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The Salem Witch Trials, the pro-Life Movement and other delusional social crises

Pandagon :: Witches, Indians, and teenage girls :: March :: 2008

Norton argues that the Salem crisis was channeling a bunch of negative fears and energies in the community that arose in the framework of the Second Indian War.

To put this kind of theory in context, think about delusional social crisises of our time. The “pro-life” movement is of course an enduring movement built on bullshit-based crisis thinking, and taken in the larger context of social conservatism that’s in a full-blown panic about contraception, gay rights, etc., it becomes clear that the “saving babies” thing is a cover story for anxieties about sexual freedom and women’s liberation. Or for a historical incident that’s similar to a witchcraft crisis—the Satanic day care panics of the 80s. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how these panics fit into a larger backlash against women’s growing presence in the workplace. Day cares were an anxiety-laden symbol of middle class women’s willingness to leave the hearth and enter into the paycheck-drawing workplace, and the panic created a convenient way to rebuke women for abandoning their child-rearing duties. The myth that Mexican immigrants are coming to the U.S. to conquer us by stealth is a racist cover for anxieties about trade and labor issues that drive immigration. Really, name your poison.

I’d always written off the Salem witchcraft crisis as a dying thrash of medieval thinking during the Enlightenment. No doubt that was a huge part of it, but Norton points out that it was unique even then for what it was. Not only bigger, but a lot of the accused were men and prominent members of the community. What she argues, then, is that the witchcraft crisis fed on community anxieties in the wake of repeated attacks from the Wabanaki Indians, working hand in hand with French Catholics. Many of the accusers had seen raids first hand while living in Maine and had retreated to the relative safety of Salem. New England Protestant leaders, the very sort who gave power to the witchcraft accusations by taking them seriously, had this great shame hanging over them because they were unable to completely guard their communities against the French and the Wabanaki. In other words, they were ripe to hear scapegoating accusations that posited that the community was under attack from Satan, who was using the very people most frequently gossiped about as agents of his Satanic will. God knows that plenty of the people who wrote about it or gave sermons during the crisis drew a direct line between the Wabanaki, the French, and the witches.

Das Trollparadies -- Violating Rules 1 & 2 for the lulz

Some German-language magazine wrote a four-and-a-half page article about Anonymous...

Using bronze human outlines to commemorate the homeless dead

Bronze plaques may mark where homeless died

Hollywood has its star Walk of Fame, but San Francisco could soon have a Walk of Shame - complete with human-shaped bronze sidewalk plaques marking where the city's homeless have died on the streets.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution last week urging the Department of Public Works to approve a privately funded plan to install "commemorative bronze sidewalk plaques" in the districts of Supervisors Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi, both champions of the city's homeless.

However, it doesn't seem many of the supes bothered to read the resolution before voting "yes."

Storm at sea saved Mick Jagger from assassination by Hell's Angels

Storm saved Mick Jagger from assassination | Entertainment | Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger only survived an assassination attempt by Hells Angels members nearly 40 years ago because a boat carrying his would-be killers was swamped in a storm, according to a new BBC documentary.

The details of a plot to kill the British rocker were revealed by an FBI agent as part of a series, "The FBI at 100," which is to be aired on BBC Radio 4 on Monday.

Tom Mangold, who presents the series, told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that Jagger fell out with the Hells Angels after a member of the notorious gang killed a fan during the band's infamous free concert at Altamont in 1969.

The Stones had hired the local chapter to provide security for the poorly planned concert near San Francisco. The bikers terrorized the crowd, and were offended by Jagger's effeminate dancing. One of them stabbed 18-year-old Meredith Hunter to death in front of the stage. The chaos was immortalized in the documentary "Gimme Shelter."

Michigan continues to make us proud

Nurse's aide urinated on woman - Health care- msnbc.com

MUSKEGON, Michigan - A Michigan nurse's aide abused an elderly couple by urinating in the woman's hair and pouring liquid soap on her husband's head, according prosecutors.

Timothy Andrew Carl, 26, was charged in an arrest warrant with two felony counts of vulnerable victim abuse, Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said Wednesday. If convicted, Carl faces up to 15 years in prison.

The alleged abuse happened Friday at the couple's Muskegon Township home, Tague said.