Since everyone is talking about this subject, I guess it’s my turn to weigh in:
I could not give 2 1/2 fucks what Star Foster chooses calls herself.
Not to single Ms. Foster out. I don’t know her, I don’t read her blog. I just find it completely baffling that the entire community actually feels that this one woman’s decision to stop calling herself Pagan matters in the slightest. How exactly does this effect you? Does this actually change your own self-perception? Are we all lemmings charging off the cliff now? Why are people fighting about this? Why does it mean everyone suddenly has to pick a side? And why are people heaping insane amounts of hate on this poor girl for what is ultimately a very personal decision? Even more disturbing is the fact that people are posting the most hateful personal commentary on other people’s blogs. Whatever happened to “if you can’t say something nice”?
I am aware that Ms. Foster is a rather controversial figure in the community, and when I checked her blog while researching this topic, I can’t say that I found her… completely sympathetic. However, saying that because someone comes across as a bit of a bitch on their blog means it’s ok to be abusive towards them is like saying “She was wearing a red dress! She was asking to be raped!”. YOU are the one in charge of YOUR behavior, act like a grown up and walk away from people who don’t improve your world. Just because I found her style abrasive does not invalidate what she has to say, nor is it my place to “correct” her. It means I won’t be reading her blog, and I doubt she gives 2 1/2 fucks what I choose to do either.
I have had either the great fortune or disadvantage of coming at Paganism from a uniquely isolated angle. I came of age before the advent of the internet. I have spent most of my Pagan “career” either in blissful solitude or with a close knit group of like-minded Pagans. My mother and her husband are Pagan, my sister was Wiccan, so family ostracization was never an issue. I never went through a Wiccan phase, I went straight from the confused quasi-Catholicism of my early teen years to Ceremonial and Chaos magick in my late teens and 20s to Reconstructionsim in my 30s. Even then, I managed to avoid groups and online communities, having been blessed with a circle of friends that were also of the same general faith. Even here on the island, our grove consists of around 10+ people who seem to share a similar spiritual comfort zone. Once I became active in the online Pagan community, I was appalled to learn that Pagans don’t really like each other. Even Pagans within the same “denomination” argue and bicker over the most banal points of dogma like dogs growling over a bone. Even more disappointing is the condescending “Comic Book Guy” know-it-all tone people adopt. Seriously, read just about any comment on a Pagan blog in the Comic Book Guy’s voice and you will see what I mean.
Perhaps it’s time that we all focus more on the choices we are making. The internet has made us all into cheerleaders or trolls, and very few of us are actually in the game playing. It has given Pagans a false sense of community. These people are not your friends, they are not your kindred. You may have had the good fortune to have met some decent or interesting people online, but to assume that even a small percentage of us are going to have the same world view or be able to get along based on the fact that we share an extremely tenuous umbrella faith is laughable. Star Foster’s decision to abandon the title of Pagan has no more bearing on my world than reading the latest patriarchal decree from that Hitlerjungend Sith lord sitting on his golden throne in the Vatican. It’s like apples and oranges, if the oranges had an unreasonable hatred of vag and a penchant for really silly hats. Likewise, I do not expect anyone who reads this blog to even remotely ascribe any weight to my opinions. They are my opinions, my world view. I write them down so I can work them through, I share them because this is the age of the internet and we are all attention whores in this grand electronic bordello.
Some of you might care about who calls themselves what, some of you may have even been involved in the conversation. That’s fine, I doubt any of you are the sort to go on another person’s blog and call them a fat, ignorant, whore because you disagree with them. Seriously, one of the few places in the Pagan realm I am finding reasoned discourse is at fellow ADF dedicant Teo Bishop’s blog. I find him a delight to read, a gentle and compassionate soul who seems to draw people with a positive outlook toward him. I envy his ability to wield such patience. I come from a more “HULK SMASH” space. Meh, sometimes you need whisk broom, sometimes you need a sledgehammer. I am getting better at determining when to use which.
Oh, and speaking of which, this blog is not a free-speech zone. Trolls will be deleted. I don’t feel the need to be diplomatic in my own house. I would no more tolerate someone being rude or abusive on my blog than I would allow them to come into my home and spread their own filth on my walls. To quote my all-time favorite scene from “Mommie Dearest”: