Monday, July 24, 2017

So. This #HavamalWitches thingamabob

Okay, it's about time to comment on this shit. Careful, snowflakes, there's going to be some mansplaining ahead! Because I'm a man, and I'm explaining stuff. Which makes it wrong, apparently. Because men aren't allowed to explain stuff, but that's not sexist at all. Whatever.

Jokes are not oppression, and words are not violence. Just sayin'.

About a month ago, one Jade Pichette started a bit of a brou-ha-ha by posting some pretty jejune feminist sound-bites on Facebook. Here's what set off the thing, it seems:

Let's just unpack "to critique sexism in heathenry," for a minute, if we may.

The definition of sexism is "attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of gender roles." So isn't this a sexist remark on its face? Aren't Valkyries and witches a stereotypical gender role (in this case, a female gender role)? And of course there's the unspoken but completely obvious assumption that this is aimed at men; assuming men are somehow chauvinistic against women is in and of itself a gender stereotype.

So one post in and you've got two counts of hypocrisy against you. Well done.

Naturally, the Usual Suspects in the SJW crowd just love this (and the fact that Jade is trans plays into the SJW adoration), and their web outlets have been short-stroking this all over the place

But it gets better. Let's look at the second half of that initial statement:

It references the fact in the Havamal there are some really sexist stanzas...

That's very true, when looked at through modern eyes. As we live in the West* the second decade of the 21st century, we live in a society that is vastly removed from that of 11th century Scandinavia. I personally think the author had just gone through a divorce or something. Check these passages out:
Like the love of women whose thoughts are lies
is the driving un-roughshod o'er slippery ice
of a two year old, ill-tamed and gay;
or in a wild wind steering a helmless ship,
or the lame catching reindeer in the rime-thawed fell.
Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
ice when 'tis crossed, and ale when 'tis drunk.
The speech of a maiden should no man trust
nor the words which a woman says;
for their hearts were shaped on a whirling wheel
and falsehood fixed in their breasts.
There are others, too. But since we're talking about "the witches the Hávamál warns you about", let's take a look at the passage that does warn about them:
Sickly calf or self-willed thrall, witch's flattery, new-slain foe,
brother's slayer, though seen on the highway,
half burned house, or horse too swift --
be never so trustful as these to trust.
There are a couple other passages that have the word "witch" sometimes used in the translation, but they're not really warnings about witches per se. But you know what's weird about that passage? The Old Norse phrase that is translated by Olive Bray as "witch's flattery" is völu vilmæli, which literally means "a prophetess speaking well of a person."

So the only warning we get in Hávamál about witches tells us not to trust them when they say nice things about us.

No problem, guys. I think that's pretty much a moot point. Ain't gonna happen.

From there it gathered steam:

"Get out of our way"? "Join our shieldwall?" That sounds like some toxic masculinity right there. 

See, now, here's where I'm going to start asking for citations. Or at least an example or three to justify the accusation. The assumption here is that at least some men in Asatru (or Heathenry, as Jade puts it) use the appellation of valkyrie as a way to objectify women and make sex jokes about them.

Could we get a link to a couple of examples on this, please? Because I've been doing this Heathenry thing for going on 30 years, and I've never seen it happen. In Normandy, the ale-wenches were called Valkyries for a while, but that went out of style, and it was never a sexual innuendo in and of itself (although ribaldry in general isn't sexism or objectification, and certainly went, and goes, both ways, in my experience).

This is a terribly phrased meme, because what it should say, if it is to actually convey the meaning that it seems to want to convey, is:

When it is assumed that 
women and femmes know less
about the Gods because they aren't men
and have it mainspained to them (Emphasis added)

See the difference? 

At the risk of sounding immodest (and let's not forget that bragging about one's abilities is actually considered a virtue in our religion), I know more about Heathenry than Jade does, or, frankly, is ever likely to. So yes. I assume that I know more about the Gods than Jade does. Because I've been studying the lore for 28 years, and performing rituals and Workings and running or help to run hearths/kindreds/theods/tribes/fellowships for most of that time. 

But that has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a man. It has to do with ability. But, to take Jade's words at face value, none of the actual facts matter. It's all about gender. And if you're a male, you are on the bottom of the pile.

I'll grant there is probably something to this one, but it has to do more with demographics than prejudice. It's a simple fact that there are more men in Asatru than women. So when you see a women you don't know at an event, it's not chauvinism to assume they're there as someone else's plus-one. It's simply playing the odds.

Personally, I take that as a good thing. As in, it's an opportunity to grow Asatru. I'm all in favor of bringing more women into Asatru, but then again, I'm all in favor of bringing in more people into Asatru in general, so that by definition includes women.

Because, silly me, I'm interested in people as a whole. I don't exclude half of them because of their sex, or gender, or whatever I'm supposed to call it.

This one's interesting, because there's actually some meat rather than just a pithy but unsubstantiated one-line accusation. This time we have a four-paragraph unsubstantiated accusation. So we're making progress!

Grammar thing: I think what you meant to say in that first paragraph was "...and more are shedding light on sexisim within the Heathen community." Otherwise you're saying that Heathen women are mocking your assertion that there's widespread sexism in Heathenry, and I'm pretty sure that's not what you intend to say here.

Just trying to help. (Question: If help comes from a man, does that make it "manhelping"?)

But here's the interesting bit:
But to any men who wish to critique me... I am one of the witches the Hávamál warns you about.
First off, if there was any "warning" in the passage to which you seem to be referring, it's not aimed at men. It's intended for humanity as a whole. And I know I include women in my own personal definition of humanity. Do you?

Not quite the model that I would hold up as some sort of feminist icon, but what do I know? People are also holding up a comic book character whose genesis was in female bondage and submission as a feminist icon. Expecting any internal logic from these people is the surest road to madness.

Again, a little context, or even a link, would be helpful here. Was this a Twitter thing? Who's saying Jade isn't Heathen? Sources, damnit! Sources!

And... I'm pretty sure using a hashtag doesn't qualify as "starting an international movement." Just sayin'. 

So... women aren't different from men? We're all just interchangeable cogs in some vast corporate machine designed to get us to consume and produce and make babies who will go on to consume and produce?

News flash: only half the population is biologically equipped to bear those children. But it goes way beyond that. Even out brains are different. And that, naturally, leads to behavioral differences.

Men and women aren't just interchangeable cogs in the machine. And our ancestors knew this. There's nothing wrong or immoral in saying that women are better at some things, and men are better at others. Physiologically and psychologically, this is empirically true. And Germanic culture reflected these truths. Does that mean there weren't exceptions? Of course not. Does that mean we have a perfect understanding of those societal roles? Equally not so. In fact, I have a shrewd suspicion that women had a lot more to do with fighting in Germanic culture than is normally recognized (more on that in a future post).

But to say "women are different" than men is somehow an indictment? Stuff and nonsense. Of course they're different, both physically and psychologically, and biology makes that abundantly clear. "Different" doesn't carry with it any notions of "better" or "worse" that you don't bring into the meaning yourself. Are men inferior because we can't bear children? No, just as women aren't inferior for having less upper-body strength on average. Just different, and pre-Industrial society recognizes those differences and allows each sex to build on its strengths. That doesn't mean there aren't exceptions - certainly there were and are - but societal norms speak to society as a whole.

I daresay this might be one of the first instances where there's actually a substantive claim being made. That is, Heathenry needs to be "a more welcoming place" (for women, presumably). It would have been nice to have some examples of what Jade is talking about here (but of course that's a theme of this whole thing), but at least it's something.

Now obviously without any examples, one is left to one's imagination to figure out what exactly is "unwelcoming" to women in Asatru. I confess I have a difficult time seeing the issue, since the tribe to which I belong has about a third female membership. The same is true for most of the other groups in the area (with one notable exception), and on a national level both the AFA and the Troth (being charitable and including the Norse Neopagans here for the sake of example) always have very large representation among the fairer sex. So what could Jade be talking about here?

Of course, there is the vaunted Leftist tradition on display of being in favor of freedom of speech and being willing to engage with people who might disagree:

..if you are not supporting me... I am not going to be bother [sic] at spending my energy when you disagree with me.
Ah, the true Enlightenment spirit of inquiry and the willingness to push one's intellectual boundaries through conversation with those who do not share one's values.

Again, citation needed, but honestly, what a disingenuous and condescending attitude, not to mention being completely over-the-top. "Injustice & oppression"? Again, no examples given at all, but I have to wonder what the Hel Jade is burbling about here. Is it the fact that Asatruar still look to the Hávamál as one of the primary sources for our religion? The fact that men and women aren't seen as some weirdly asexual interchangeable meeples that fit modern post-industrial society's needs?

Here's another hashtag for you:



* With all due apologies for using what is, apparently, a racist term. Which is, none at all.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday YouTube Roundup - July 23, 2017

Sorry, I missed last week. But hey, at least I'm here now. That's worth something, right?

First off, Brittany Pettibone and Tara McCarthy interview Tanya Tay about the migrant crisis in Europe. And they are not fans.

Sugartits takes on the Petty Oppressions of Feminism, and rips it to tiny little shreds as befits her ursine nature:

Next up, the Folkgard of Holder and Odin (an AFA kindred), interviews Stephen McNallen about the WotanNetwork:

Last but not least, the latest trailer for the Marvel comic-book film Thor: Ragnarok dropped at San Diego Comic-Con, and it looks effing AWESOME. Yes, there are absolutely issues with the Thor films from a Norse mythology point of view, but remember they aren't trying to depict our Thor. Comic-book Thor is an alien from an advanced world that flies around in spaceships, Bifrost is an Einstein-Rosenberg Bridge, Odin owns a Tesseract, and Asgard has bilgesnipes running around. So I find it difficult in the extreme to get my nose out of joint because Heimdall and Valkyrie are played by black actors. They're all aliens.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nod-and-Wink Nazis

Not processing to blót
This is a post that has been a long time coming, and I'm sure it's going to cost me a lot of friends and readers. Don't care. It needs to be said.

Folkish Asatru has a problem with what I call "nod-and-wink Nazis." Now, before the uni's and SJW's get all giddy in their jiggly bits and start saying "the Gardener has finally exposed Folkish Asatru for what it really is!", let me explain what I mean.

First and foremost, it's not all Folkish Asatruar. In fact, I think it's a distinct minority. But of course the uni's give them all the publicity they can possibly muster, in an attempt to paint the rest of us with that broad brush, thus distorting the reality.

But seriously, people. Just stop with the fetishizing of Nazi Germany. It's had its day. And that day ended in 1945. (And that goes tenfold for the actual Nazi roleplayers, with the uniforms and the salutes and the rest; just stop, you fucking morons, you're just hurting everything you claim to support.

Is that a Swastika
behind that Julleuchter?
How'd that get there?
There are the people who will take Nazi imagery and retool it into something that they can then say is innocuous. But we all know what it came from, and why you're using it. Even if you replace the swastika with an irminsul, or uruz rune, or something else, I know what you did, and so does everyone else.

When you take something, in modern usage, is only known because the SS popularized it, and say "but it's really an obscure 18th century Swedish design", I know what you did, and so does everyone else.

If you take a Waffen-SS poster and replace the SS runes with something else, but keep everything else the same or use photos of Waffen-SS soldiers in memes about "defending your folk", or say "Wotan mit uns" because you think nobody will know it's a play on Wehrmacht soldiers' belt buckles,  I know what you did, and so does everyone else.

If you use the straight-armed, clockwise-swastika, or if your color scheme is all red-white-black, or replicas of SS and SA dagger designs with the swastikas and eagles replaced by something else or the "black sun" symbol which was in Himmler's castle at Wewelsburg (and claim that you're reproducing an Allemanic brooch that has a lot fewer arms), I know what you did, and so does everyone else.

If you say "Sieg Heil!" at sumbel, and then turn around and say "I was just saying 'hail victory' using one of the ancient tongues of out ancestors" (despite those two words being the only ones spoken by you in any language other than English during an entire weekend), I know what you did, and so does everyone else.

And on and on and on.

Not found on an Allemanic brooch.
You're not being clever, you're not fooling anyone, and there's only two reasons to actually do it.

Reason the First: You're trying to signal to other people who know the original source, "hey, we're cool with the Nazis, but we know we have to change it a bit to make it socially acceptable and give us a thin veneer of deniability." You can tell people like this because, when called on it, they'll immediately try to downplay it and say it "really was more of a pre-Nazi thing" or whatever.

You're not being clever, and you're not fooling anyone.

Reason the Second: You're genuinely trying to reclaim some bit of Germanic lore or folk-practice that the Nazis appropriated and corrupted. Easily confused with the first, but with one essential difference; you come out and say how despicable the Nazis were, how awful it is that whatever-it-is became associated with National Socialism, and you explicitly say you're trying to reclaim it to expunge that taint.

See the difference?

Now, I'm not saying we as Folkish Asatruar, or Asatruar in general, or white people, need to constantly abase ourselves because of what happened in Germany between 1933 and 1945. That's patently absurd, any more than a modern Italian needs to constantly apologize for the Roman Empire having institutional slavery. It's in the past, everyone involved is dead, and it's time to move on.

But that's just it. Some people, it seems, don't want to move on.

On the Folkish side, there are some who really do sympathize with the Nazis. If that's you, don't fucking deny it. You know who you are. You'd be open with your admiration for Hitler and Himmler if you thought you could get away with it. If you hide it because you're afraid of the consequences, you're a fucking coward.

"When does the Führer sprinkle us with the mead?"
On the Uni side, there are some who are completely obsessed with the Nazis, and think that anyone to the right of Che Guevara is a crypto-Nazi. You try to constantly expand the definition of "Nazi", with the hope of tarring everyone you disagree with, with the taint associated with the label. But in reality you're just diluting the word to the point where it has no meaning. If you think Donald Trump (or Stephen McNallen) is literally a Nazi, you're deluded.

This bothers me both on an ideological and on a practical level.

On an ideological level, I genuinely believe it is possible to love my own folk and not hate, or want to exterminate, other folks. That includes not admiring ideologies like National Socialism that literally and legitimately did so.

That's another thing - the Nazis killed millions of Jews, and denying that fact, or quibbling about the number killed, is simply abhorrent. So is antisemitism and Jewish conspiracy-mongering. I find that as repellent as Marxists who try to ignore, downplay, or deny the fact that Marxism has killed a hundred million people in it's first century of existence. So, yay! You're supporting or apologizing for or defending an ideology that takes second place as the most murderous one in history instead of first. Congratulations.

On a practical level, you have so completely lost the "Hitler was the worst thing that ever happened" battle in the popular mindset that it's inconceivable that you think you're ever going to make any headway on that front. Yes, Marxism killed ten times as many people as Fascism. I tout that figure myself, but when I do it, it's in an attempt to clue people into the horrors of Marxism that many have forgotten since the fall of the Soviet Union. It's not an attempt to downplay the horrors of National Socialism.

You're not fooling anyone, and all you're doing is giving ammunition to the people who want to destroy Folkish Asatru, giving them a legitimate reason to say "they're all crypto-Nazis" because you insist on playing games with Nazi iconography. If your goal is to bring more people home to Asatru, slyly connecting it to what in most peoples' minds is the most horrific regime of the 20th century IS THE FUCKING WRONG WAY TO DO IT!!!

If you're going to be a fan of Hitler, at least have the balls to come out openly. Don't break out the Horst Wessel Leid after most people have left the event except the "trusted comrades" (and for fuck's sake stop calling people "comrade!"). Don't start playing the White Power bands at 1 AM, when most people have left the karaoke. You are doing nobody any favors.

Folkish does not mean racist. I mean it, and most of the people I know who call themselves folkish mean it too. Stop trying to be sly, and if you don't mean it, please understand you're not fooling anyone and just come out and admit you're not Folkish. You're racist, or National Socialist, or whateverthefuck you want to call yourself.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday YouTube Roundup - July 9, 2017

First, the ever-excellent Bearing discusses Salon's "latest abortion of an article", in his latest video 'Memes are a threat to democracy' warns Salon (LOL):

And in the "good news" department, The Thinkery tells us that New Jersey Lists Antifa As a Domestic Terrorist Organisation:

For all you Trump-loving MCU fans out there, here is the ultimate Trump-CNN meme:

And finally, Alfrothul Folkish Asatru from Spain just posted a beautiful video highlighting their Midsummer celebration:

See you next week!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday YouTube Roundup - July 2, 2017

Su-weet Jebus. Three in a row!

First off, we have the excellent Mr. Dapperton who dares to make the ultimate Politically Incorrect statement: STFU About Racism! It's Not A Big Deal! Oh you know some SJW heads are going to explode over this one.

One of the men (some would say the man, with some justification) responsible for the revival of Asatru in America, Stephen McNallen, unveils a new initiative in his latest video; The Wotan Network, "a project to awaken the European-descended peoples from their suicidal slumber." Go, Steve!

Finally, Holla gives us an introduction to the pagan origins of Frau Holle (aka Holde, Perchta, etc.) in a wonderful video entitled Frau Holle - Pagan Origins? Not a lot of people realize just how much pre-Christian mythology is just under the surface of a lot of those old folk-tales, and discovering that Holle is another name for the Norse goddess Frigg opens up a new dimension on how to approach Her, enriching our understanding of this often-overlooked goddess who is usually depicted quite one-dimensionally as a "goddess of the family." Holla's channel looks like it's just getting off the ground, so I'm happy to be able to give it some attention here.

And finally, for anyone who thinks that Alex Jones is anything other than a complete loon, I'll just leave you with this, courtesy of The Thinkery. NASA denies Martian slave labor camps:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Ten Commandments

So a few years ago, in an apparent attempt to squander hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending against lawsuits which will inevitably result in failure for the state, Arkansas passed a bill requiring that the ten commandments be posted in front of the statehouse. The bill was sponsored by State Sen. Jason Rapert.

Yesterday the monument was installed on the State House lawn.

Hours later, at 4:30 AM, before the ACLU even had a chance to submit its lawsuit*, an apparently mentally ill man that professes "for our salvation we must have faith in Jesus Christ"** rammed his vehicle into the monument and smashed it into a zillion pieces.

Now, naturally nobody should go around illegally smashing property; I'm very much against it, and I hope this guy gets the combination of hospitalization and jail time that he needs and deserves. But honestly, guys in the Arkansas state legislature, this was a losing proposition from the start. I find it hard to generate a lot of sympathy. Let's take a look at a few of the reasons why.

It doesn't serve its stated purpose

The monument during its brief period of verticality
State Sen. Jason Rapert, the Christian zealot behind this whole mess, has stated in the bill (and which was parroted by Christian commentator Todd Starnes) that the reason for putting the ten commandments on the Statehouse lawn is because:
The Ten Commandments, found in the Bible at Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, are an important component of the moral foundation of the laws and legal system of the United States of America and of the State of Arkansas

Which commandments would those be? Is there a law in Arkansas about only worshiping Jehovah of Sinai?

Will the police arrest anyone making a graven image?***

Christ on a Stick! Is there a law against taking the name of the "lord" in vain?

Will the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Arkansas Division) beat people who keep the Wal-Marts and fast food restaurants in Arkansas open on Sunday?

If a child tells their mother to go fuck themselves, will they end up in juvie?

Killing, yeah, and stealing, too, but both of those are hardly unique to the Ten Commandments, Christianity, or Judaism. In fact, I can't think of a culture that didn't prohibit those, including, especially, pagan cultures, so it hardly qualifies as an example of the ten commandments being "the moral foundation of the laws and legal system".

Adultery? Well, it's illegal in the UCMJ, yes, but you won't get locked up for it normally.

False witness? Yup, we've got perjury laws on the books, but see above about killing and stealing.

Coveting? That might be something Oceania's Thought Police might like to be able to arrest someone for, but in this country, it's not against the law to think. Yet.

So no. Nothing in those precious ten commandments has anything to do especially with "the moral foundation of the laws and legal system." In fact, if anything, our current system of law has much more to do with Germanic common law, inherited from the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, via the English colonies. You know, juries, personal rights, due process, that sort of thing that most people would normally associated with "the foundation of ... the legal system."

It's Inherently Sectarian

Most people don't realize that there are a lot more than one version of the ten commandments out there. Jews, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, they all have their own variations on the theme. You pick one for inclusion in an officially sanctioned and endorsed display by the state, and you explicitly establish whichever denomination of Christianity you picked (and let us not even consider for a moment that Rep. Rapert chose a Jewish version, because he didn't) over all the other ones, and all the Jewish denominations, you didn't pick.

Unless you carved one with a zillion footnotes with alternate versions, wordings, and so forth. But That doesn't make for a good, pithy, "my religion is what's important, not yours" statement, which is exactly what this stupid monument was intended to do.

It says "screw you" to the non-Christians

Pretty much by definition, if there's a monument that has been explicitly established by a state government, placed on government property, and that monument not only has the historical context of a particular religion, but actually says:
I AM the LORD thy god
Thou shalt have no other gods before me
You ain't my "lord" Jehovah of Sinai. You're just a jumped-up desert god from a foreign folk who somehow managed to glom onto a winning formula to lie to people and tell them you're the only god out there (although Asherah might have a word or two to say about that). And then turn right around and contradict yourself by admitting there are other gods. You might be a fine god for the Jews, but you make a piss-poor one for everyone else.

And the legislators in Arkansas, not caring at all, of course, stuck their finger in the eye of every Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Atheist, Shinto, Amerindian religious follower, Wiccan, neopagan, and of course Asatruar out there, among many others. But they don't care, because there are more Christians than the rest of us put together.

For now.

Fortunately the law is on our side, and the United States provides for protections against the sort of religious triumphalism that Rep. Rapert and his supporters were trying to impose. The reason we have individual rights and limitations on the powers of government is precisely to circumvent the sort of mob-rule mentality that says "there are more of us, so we can do what we want." It is precisely to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Republicans used to be all about that sort of thing. I hope they get back to that core principle.


* Which would win because, unlike the Texas monument it attempts to emulate, this hunk of granite isn't in the context of a whole bunch of similar displays from a variety of religions and sources.

** Insert you-must-be-mentally-ill-to-be-Christian joke here.

*** Consider here the irony of making a graven image of the Ten Commandments. Ahem.