Sounds like a bad B movie, doesn’t it? I had planned to write a post today about Heroic values and someone who is embracing those values to change their life. It was a story of hope, inspiration and the good things that people on the liminal edges of Paganism are doing. Well, you’re getting that tomorrow, because I clicked onto Facebook today to find Christian Day has weighed in on the Charlie Sheen meltdown with that paragon of journalism: TMZ.
Straight off: I don’t know Christian Day. We’re connected on Facebook and I’ve only ever heard good things about him and his work. My opinion of him has always been vaguely favorable and I have always wanted to visit his shop in Salem. His reclamation of the word “Warlock” is unusual but that’s his business not mine.
Yet I’m seriously disturbed by his decision to talk to TMZ because a celebrity in the midst of a public meltdown said something weird that included the word warlock. Here’s the audio(relevant bit starts at 11:30 mark):[audio:http://tmz.vo.llnwd.net/o28/newsdesk/tmz_audio/022411_sheen.mp3]
From this audio clip I can’t tell if Christian is upset because he’s expressing his “awesomeness”, or as he would say it “gnarlyness”, by calling himself a “vatican assassin warlock”, which is apparently due to a weird rumor about Sheen that he has chosen to embrace. He’s using the word with pride, much in the same way he says he has tigerblood and he is “winning” despite publicly losing everything.
So why is Christian upset? Because his going to TMZ in a state of indignation resembles the type of publicity stunts that have caused many of us to distance ourselves from folks like Kevin Carlyon. His story in TMZ does our community no good. We derive no benefit from it. This story hurts the Pagan community while increasing Christian’s flash and pizazz. Maybe Christian wants to be Occult Advisor to the Stars! Yet he’s effectively alienated a large number of folks who would have supported him prior to this shenanigan.
Something I heard several times from Reconstructionists, Heathens and other folks at PantheaCon and afterwards is that they don’t identify as Pagan because there is so much in the Pagan community they want to distance themselves from. I’m an oddball in my particular tradition for identifying as both Pagan and Wiccan, because many folks in my trad shun anything Pagan because they don’t want to be associated with the nonsense that sometimes falls under that name.
Personally, I’ve witnessed a lot of nonsense over the years, but this morning seeing the press having a field day with Christian’s TMZ story, I felt my soul withdraw. I don’t want to be associated with this three ring circus. Creating a media circus that doesn’t serve our community, but actually undoes all the good work we’ve done with mainstream media is totally innappropriate. Christian’s Facebook page is all full of exultation from himself and his fans, and he obviously has no clue what kind of damage he’s done.
It’s going to take me some time to work through my anger and disappointment. How can I be a cheerleader of a broad inclusive Pan-Pagan community when this entire story makes my flesh crawl?