A Clarification

I’ve been seeing this really weird idea floating around as I wander through blogs. The scuffle that occurred over May and June is being presented as a polytheist vs. non-polytheist debate, or a humanist vs. polytheist scuffle, or a Pagan vs. polytheist fight – and that’s not what happened. Whatever the fight developed into, it didn’t start that way, and attempting to present that it did is either purposefully or unintentionally dishonest. (In which case, the ‘polytheist side’ really needs to educate themselves better.)

Thankfully, I was actually aware and reading with the fight began. And it started because polytheists were calling other people’s religions ‘make believe’, ‘pretend time’, and otherwise being insulting. They were erasing arguments and practices that conflicted with the either/or presentation they preferred, and when that was pointed out simply stuck their fingers in their ears and refused to listen. This developed into more hostile rhetoric and eventually spiraled into online harassment of anyone who voiced dissent, to threats, to lies about the ‘other side’ (read: any person who was not a close friend or supporting voice).

They continued to misrepresent arguments in order to make their own appear more legitimate, and they continue to do so.

They created a hostile environment and became more hostile when that was pointed out.

Rather than engaging debate, critical thought, or anything productive – this ‘issue’ was spun out of control because a few egos got bruised and were too cowardly to admit that.

This started because someone voiced an idea that a big name polytheist didn’t like, and then ‘lines were drawn’ because having people doing something different is just too scary (apparently). Actually, that’s really what the ‘conversation’ devolved into – anyone doing something different from the polytheists is bad, bad, bad because we all need to bow down and kiss the feet of the big name polytheists, I mean their gods (I can’t tell anymore). I’m not even making that up. I don’t think I could make it up, cause I wouldn’t have thought to before this happened. Now, ‘polytheist’ will always make me suspicious – after all, I don’t know who’s going to lie, speak over me, harass me, or otherwise be unethical just because they place themselves above the gods they claim to love so much. Nobody forced anyone to be rude or cyberstalk others. The ‘polytheist side’ did a great job of engaging is poor behavior all on their own.

Go ahead, keep trying to spin the issue in your own favor – but google is a lovely, awful lady and the internet doesn’t forget. How’s that for a modern culture curse?

If you want to complain about my tone, I sure as heck hope you’ve complained about the repulsive rhetoric from ‘the other side’ often and loudly, or else I’ll laugh you out of the comments. One thing I love about my religion is reciprocity, which means I return behavior that has been given, and this return has been a long time coming.

(Unsurprisingly, I’m not linking to anything because there is no need to give pageviews to trolls who scream the most offensive statements they can when people stop paying attention to them. I’m also not linking to anyone who gives a pass to that behavior, which is – oh, most polytheists I know. I can love ya while also acknowledging the incredibly problematic stuff you do.)

About Aine

Aine Llewellyn is a 20 year old girl creature currently mucking about in southern Arizona. She enjoys the winters and rain but can’t stand the heat. She is a difficult polytheist that natters on and on about her faith.

  • JasonMankey

    “And it started because polytheists were calling other people’s religions
    ‘make believe’, ‘pretend time’, and otherwise being insulting.”

    I agree with most of that, but it would have been safer to say “some” or “a few polytheists . . . .” I’m a polytheist and found myself completely disagreeing with those seeking a limited definition of Paganism.

    • Aine

      Good point and I should have written that better! I’m a polytheist too, though I’m less inclined to id as one after what happened.

      Although, according to many of those polytheists involved in the debate, I’m not a ~real~ polytheist anyway! But, you’re very right that it was only a few that really pitched a fit.

  • Conor O’Bryan Warren

    Aine, stop with this nonsense and go back to writing about what you actually love and cherish.This is dead and stinking.

    And don’t talk about rudeness. You randomly unfriended and blocked me with nary an explanation when I wanted nothing more than to be your friend.

    • Aine

      You condone unethical behavior. That’s enough for me to unfriend you. That you think you deserve an explanation when you actively support someone who harasses and threatens others is pretty entitled.

      When polytheists accept responsibility and stop defending harassment and threats, I’ll shut up. Until then – work on getting your coreligionists to stop lying.

      I don’t hang out with people who support threats and bullies. Which you do.

      I appreciate that you will tell me to shut up and move on when I post a summary, but you didn’t do so for the two months before when people were being harassed. As I said in the post, unless you complained about the tone that was taken over May-June, don’t complain here – or I’ll laugh you out of the comments.

      • Conor O’Bryan Warren

        Allow me to explain a few things for you.

        First, lets start with the radio program which seems to be the source of this. I had Sannion booked to be on the show for sometime before this whole issue started. Once you have someone booked, you keep them on that booking unless they do something really awful like call someone a faggot or use the N-word, after that it is fairly acceptable to drop them because it is a PR thing. For my show professionalism had to (and will continue) to come first before my own personal feelings, and just because someone makes an appearance on a show does not mean that the host necessarily agrees with everything they have said or done. Take Jon Stewart as an example, he FREQUENTLY has Bill O’Reiley on his program and they definitely don’t see eye to eye on A LOT of stuff, yet they are cordial and have nice chats with each other. That is the way a host is supposed to behave. The aim of the show was to present Dionysian information and that is what was done.

        Secondly, lets move onto that whole issue itself through May and June. As you may recall from our Facebook chats (which I found enjoyable) I was in a professional show from May through June and working part time at the bookstore with about 3-4 hours of commuting on top of that. I didn’t have the time to keep up with this whole debate or issue until about mid-June when it was already pretty much dead. I did manage to leave a few comments here or there, but you will notice that the majority of them were not inflammatory or meaning to lead into debate or argument. I simply didn’t have the time to be getting into online debates OR have time to keep up with the jillions of blog posts. I did however make a post in which I explicitly stated that I am disgusted with BOTH SIDES of this debate. (And I can link you to the post if you want)

        Thirdly, I do not and never said I condone everything that Sannion says or does. His approach on this issue was lackluster to say the least, but I also have been reading him for some time and was therefore aware that even if he was posting some material that I didn’t agree with that he would soon be back to posting interesting information and things that I could actually learn from. It isn’t like I’m asking him to hang out with me every weekend or you know having discussions with him about why he loves football or how he feels about playing online games or what ‘ugliness’ or ‘beauty’ really is.

        I didn’t see/read harassment or threats, I didn’t read or see people lying, I didn’t get to keep my nose to this issue because I didn’t have the time. I spent a lot of the time I had online talking to people who I thought were cool and or interesting folks, and you may note that I spent a good deal of time talking with you. You’ve done this weird trick where you’ve there-by sorted people into opposing teams without realizing that some people aren’t *on* a team. After all, I did have you scheduled to be a guest too before you backed out.

        And it is unfathomably rude and offensive to just block someone and drop them when you and that person were having pleasant and nice conversations and, I dunno, confiding certain things in each other. It would have been kind and polite to at least give an explanation.

        Some people just can’t help but to like people Aine, and there isn’t a lot that can be done to change that.

        • Conor O’Bryan Warren

          And I’d also like to point out that I never told you to shut up and move on. I said to go back to writing what you love and cherish because clearly fixating on this isn’t making you any happier.

          • Aine

            No, I’m not usually happy when I see people lying and hurting others. Nor am I very happy when I see people refuse to take responsibility…or claim that supporting someone isn’t…actually…supporting someone.

            Writing about an issue is not fixating on it.

          • Conor O’Bryan Warren

            How am I supporting anyone? I’m supporting my show and acting in its best interest and nothing else. I’m having John Beckett on tomorrow, are you going to blacklist him because he is ‘supporting’ me by appearing, and because you’ve apparently given him the status of enemy? I act on the best interest of my show and of my listeners and that requires a degree of professionalism.

            And again, I reiterate, I acted on the knowledge that I knew and that I had at the time, I have no clue about what lying or harassment or bullying you are talking about *because I did not keep close tabs on everything* and I sure as hell didn’t sift through thousands of comments.

          • Aine

            I /told you/ about the bullying and harassment.

            I don’t actually think you’re an enemy. I think you supported someone very problematic and continue to excuse poor behavior rather than working for change. that doesn’t mean you’re an enemy. It does mean I don’t want you to be a FB friend.

            Blocking on you FB =/= blacklisting. You’re still able to comment here (slowly approaching the point where you won’t be able to, though).

          • Conor O’Bryan Warren

            How am I excusing poor behavior? Did I say it is alright to bully and harass people? Did I say it is alright to say you would willingly force people to convert? Never once did I say that. I did say I knew that he was trying to be a troll and aggravate people. I was not saying that all the actions he took were okay or appropriate, but I know how he is and I know how he would react and frankly I don’t care about him enough to give a shit and reach out and say Sannion, bro chill out. I cared about the knowledge inside his head. He is the most knowledgeable Dionysian I know, and any distaste for his actions was overshadowed by the fact that he had information that I wanted put out on the air. Discussing his behavior and actions with him was of no importance to me because he is not a person I’m seeking to cultivate a friendship with, he is not a person who belongs to my Demos, he is not related to me by blood, and he is not a permanent professional contact.

            Him appearing on my show isn’t condoning his behavior anymore than Bill appearing on Jon Stewart’s show is indicative of Jon condoning Bill’s homophobia.

          • Aine

            “… any distaste for his actions was overshadowed by the fact that he had information that I wanted put out on the air.”

            And that is exactly why I can’t support you, and why I unfriended you. As much as that might hurt, I have boundaries and ethics, and I care more about them than about someone who friended me on FB.

          • Conor O’Bryan Warren

            Then do you also not watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart? Because he did the same thing I did. As well as a variety of other TV and Radio Hosts and personalities.

            If you can’t understand the concept of professional versus personal then I can’t help that and it is what it is. I reached out, I tried, but I’ve done all I can do. If you don’t get it and take it personally then there is no helping that. But watch out Aine, you are pushing yourself into a corner. You might eventually find you’ve burnt too many bridges.

          • Aine

            I don’t. I don’t watch or listen to tv or radio personalities because I don’t find them to be very useful or entertaining.

            You’re the one that has constantly brought up how ~awful~ it is that I blocked you on FB. I think we know who’s taking this personally. I simply don’t think we should support toxic people in our communities, no matter what their knowledge base is. You disagree. I don’t want to be friends with someone like that. Easy solution to that problem!

          • Conor O’Bryan Warren

            Yeah, I did take you blocking me personally or I wouldn’t have brought it up otherwise? I’m saying you took my ‘professional’ decision and confused it for a ‘personal’ one. My show is a reflection of a personal ethic of mine though, that knowledge and information is a powerful and wonderful thing and if bringing and I’m going to continue to bring that to people.

            Anyway, this is the last comment I’m leaving here. You’ve shown what kind of person you are quite fully, so I’m done here. Good luck Aine, you’ll need it.

          • Aine

            I probably won’t, since my luck is already pretty great ;)

          • Urban Pooka

            Sir, given that you took what was a personal matter and decided it hash it out in public, you are undoubtedly showing some of your own “character.” I wish you the best of luck in handling your business affairs. May they be handled with the great depth of class you have shown here!