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from the current-transmission dept.
What is it that makes Magickians appear on TV?
That's the question left hanging in the air after England’s BBC2 regaled us with ceremonial magickians making the sacred appear mundane.
TV is a visual form, and there are going to be two outcomes, they bang on lots of effects a la Dennis Wheatley, or you get like a bunch of flakes waving their arms around.
This latest documentary chose the latter approach. Internal working doesn’t really convey on a flat screen and any Magickian worth their salt, sulphur or mercury should have worked that out.
The main group the documentary focused on were nerds dressed in bad jumpers. To compound matters they had a new initiate stumbling through the GHR repeating the lines like a scared bride on camera, and quite obviously twitchy as a cat with the ritual. Whatever was happening in ritual terms didn’t show up. What were they thinking? Are documentary makers wielding kirilian cameras? Is the experience of gnosis really going to be conveyed? Is initiation good TV?
You could feel the producer's delight when they discovered one of the group was undergoing gender re-alignment surgery, had done a runner, and subsequently been dragged back to the group by the employment of a goetic spook. Aha! it must be the severely troubled who resort to fiddling about with magick -– and the severely dim who don’t realise how lame this looks to the passive telly audience raised on Buffy where a few words and a bit of hand holding bring on the pyrotechnics.
In addition Mogg Morgan of Mandrake hosted a dinner party filled with pontificating windbags and showed the kind of conversation that a middle class dinner party would have about the ‘black arts’. This ‘give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves’ technique works beautifully with a bit of work in the editing suite.
Rodney Orpheus to his credit did a fine job, and talked sense realising that other forms of magick, such as rock and roll, are far more effective ways of interfacing with the media and public than po-faced western ceremonial shennanigans. This is where the lesson lies.
The Media generally uses three angles on Magick.
One is the Doreen Valiente, the slightly sneering ‘she used to be secretary’ approach. With this, you highlight the mundane aspects of the practitioner whether that’s bad housing, lack of education or sartorial elegance. The message is that magick is for the slightly batty and largely about self delusion. Straight documentaries will favour this message, and very often this is the case.
Two is the ‘some magic is harmless’ angle. So astrologers, fantasy novelists, healers, crystal workers and a million publicity hungry white witches with improbable surnames selling their velour spell books on daytime TV are OK. If you want to get this kind of coverage, get a product, dress in white and stress what a harmless bunny you are.
Three is the Genesis P Orridge / Gerald Suster / AC / Tim Leary approach. This is an attack on Magickians using moral outrage to sell product. The press stress that these are evil black mages boiling cats, cursing and partaking of lewd sex acts simultaneously. Very often this is the case.
So why do Magickians appear on TV?
Stupidity and Ego is one explanation, and Modern magick is stuffed to the gills with the self-important, the deluded and the pointless.
Another reason is an attempt to ‘out’ Magick and turn it from a secret art to an acceptable lifestyle choice. The smiling ‘Hey, we don’t really sacrifice kids’ does get a little complicated by the fact that, to the profane, lots of what we do looks very wrong, if not down right satanic.
The unconscious often wears terrifying masks. Ra Hoor Khuit is not a fluffy bunny, the lessons of Karma learned from Maat are hardly tranquil and nature is red and tooth and claw. Magick is about the uncomfortable whole (that includes the bunnies). Magick is a terrorist threat to concensus reality.
You can guess how this would get made into mass media can’t you? All of you still waiting for a sympathetic film on Crowley please take note.
So, we have Marilyn Manson to take over the showmanship of dead La Vey with cartoon Satanism for popular consumption. We have wicca pushing for more TV and Magick is feeling the need to be a brand behind the unicursal hexagram and the dove from above.
I favour the Ra Hoor Khuit approach to the media of, ‘lurk, withdraw, upon them’. If you want to manipulate the media, putting on the funny hats and inviting them into the circle is not the way. Apply your Art.
Good Magick is sexy, dramatic and powerful, but the lesson from the idiot box, is that this has not been learned by the bells and smells crew.The model of the Hashishin is far more use to the technologically adept than the cudgel of religion. If you are drawn to it then takeover the media rather than be passively controlled by their magick.
We can do far far better than this.
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