Friday, June 14, 2013

Gods, Heroes, and Violins...

The recent pagan blogosphere explosion over comic book heroes being likened to gods as expressions of the same archetypal ideas is.....



Honestly, it's an old and trite conversation that anyone who's been around the pagan community more than 10 years has heard before, although perhaps not with this much vitriol.  Generally we have these sorts of conversations while trying out someones latest batch of home-brewed mead or something.  It's right up there with the same tired old "what is a pagan, really these days?" conversation that I'm not going to get into.

So here's my thinking on the subject, do with it what you will.

For "cerebral pagans" who intellectualize everything and analyze everything, it's a perfectly fine conversation to have, speculating on parallels.  Anyone can see that in many ways Superman is the Heracles mythos revamped for a more modern era.  Still, it's a fun intellectual exercise, but not really the basis for a serious philosophical approach to the pagan mysteries.

For a hard polytheist, it's a borderline insulting conversation.  Frankly, I can't imagine how ticked off I'd be if I was a hard polytheist who worshiped Thor, seeing the comic books, cartoons, and movies basically making a mockery of my personal deity.  If Christians started seeing Jesus action hero figurines, and Jesus comic books where he's less than perfect, portrayed as having faults, and showed his bare bottom, they'd probably be incensed.  Making a mockery of someone else's sacred and holy god/tradition/thing is just enormously assholic.

If the conversation were a little different, where Superman and the other comic book heroes were likened to heroic archetypes instead of gods, maybe the whole thing wouldn't have gotten quite so explosive.  But I think it's too late to interject a note of reason into the larger conversation stream, unfortunately.  I almost wasn't going to comment on it at all, really.

But on the way home from work tonight, I was listening to National Public Radio as usual, and the most interesting story was running.  It totally made my inner music geek sit up and squee with delight.  Story link is here:  Playing Mozart

In the story, people were talking with excited reverence about seeing, touching, and actually playing Mozart's instruments.  The real deal from the 18th century.  It made me realize that these people, while not worshiping Mozart as a god, were treating his instruments as almost holy relics.  This was literally the high point of some peoples lives, and I don't blame them for their feelings at all.  I mean geez, Mozart touched those!

In the story, there was a comment made that struck a huge nerve with me:  "They're quieter than modern instruments and produce less brilliantly colored tones. They force the audience to lean in to appreciate them."

Maybe we, as a pagan community need to remember that sometimes the louder and more flashy things aren't as precious as something that requires our energy to pay attention to.  Open all of your senses and revel in the glory of a sunrise, the next time you're up that early.  Give your first sip of tea or coffee in the morning all the attention of a devout monk in a cathedral listening to the Pope for the first time, and really enjoy the experience in all of its minute details.  Maybe by living a more reverential life, we can more easily treat each other with reverence.

But what do I know?  I'm just a guy whose first word was "Batman", after all.

Peace out, Witches.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a little girl I wanted to be Supermana (yes, with an 'a' at the end, so the other superheroes would know I was a girl).

    Anyway, in 2009, I wrote a post titled Paganism In Fiction: Glamour & Lightning Bolts? ( a discusses this topic when it comes to a particular series. I'm a lover of words, as you know, so for me it all lies in never forgetting that what the screen shows is fiction. Like you said, we need to listen beyond Hollywood's thunder (and the stupid hammer they gave the Thor character).

    What these people are portraying is not the gods Pagans know and respect, so I just ignore them.

    So your first word was "Batman?" What a man!