I do still think that when there is no further evidence against a person but only this, that a specter in their shape does afflict a neighbor, that evidence is not enough to convict them of witchcraft.
That the devils have a natural power which makes them capable of exhibiting what shape they please, I suppose nobody doubts, and I have no absolute promise of God that they shall not exhibit mine. – Cotton Mather(1663 –1728) New England Puritan minister.
That kind of reasoning – a generous description, is still very much with us and the rest of the world. Acknowledging that there ain’t so such thing as the perfectly rational human being. To our credit in western civilization, we presently stop short of torturing or burning anyone who, like Cotton, just knew deep down, a gut reaction if you will, that someone was a witch. In the place of witches we now have people who the Cotton Mathers of modern society “have no absolute promise of God” are not feminists, socialists, antichrists, communists, progressives, liberals or the undesirable ethnicity of the month. All routinely burned metaphorically at the stake. If you own a media company or consulting business burning at the stake is at least as profitable now as is was in the 16 and early 1700s. So it goes to counter the beating Romney is taking for his history of vulture capitalism. He and his team of Cotton Mathers plan to revive the same attacks on Obama that McCain and Palin used in 2008. As I said witch hunting was a profitable business, Gold and Silver Coined From Human Blood
In 1597 a grim invoice made its way to the family of Cathin Joyeuse, recently deceased. Known to her fellow villagers of Toul, France, as the Mayoress Etienne, the bill’s itemized contents were sober and matter-of-fact, a collection of figures and sums belying the startling ordeal the Mayoress had faced during her last month on earth: ten francs for the attorney, twenty for “him who conducted the trial,” one franc owed to the “woman who shaved her,” four required for “inspecting the court record,” and twenty francs due to the torturer for services rendered. Like countless others accused of witchcraft in Renaissance Europe, Joyeuse had fallen prey to a vile, codified process of imprisonment, torture, coerced confession, and execution. In their grief, her family was now forced to foot the bill.
“Witch hunting,” wrote the historian Rossell Hope Robbins, “was self-sustaining and became a major trade, employing many people, all battening on the savings of the victims.” The costs of a witch trial were usually paid for by the estate of the accused or their family. Far from the conventional image of a penniless hag, a significant proportion of accused witches, especially in Germany, were wealthy and male. Their property was seized to pay the clergymen, judges, physicians, torturers, guards, scribes, and laborers who raked in increasingly large sums of money, as well as other reliable assets.
In Cotton’s Massachusetts accused witches were jailed until they could pay the cost of their trial. That’s an America we all want to get back to, isn’t it. In 1596 in a convicted witch’s family was left with a bill for the coal, tar and peat used to create the fire with which he was burned to death a bill estimated to be about $1,800 in today’s currency. In 1757 the Archbishopric of Cologne was asked to establish a standard price for such economic activities as showing and threatening witches with torture devices. With such special skills involved you don’t want your torture services going to the lowest bidder. Kind of the modern conservative version of protecting Wall Street and oligopolic corporations.
Conservative Republicans, certainly including Romney, are generally not capitalists – neither is the Ron Paul/Paul Ryan crowd of libertarians for that matter. For them to claim so is a practice in Orwellian Doublespeak.
Interesting sociological study, New media, old messages: Obama and family are target of ‘blackface’ racism on Facebook.
Three primary implications emerged based on this analysis. First, findings indicate although historical stereotypes focusing on diet and blackface have all but disappeared from mainstream television shows and movies, they have resurfaced in new media representations. Facebook hate group portrayals incorporate negative viewpoints of black people and their perceived roles in society that storytellers have used for generations. Findings demonstrate that historical representations of the group are still strong and have an impact on modern portrayals.
Facebook has removed some hate sites that crossed the line. How FB determines that line is a mystery. There are plenty of hate Obama pages (“Obama will destroy you and eat your babies”) over there. There are also pro-Obama pages. One of the best ones answers the question what has Obama done with positive achievements of the administration it has a kind of Steven Colbert quality. taking insults and turning them around on the haters.. “What The F** Has Obama Done So Far,” ( this is a web-based version of the page. Be aware of the mature language).
Part nature film, part experimental.