Friday, October 19, 2018

Satan is a just metaphor, Anton LaVey was just a man

Badness had nothing to do with it


In the most recent episode of American Horror Story, Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey, is portrayed as one of the villains, literally worshiping the devil, consorting with the fictitious bad guys, and establishing himself as a force of evil in that supernatural universe.

None of this, of course, is accurate or even tangentially related to reality. LaVey was a lot of things, and there is still alleged controversy over the verisimilitude of his official biography, but the man was a solid atheist, and his books clearly posit Satan as a symbolic figure. One of the cornerstones of Satanism is that individuals are their own sources of salvation and judgment. Ritual is psychodrama meant to purge or focus emotions. Magic is a polite term for the ability to use diplomacy for interpersonal advantage. This is all documented and on the level.

Editor's Note: And then there's this bullshit

I have no interest in making you read a love letter to Anton LaVey. But ask more of your horror before letting this pass as acceptable.  Devil worshiping villains are classic go-to‘s in horror entertainment. From The Black Cat to Curse of the Demon, they make entertaining, compelling antagonists. But those are fictional characters, even if inspired by certain real life figures. You don’t have to like Anton LaVey to see that this kind of treatment is beneath the medium. If you have affection for the guy, this is bad enough. If you oppose him, it’s even worse. I like a good attack to be completely rooted in accuracy. If someone wants to depict Harvey Weinstein badly, I want to make sure that the audiences who walk away with negative impressions of him have those impressions based on the many horrible things he really did and said. Because you can and should get away with exposing people who do rotten things. It’s a job of journalism, and if done well, a job of art.

I suspect that some of the justification is a variation of “come on, a guy who puts on horns and a cape and stands in front of inverted pentagrams is not exactly portraying himself as a Boy Scout.”

In other words, because he dresses that way, he’s asking for it? Isn’t that the thinking that would really be behind that sort of attitude? Good luck with that in 2018.

You don’t see Stan Against Evil pulling that one. 

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