Religion & Popular Culture Pt. 1

picture-1The other day (Don’t you love that kind of a vague beginning? Many’s the time I have read that exact phrase in the NY Times. It just makes me laugh when kids have their parents spend thousands of dollars on an idiotic thing like Journalism School and they write that. Precisely which part of Who Where What When and Why does that fall under?) I say, the other day while tooling around that excellent website My Hoodoo Space I spotted a discussion on Magic and Pop Culture. I posted a version of the following:

On the subject of Magick in pop culture, I believe that we must never neglect that most inane, asinine and self-important of all reality TV programs: American Politics. Where else but in this branch of pop culture can an entire religion be used as an insult with nary an eyebrow raised? I refer, of course, to the son of Nazi collaborator Prescott Bush, George H. W. Bush who, in his aborted presidential campaign for the Republican nomination against Ronald Reagan, derided the Gipper’s domestic policy as “Voodoo Economics.” This was taken as a slur and it still gets used today. How far would that phrase have gotten with any other religion popped in there? “My opponent wants to ressurect the economy… Sounds like Christian Economics to me!” The possibilities are endless.

And all that invoking of God, the Eternal American in the Sky! What politician would dare cap her peroration with “May the Orisha guide and strengthen us”? And when banks which should have folded are thrown back into life with huge injections of taxpayer money, do you know what the financial industry calls them? “Zombie banks”! Hey, if the banks come back to life why not call them “Jesus Banks”? According to the pop culture portrayal of “the undead,” Jesus qualifies as a Zombie. In Depression Era slang a bank was called a jug “Jesus Jugs,” has a nice ring, don’t you think? Even the august and staid NY Times repeatedly uses the terms Voodoo Economics and Zombie Banks. Would they print any similar Jesus references? Hell no.

The sciences of Hoodoo and Magick so many millions of people practice and study – and we who do all know that this is a science – gets amazingly short shrift in pop culture, from the giddy T&A of “Charmed” to the venerable “Bewitched,” it is just a laughing matter. Every would-be Spielberg straight out of that vast American nursery network called “Film School” has a screenplay in his or her pocket for a “cool” Zombie film. Tarantino meets Val Lewton, they all say thinking they have something original.  Zombies to the left of us; Zombies to the right. More women get eaten in these hip little scripts than in all the 1980’s porno films combined (sorry, I couldn’t resist). But I stray from politics. Just once, let’s hear “May the Gods bless America.” And see what happens…

End of sermon.

ADDENDUM: Today May 5, 2009 in the NY Times, Columnist Bob Herbert used the term “voodoo economics” without apparent concern that he was casting aspersions on an old ATR Based way of life that millions of people call their religion.  See? It never ends


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One Response to “Religion & Popular Culture Pt. 1”

  1. Tim Young Says:

    Jesus, i love this post. Zombies are related to Christians, aren’t they?
    Let Freedom ring; and if it can not ring it must be some damn Voodoo bell!

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