claim to cast spells, sacrifice animals or pray to Mother Nature and the media will treat you as a respected religious figure.
Which casts us into this week’s list:
‘How Witchcraft Helps Mental Health, Love, and Heartbreak’: Remember when publications for young people used to help teach them how to spell? That’s passé. Google “child's spelling book” and three of the top six results are about witchcraft, including Wicca for Beginners and The Teenage Spell Book. Whether you consider that insane or spiritually terrifying (or both), you can thank the media for giving us this witch’s brew. Teen Vogue has hopped on this pop culture broomstick and is flying around teaching young girls -- your children -- how to become witches. Welcome to what they call “another installment of ‘Ask a Witch.’" No, I’m not making this up. Actual quote: “Whether you’re looking for a new job, a better love life, or you're looking for a new form of meditation, there’s a spell for that — but witchcraft is a lot more than that.” Oddly, that list left out my choice – crackpottery. The article includes videos about “Why I’m A Witch” and talks about harvesting mugwort and “living magically.” The video profiles three women who actually claim to be witches, which shows you the quality of Teen Vogue. There is a whole cauldron of beliefs including divination, spirit contact, ancestor worship and a “pre-Christian” “mind state.” Actual Quote II: “‘I practice every day. Every moment is a magical process in some way or another,’ says Aerrin Kolfage, who also talks about the ways magic can be a tool for managing mental health.” I want to make a mental health joke here, but less about the women who think they are witches and more about the Teen Vogue staffers who think they are journalists.
Blame Witches On Feminism: Leave it to Salon to conjure up an article linking feminism with witchcraft. Because women can call themselves witches and feel so strong. The article comes from an obscure site called Newsy (“We're Newsy — delivering news with the why.”) and after reading, you know why it’s obscure. Actual quote: “Halloween is just around the corner, and what better way to spend the holiday than in Salem, Massachusetts, with an actual witch?” The idea that people are “real witches” crops up a lot in media. Glamour interviewed three for its Halloween movie piece, including one who “covers witchcraft for Nylon, Vice's Broadly blog.” Yes, she’s a witchcraft reporter for a “news” site. Newsy’s witch “runs a group called the Witches Education League that hosts workshops for children and families to learn more about the craft.” Actual quote II: “Teri Kalgren didn’t always identify as a witch, she explained to Tagouri. It was an [sic] distinction that evolved over time, closely connected to her budding feminism as a young woman.” The article, such as it is, is unclear whether we should be blaming witchcraft for feminism or vice versa. Either way, they spell disaster.
It’s Costume Time: It’s just not Halloween any more without some lefty scold trying to ruin it for everyone else. For normal people, the holiday is a chance to dress up as a character out of character. It’s a chance to be a superhero like Thor or Captain America for an evening, or a ghost or even Dracula. (Much like CNN, he sucks.) It’s make-believe and a fun throwback to our childhoods. But fun is no longer allowed. Even NBC News is writing about a student group campaigning “against costumes based on ethnic and racial stereotypes.” Want to go to a frat party as a “sexy Pocahontas?” Expect to be called out for “hypersexualized racism” -- unless you are Native American and sexy. (This leaves Fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren out on both counts.) Heck, even if you want to wear a sexy (or maybe sleazy is the right word) outfit, liberals freak out. That’s why party poopers at Take Part whined about “10 Needlessly Gendered Halloween Costumes.” By that, they simply mean gendered. Their rant lists costumes from police officer to lumberjack to Kermit the Frog (Or is that Pepe?) and complains that the female versions “reveal the unequal way women are treated.” Translation: They reveal a lot of skin. While I’m not advocating for sleazy Halloween, it’s funny coming from the left that would call this “slut shaming” if conservatives made an identical complaint. In fact, Take Part said back in 2013: “Slut-shaming is at the root of all problems.” Actual comment from this year’s reversal: “Nope, cops don't wear fishnet stockings.” I can’t help wonder sometimes if anyone on these lefty sites is, to use their term, cisgendered.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and Vice President for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center.