The superhero debate has reached a new high

I honestly wasn’t going to comment on this again until the show. Honestly. But then I came across the further commentary of Taylor Ellwood and Aine and the real pièce de résistance which I’m going to be addressing from here on out (the other links were just a special kind of special so I wanted to share them) this post called Sippin’ On Dat Haterade (Or: Why Pagans Can Be Worse Than Fundamentalists).

Yup. I’ll let that one sink in for a second.

No, you did read that right. Polytheists making a bunch of blog posts saying, “I don’t think honoring comic book characters is really the same thing as ancient hero worship,” and maybe a couple fed-up “Oh my god, I can’t believe how stupid these people are being!” screeds is worse than fundamentalism.

Look, we all know in the post 9/11 world that when you drop the f-bomb you aren’t talking about some red-faced Southern gentleman letting his mad oratorical skills fly from the pulpit or a Chasid sporting curls and a bitchin’ fur hat as he hurries home for Shabbos.


When you call someone a fundamentalist you’re suggesting that they’re of a type with folks who set off shrapnel bombs in crowded discotheques and board buses full of children with dynamite strapped to their chests. People who beat their sons until they’re unrecognizable because they have the taint of Sodom in them. People who cut off their daughters’ clitorises. People who riot in the streets over Hollywood movies. People who make other people disappear in the middle of the night to send a message to all those uppity minorities that are encroaching on and assailing them.

You think we’re actually worse than those people because we have said that we don’t believe in your imaginary friends?

Fuck you.

No, seriously. Fuck you.

Learn to debate without resorting to ad hominems and other conversation-derailing tactics. Get over the fact that people are going to disagree with you, especially if you hold unconventional beliefs. Just because we think you’re wrong doesn’t necessarily mean that you are. If you were secure in your beliefs it wouldn’t matter to you what we believed about your beliefs. And lastly, don’t insult the actual victims of such evil men by throwing that word around so casually. You aren’t being persecuted because someone else refuses to validate your existence.

Grow the fuck up people.

Or don’t. I don’t really care.

Once everyone’s done bitching about this some of us are going to go back and offer cultus to gods and heroes and some of us are gonna go back to writing sigils in our cum on glossy photos of Justin Bieber or whatever passes for pop occulture and chaos majik these days. (I may be mistaken on the specifics — all I know about these practices come from the pages of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore comics. Good thing comics are full of all kinds of magical and mythical truths, huh?)

I’d say that there are already clear winners and losers here, but when some of us can’t tell the difference between this:


And this:




And this:


There are no winners.

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28 thoughts on “The superhero debate has reached a new high

  1. Galina

    I read the last link you posted and it’s clear that some of these people can’t tell the difference not just between fiction and reality but between magic –or what in their world passes for it—and devotion. What it comes down to, I more and more think, is those that have experienced the Gods first hand and those that haven’t. that’s not the only issue coming to the fore here, but it’s one of them. There’s also the socially focused vs. the devotionally focused, and those willing to admit that we’re not all starting on an equal playing field (some of us have direct experience, some of us are more skilled, etc. etc.) and those that want to keep all of this in the subjective realm of feelings and personal preferences. Well there is a right way to do things. The Gods are not metaphors. They’re not god damned fucking archetypes. I’m sorry that some people can’t seem to tell the difference between fiction and actual Deities but arguing with them is like killing a hamster with a bazooka.

    these attitudes sicken me and I consider them one of the reasons why restoration of our traditions is a matter of two steps forward and five back. NOw i’m off to make an offering to Sterculinus, the God of doing useful things with shit, because really, reading those links was like wading in it.


  2. I’ve given up on this ‘debate’ entirely. It isn’t a debate, it is people yelling that they are right. It has a lot to do with speaking different religious languages and that gulf is going to generate a hugeamount of tension ( No one is going to be swayed or convinced, this is too ‘charged’ and too colored by whether you come from a Neo-Pagan/’Magickal’ viewpoint or from a Devotional/Historical viewpoint. I really think this is just something that is pointless to debate. You won’t start worshiping superheroes, and you aren’t going to convince someone who sees the Gods as archetypes otherwise unless they have an experience or are ready to make that transition. It provides some satisfaction to ‘call’ these folks out, but it is a superficial satisfaction because it creates a destructive conflict and not a constructive conflict. Everyone is just circle-jerking each other.

    I stand by my opinions of course, but I’ve personally decided that it isn’t worth arguing.


    • I’m not sure this was ever really a debate but it definitely stopped being one about 36 hours into it which is why I stopped keeping tabs on the thing and posting round-ups of what was said. Because basically what you’ve got are two groups of people standing opposite each other shouting incoherently. It may look like they’re arguing from a distance, but the closer you get the clearer it becomes that they’re not engaging with each other even the slightest bit. No one is responding to what others are saying — they’re just rattling off a bunch of talking points, complete with stereotyped examples — without any indication that they’re even aware other people are there. It’s kind of spooky in a way. But on the other hand it demonstrates the faultlines that exist within our communities. Ignoring the existence of these things hasn’t done us any good. Frankly I think people need to be agitated to the point that they can’t stand each other any longer so that they will go off and build their own communities and live in peace and comfort with their own kind. So I’m going to keep encouraging this stuff — but I’ll also remind people to show proper civility and decorum while engaging in them. There’s just never a good excuse for bad manners.


      • Oh yeah, I’m definitely not ignoring the hidden divisions that only arise during controversy, but I also think that we need to get to a sizeable point before we are actually able to organically form our own communities.

        As for that guy, I did not appreciate the ad hominem attacks as a means of dismissal. I guess when a person has some social awareness and a concept of what will encourage or discourage at least nominal acceptance by society, they have to be a young teenage kid who gets picked on, right? Because that is the only reasonable answer. . .


        • Ashley Moore

          its a glaring sign of immaturity, regardless of physical age. lol like bickering over the internet ever did anything. oh yeah..ITS JUST THE END OF EVERYTHING FOR EVER.

          isn’t it weird to anyone else this is popping up on memorial day weekend? guess batman died for our sins again.


  3. I just posted about this thing on my blog a moment ago. While I think that discussion like these can and should be helpful, I’m really shocked how few people are really willing to engage with the core issues and work through the logic. There is a lot of ego defense and name calling, and it’s stuff like that that really turns me off of Internet Paganism.


  4. I think this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen (from both sides, really). Why should I care? That’s the part nobody seems to be telling me. The first question you’re supposed to answer with any piece of writing is “so what?” I’m surprised and not surprised by how far this has gone (gods damn the entire Internet, even the fun stuff). I really wish we could solve this the old Hellenic way by throwing two armies against one another and see who gets more bloodied. Then at least we’d be done. / end rant


    • To be fair Pete, your solution to just about everything is fighting.
      A fist-fight would solve which cake is better right, Carrot or German?
      One of those UFC guys has to like German Chocolate. . .


      • And so then German chocolate is best. Settled!


        • Well no, what if there is a UFC guy that likes carrot cake? This could really embroil the nation


          • Well then we’ll all have to watch pay-per view to find out which cake wins, eh? Then they’ll have enough money to make the world’s largest and best cake.


            • This needs to be done.
              Can you imagine the money?
              I’d be able to pay off my student loans.
              UFC CAKEFIGHT I


  5. Sons of the Batman

    haha. I really don’t feel persecuted. And I think of fundamentalists more in the Pat Robertson vein, so…. Sorry I made you feel like a terrorist?

    Read into this line:

    “sannion has a beard. make your assumptions, now, please.”

    Terror is scary.


    • Ashley Moore

      hm… display of evident inability to understand severity of terms and saying further inflammatory statements clearly designed to garner a reaction. random psychological references to try to validate silly notions. using christian examples as being negative (like pat robertson) to dismiss misuse of term while employing christian iconography on there website and purposely calling out random figures who disagree with overt fandom out of control without actually proving anything…


      well played sir.


    • A fundamentalist like Pat Robertson still spills hate speech. A fundamentalist like Pat Robertson has still insulted and trivialized the suffering of millions by suggestion that natural disasters and famines are what those people deserve. Fundamentalists who like the works of Pat Robertson have killed abortion doctors, homosexuals, and just innocent passersby.

      Just because Pat Robertson is less terrifying then a terrorist, doesn’t make using ad hominems you don’t even realize the weight of any better. The fact that you try to laugh it off because you were misunderstood? Makes it worse…more so when you realize even what you apparently meant is still messed up.


      • Ashley Moore

        so your telling me that sannion came to your door with a gun, shot and killed your entire family for not being a ‘true pagan’ and for having a wacko alter to batman? that he is in motion in government to make laws that prevent you from having insurance and healthcare? because seriously, are you listening to yourself? that somehow sannion is mobilizing a militia of anti-batmanners to come and take you all in the night? that all of us on this blog are spreading hate speech that will inevitably lead to your demise and brutalization in the name of anti-supermanning? laws will be made against you, you never have good jobs, no family, and be murdered in the streets!

        the humanity.

        are you seriously that paranoid that an internet bickering session about fandom gone haywire is AT ALL the same as even a low level funde like ole patty or anything even more serious? or even the seriousness of anything more hateful? because my original post remains the same, if you are infact addressing me. THIS is a huge problem right here. using a term like ‘fundementalist’ is just a sign of not understanding the term, and designed to get a reaction. and even still, now what? internet points? troll badges? what does any of this whining prove?

        no one is arguing ole pat doesn’t use hate speech nor the legitimacy of his particular brand of madness. just that its ridiculous to use him as an example, considering this commenters subject matter and also again, as i stated, its inflammatory and set up to garner a reaction. its like calling someone a nazi, it does the same thing. calling something ‘silly’ and ‘disrespectful’ (because it truly is) is certainly not hate speech nor is proving why it is. its blowing criticism and a differing opinion up to the proportion of a witch hunt and spiritual terrorism. this also screams of someone who cannot handle any criticism or anyone disagreeing with them whatsoever and thats dangerous, in MY opinion. i do not know if you refer directly to me or sannion considering this was a reply to my particular comment, but you do understand the weight of ridiculousness this becomes when you act in such a over the top manner. that this is acceptable behavior towards a bunch of people who see worshiping batman as a real hero and worthy of veneration like a deity or a hero of ancient variety (hellenic initially) as being disrespectful to REAL gods and REAL heroes and pointing out its silliness and the misunderstanding a ‘mythic’ (by ancient definition) idea of hero is somehow hateful and terroristic. batman can be inspiring all he wants, but it gets ridiculous and its simply fandom WAY out of control and thats reality; this very quickly becomes a argument of reality versus fantasy, which would probably be more acceptable had not all this degrade to meandering asininity’s. this i find to be truly fucked up in alot of regards, but notice not once have i said any of these people in any of these articles were wastes of skin, deserved to suffer or anything else that would be ‘ad hominum’ worthy, which i know is JUST the thing to say. because everyone is just SO oppressed. this is something ole patty would do, no one here has done that.

        notice, none of this is absolutely hate speech whatsoever. i am not saying your life is a waste or horrible or anything, just that this particular comic land view is ludicrous to me and i am offended by it, however i can handle my emotions like an adult and not say ‘haterade’ like its a legitimate term. i am not chanting evil evil burn burn and coming to peoples doors and harassing them either. yes i suppose that makes US the ‘goofyass’ for not feeling more oppressed by detractors and for not having a shrine to a cartoon character. having a view such as the one linked by the sons of batman, in my opinion, is SO disrespectful that it just destroys itself. but see? life doesn’t end because i disagree NOR does my detracting opinion destroy this individual, this gets more crazy the deeper it goes and it was already crazy enough to me that loki wearing green spandex and golden lizard speedo was somehow okay. refer to galinas post for any further questions. i don’t need to repeat whats already written here.

        criticism is not hate speech my friend, nor is pointing out errant and blatant flaws in its logic.

        all of this is messed up and truly ridiculous. my ORIGINAL comments when all this started (way back there on this blog, way before this entry) remains thusly.


  6. Huh…bwuh…eh…

    I’m done. This is fucking ridiculous. I had a post I was working on and wiped it because there’s no point, as fathergia pointed out. And as Sannion said, if we REALLY have to explain the difference between a god (who is NOT an imaginary being) and a fictional superhero…and how you can’t even explain how they’re on completely different levels from any perspective you look at it…there are no winners.

    Everyone has a right to worship or believe as they choose. That has never really been in question and how personal feelings regarding other people’s personal worship come into play really doesn’t matter. No one has a right to tell you what to believe. It’s the appropriation of traditions that are barely understood by those appropriating them that has struck a nerve, at least with me. If you’re going to do something, call it like it is and don’t take someone else’s sacred practice and blaspheme with it. This may not be the intention of others, but this is how it feels to at least some of us.

    Stories are sacred, as Dver has posted over and over again. That is also not in question. See above.

    I’m taking up Jack’s challenge and writing on the practices of the Hero Cults. Jack has been the only sane voice I’ve heard on the opposite side of this argument.

    And calling someone who regularly stands up for equal treatment of other pagans and polytheists, who demands respect for more disenfranchised pagans like ChristoPagans…calling that person a fundamentalist? Seriously. Just no.



    • Ashley Moore


      “It’s the appropriation of traditions that are barely understood by those appropriating them that has struck a nerve, at least with me. If you’re going to do something, call it like it is and don’t take someone else’s sacred practice and blaspheme with it. This may not be the intention of others, but this is how it feels to at least some of us.”

      THIS. THIS. BLOODY FUCKING THIS. intention does not matter, its what is done in blatant disregard that matters. appropriation is the KEY WORD.

      this is quite possibly the calling card of EVERY SINGLE APPROPRIATIVE thing done in paganism FOREVER. everything, from maya/aztec/tolec/olmec traditions to appropriating hindu terminology/practices to different first nations indigeny (put into an ignorant umbrella ‘native american spirituality’ terms, which is such bullshit) to african diaspora traditions ripped to shreds, the list goes on and on forever.

      i cannot even GET into these problems because i am still reeling over the mindfuck that is all of this.
      thank you for talking about this in such a succinct way because i haven’t even been able to get this far with how much my brain hurts.


    • Rose

      Nicely stated…


  7. I have a post I started writing exploring the idea and question of fundamentalism in Paganism, and what I saw as being that and not. I might go back to that and start writing on it again.


  8. What also kills me is that this weekend I will be honoring heroes who gave up their lives and I am being told that Batman is as worthy of honor as they are. Batman did not storm the beach at Normandy, put his life on the line in the trenches in WWI or Korea, and never gave all in Afghanistan, Iraq, or the countless places our soldiers have been put in harm’s way. The idea that Batman is in any way, shape, or form as worthy of reverence as those whose graves should be clean, stories should be told, and lives honored brings bile to my throat.


  9. yeah, some of us have a real issue with Pat Robertson. Not me of course–he attributes all of the hurricanes and tornadoes to the homosexuals. So, apparently, I control the weather.

    I’ll take that.

    Of course Batman is holy!!! Didn’t any of you ever watch the old Adam West tv show? It was always “Holy *this* Batman!” and “Holy *that* Batman!”

    “the taint of Sodom.” Sounds like a band name. “Please welcome to the stage, Indigo Celeste and the Taint of Sodom!!!” It’s mine now, sorry. :)


  10. Pingback: What Constitutes Pagan Fundamentalism? | Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

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