Recently a three-part series on satanism was published in The Pittsburgh Press, September 3rd, 5th and 6th, written by Ms. Ann Rodgers-Melnick. Ann is a charming young lady, and she may be well-meaning, but after all is said and done she is a newspaper reporter, and generally I consider them to be only about one notch above a common occultist.
If I never explained it before, I usually differentiate between the common occultist and the sincere student of the esoteric. The former is in the majority, crass, crude, silly, vulgar and insincere, usually using "the occult" as a means of getting attention and/or as compensation for deep feelings of insecurity and inferiority. The latter is the minority and tends to be down-to-earth, practical, realistic as well as idealistic in varying degrees - and not usually the individual interviewed by the press. The common occultist, who admittedly tends to seek out the attention of others and the media while the sincere student generally avoids such behaviour, and who is the darling of the television and print media that seems inclined to represent everyone with an esoteric interest as either some kind of a harmless nut case or a dangerous child-stealing satanist, is, unfortunately, presented to the general public as an example of all those who are interested and involved in - shudder/chuckle - "the occult".
Part One of the series leaped out at the reader from the top of page one of the Sunday paper. Below a photograph showing satanic graffiti was the headline "Religion of materialism" and in the body of the article in large letters, double bars above and below to make it stand out even more:
However, the subheading well represented the article:
All in all the article was fairly good and, for a change, rational - if typically superficial in many respects. Blame the superficiality upon the media in general, the writer's superficial knowledge, and of course the fact that the average newspaper reader does not want to read anything too "heavy" and involved. One cannot expect too much too soon of the masses.
Before Ann wrote the article, I spoke with her several times over the telephone and I provided her with a great deal of printed material - newsletters and Encyclical Letters most of you have already read. Not only had I hoped to educate Ann with the printed material, which answered all of her questions and more, but it was my thought that with all of that information, printed solidly black on white, she would look for her quotations there, enabling her to quote accurately, not relying upon hastily made notes or faulty memory after an interview. You see, I used to work for the same newspaper and I had the opportunity to study how newspapers and reporters operate close up, as it were. I long ago came to the conclusion that it is constitutionally impossible for a newspaper reporter to quote a source accurately. I pointed this observation out to Ann, but assured her that I would like to be proven wrong in this specific case and one day in all cases. However - alas - I once more have the dubious pleasure of being able to say "I told you so". Fortunately, while it caused some minor harm, it did not spoil the overall thrust of the article, i.e., that satanism and rumours of a nationwide network of satanists stealing, breeding and sacrificing babies, et al, are just that - rumours. Satanists are hardly desired role models or the type of people you would wish to count among your best and most trusted friends, but most are generally harmless ritualistic materialists [with egos as big as the Goodyear blimp and the true intelligence of a five-day old cucumber!] and dwellers in a fantasy world in which they pretend to be everything that they are not and do not have the honesty and guts to become. Okay. Ann was much more diplomatic than that in regards to how satanists were portrayed in her series - a bit too diplomatic actually, going overboard just a little in giving the devil his due.
Ann's article was the best I have read on the subject, dealing with it in a down-to-earth, rational way, pointing out the harm done by the irrational hysteria fuelled by media celebrities with a warped sense of journalistic ethics - yes, that means you primarily, Geraldo Rivera. Yet it treated the satanists and satanism with much too much respect - more than they deserve - more than they have earned. Still, I hope that Ann's series is but one of the first of many such articles in newspapers and magazines that deals with the subject in a realistic manner. I did my best to guide Ann down that path of realism and rationality that she was looking for, and when she searched high and low for satanists and found nothing but a few adolescents and imprisoned criminals who admitted that their talk of satanism was just that - talk - I made certain to point out to her that there was her story!
Fine. So I found the series a bit too polite towards and respectful of satanists, a bit superficial in places, and so forth, but otherwise well done and hopefully the vanguard of more such articles to right the wrong of the beginning and adjust the scales of balance. What was it that really annoyed me?
Simple. After all the hours talking with Ann, all the material I gave her at my expense with the name G.M.Kelly here, there and everywhere; after she had specifically asked me how I should be referred to in the article whereupon I replied G.M.Kelly or simply Kelly, along with slightly misquoting me to make me sound less intelligent than I am [that didn't come out right...], she printed my name incorrectly. Damn! Reporters! Bah! Now I am left with the question: Did Ann just prove herself to be a typical newspaper reporter, often careless and inaccurate, or was it an intentional insult and an unethical and unprofessional use of her position? Either way, it hardly improved my opinion of newspaper reporters, and it certainly did not engender feelings of trust.
Yeah. I know. You are saying "Well, that teaches you for acting like an occultist and going for the attention!" You are asking "What's more important? What she said in general or whether or not she got your name right?"
To answer the second first, what she said is naturally more important than whether or not she got my name right. However, I was not seeking attention for myself. I was doing my best to steer her in the right direction so that a rational article would be written. On the other hand, I was not at all opposed to the idea of focussing some attention upon G.M.Kelly. To put it in simplistic terms, I ask people to simply call me Kelly - my chosen, preferred name as Aleister was Edward Alexander Crowley's chosen, preferred name, for example. G.M.Kelly is my "professional name". It is the image that I cast before me and it is somewhat important that that image - not me - receives some attention so that that attention may be gathered up, collected, and then, by me, focussed upon Aleister Crowley, his teachings, magical philosophy and practical applications, and Thelema in specific.
Forgive the grandiose seeming comparison, but the people of "the Holy Land" did not flock to listen to Jesus the Nazarene, Jesus the man. They had no interest in him as a man. There is today still little interest in him as a man. And perhaps in some ways that is right. After all, it is the message rather than the messenger that is important, albeit the examples set by the man must be part of the message. And the man, or rather the image of the man, must be the embodiment of the message. [Too bad the message was inevitably garbled over the years, starting directly after the death of the Nazarene.] No. People flocked around an image, an ideal in human form - an image of madness to some, and to others the Messiah and the Son of God.
Any man or woman who has some important message to give to his or her fellow beings must first cast an image forth that will attract the attention of the people else they will generally pay little heed to what is said as it apparently comes from someone no different, no better than they are. An image, even if based upon truth and reality, is an illusion, and unfortunately, the masses tend to pay more attention to illusion than reality. Therefore, the illusory image is employed by ethical individuals with a strong social conscience to lead people as close to genuine reality as is possible, while the unethical person [perhaps the overwhelming majority of televangelists, for instance] misuse the image created to lead others as if they were sheep to be sheered and slaughtered.
So here I am, trying to do some good in the world, sacrificing some of my beloved solitude, peace and quiet, to put before the people an accurate and positive image of Thelema and the occult community in general, and yet one more person insists upon rudely interfering with my True Will to further retard the growth of the general human consciousness.
Besides ... it was damn rude to get my name wrong after all of the assistance I had given Ann and an unforgivable insult to G.M.Kelly the writer. Although hardly in the same class, I doubt Ann would have written of Shakespeare refering to him as Willard.
I suppose if there is anything that irks me personally in this it is that while she got my name wrong she managed to get Anton LaVey's name right - and he is not even a homeboy! Sheesh!
Ah well. For those of you interested, let me here quote that part of her series that more or less deals directly with Thelema under the heading,
"Thelemites, followers of the English esoteric theologian Aleister Crowley, are also often confused with Satanists.
"The confusion stems from the fact [that] Satanists claim Crowley, who died in 1947 at 72, as one of their great theological forefathers.
"He called himself the Beast 666, which is equivalent to the anti-Christ in the Bible. But Crowley considered himself a successor rather than an enemy of Christ, said Gary Kelly [sic], a Thelemite from Oakland. Crowley did not believe in the devil.
"Pursuing his goal of mystical union with God, Crowley used a potent mixture of Eastern and Western mysticism with an emphasis on 'sex magick.' Some believed that he sacrificed children. But 'child sacrifice' was his fanciful term for sexual intercourse when used for magical purposes, Kelly said.
"'Satanism didn't truly exist until the 1960s with Anton La Vey,' Kelly said of the founder of the Church of Satan. 'Before that, there were things [sic] called Satanists, but it was a very vague term. Anything that was not Christian was considered Satanic. With La Vey, a pseudo-philosophy began to develop. They have stolen ideas from legitimate esoteric philosophy [sic], jumbled them together and misinterpreted them."
What Ann did not place within quotation marks is a very loose translation of what I had actually said - generalized and simplistic - and what she placed within quotation marks is inaccurate to a small, mostly grammatical degree. However, the overall effect is fine - and at least she gave Aleister Crowley's name correctly!
Of course Ann left the thinking readers of the newspaper wondering: "Okay. So Crowley wasn't a satanist, he didn't believe in the devil while yet he called himself the Beast 666, and Thelema isn't a form of satanism. So what the hell is Thelema and just how did Crowley define the Beast 666?"
G.M.Kelly, Ann, if he can trust you to be more polite and careful this time, is more than willing to help you answer such questions for those thinking readers out there. Think Halloween...
[1997 E.V. NOTE: Since the writing of this article The Pittsburgh Press, which always experienced difficulties between management and the unions, went out of business. Ann Rodgers-Melnick then became a Staff Writer for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a newspaper housed in the same building and which employed the same printing presses, et al. In the Sunday, October 27th, 1996 E.V. issue of the P-G Ann finally took me up on my offer. See elsewhere for "Setting An Evil Record Straight".]
WE ARE BETTER THAN OUR ENEMIES: Last October I received a letter from a new subscriber who discovered, in a public library, a copy of the Jehovah Witness magazine, Awake!, and on the cover is a hooded man holding a dagger with the words
in the lower righthand corner. The articles inside, "A Deadly, Growing Menace" and "Crusade of Violence/Why?", apparently gathering its extremely inaccurate information from the "File 18" material that is being sent to law enforcement agencies and Maury Terry's book, The Ultimate Evil, among other things, mislabels Aleister Crowley a satanist, perverts a quote to claim that he advocated child sacrifice, which accurate and full quotation of his printed statement clearly shows he did not advocate, and generally slanders Crowley. The fellow read this and "tore it out, gently but efficiently" and sent me the article, a copy of which I already possessed. This I returned to him with the instruction that he should return to the library and quietly paperclip the article back into the magazine, pointing out that what he did was impolite, illegal and definitely unthelemic, and no better than fanatic pseudo-christian book burning or banning. Yes. It is full of damaging lies. Yes. It is offensive. However, library material is sacrosanct, and removing that material may very well interfere with some student's or researcher's attempt to accomplish his or her True Will, and this is America where Freedom of Speech should be enjoyed by all - even the narrow-minded, bigoted, prejudice and ignorant brethren of the Jehovah's Witness. After all, we are all "God's children". "Every man and every woman is a star."
GETTING MORE (IN)FAMOUS ALL THE TIME! According to a Newaeon subscriber, fanatic pseudo-christian Bob Larson [TNN VI.4.3.], whose extremely bigoted and prejudicial radio talk show I politely declined to be on, has written a book entitled Satanism: The Influence on America's Teens, and although I may not be mentioned in it by name, The Newaeon Newsletter is, and TNN is associated with satanism and the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o. as if we were one big happy devil worshipping family. Don't know how he explains my many hard articles opposing satanism and the pseudo-o.t.o., but I am told he also quotes TNN I.1, which was distributed on the Winter Solstice of 1977 E.V. - not exactly yesterday, so he may be a little behind the times. My guess is the line from "A Warrior's Song", a poetic expression, which reads: "Be damned and dead my christian foe!" Note that "christian" is not capitalized. It implies pseudo-christian, not sincere Christians who do their best to follow the teachings of the Nazarene, whom I have often displayed a great deal of respect for, which often seems to confuse those in the occult community, especially since I am a devout follower of the Beast 666, the Antichrist. Ah ... such tiny minds at both extremes...
MY "FIXATION ON GERALDO RIVERA AND OTHERS": In an October 10th. letter from a testy fellow who did not enjoy having his snide remarks carefully psychoanalyzed by me, it was claimed that I am fixated on Geraldo Rivera. Hardly. I have employed Rivera as a perfect example of how the media manipulates the facts and outright lies in what appears to be a campaign of presecution waged against the entire occult community, labelling us all satanists, but this is because (a) he typifies everything that is wrong with the media, and (b) he is the only talk show host to have actually slandered Aleister Crowley on national television - and it is part of my Will and sworn duty to defend Aleister Crowley's name.
Other television talk shows, so-called "reality-based" programs, which nevertheless represent the occult community in a very prejudicial and unrealistic way for the most part, have had so-called satanists, Witches and the like as guests and done their own hatchet jobs. Oprah Winfrey and Sally Jessy Raphael to name but two talk show hosts. However, they have not been even a fraction as bad as my dear buddy Geraldo. I was, on the other hand, recently amused by the Halloween installment of Sally Jessy Raphael. Her guests were Zeena LaVey and Nikolas Schreck, "Satanists", Johanna Michaelson, born again pseudo-christian, Dave Hunt, "Christian", who hardly had a chance to speak, mostly because Schreck was so obnoxious and impolite, and feminist Witch Zsuzsanna Budapest - Z was attractive and as charming as she could be under the circumstances. Sally lost control of her show early on and never regained it. At one point she made an inane remark about using the Holahoop to represent the sixties, that at least broke the tension for a moment. I myself almost applauded a lady in the audience when she stood up and said
"I'm not a satanist and I'm not a Christian and you are all such extremists that it's very difficult for most normal people to think you're anything but lunatics."
Z [or should I say "Zee"?] Budapest made the comment that she felt out of place, indicating the "symbiotic relationship" between the satanists and the "Christians" which, of course, Mr. Hunt denied, and she further said, quite accurately
Before the show was over, Sally saying that she thinks Ms. Budapest is probably a very nice person and all, managed to add
because of the bad connotations. And because Jews were once slandered and accused of stealing babies, drinking blood and worshipping Satan, should they do away with the word "Jew" just for public relations reasons?
Oh Sally, dear girl ... when will you learn that it is not just a matter of words?
I was hanging five on a gnarly airwave when suddenly I eyeballed that grinning maw of vicious teeth before me. I shifted my hand's position on the slim, streamlined structure of my remote control and cursed myself for channel surfing. Hadn't I better things to do? I never wanted to see that hideous face again. I knew it was out there. I knew that it was only a matter of time before again I confronted it, but something almost forced me to ride the wave. Life would have been so sweet, so very very sweet, if I could have never again seen the face of...
To judge from the way things worked out, it seems that after Rivera hit the very depths of tastelessness with his promotion of the Satanic Panic, his encouragement to hysteria, bigotry and religious intolerance and prejudice, NBC's Pittsburgh affiliate, WPXI, removed Geraldo from it's daytime line up and banished him to the 2:05 A.M. time slot. It was a first step in the inevitable exile to come. Eventually the master of Trash TV disappeared entirely from WPXI and presumably NBC. I had a glimmer of hope for the television broadcasting industry, yet Rivera hung on for a while with a more sober program on CNN, one that I believe few people tuned into. More time passed and he developed a new talk show, I believe it is called, with his usual lack of imagination and abundance of ego, The Geraldo Rivera Show. It's 2 P.M. Monday through Friday time slot is guaranteed to keep his viewers limited in number - earlier or later in the day would be better for him. And now his program runs on the less prestigious local television channels - here in Pittsburgh WPTT Channel 22. The sensationalism is gone, apparently, but the ego and the lack of a sense of responsibility is still there. At the sight of that bulbous-nosed, bushy mustachioed, toothy visage, I froze in the midst of my channel surfing and listened for but a moment. It was all I could endure. At first I could not believe my ears, then I reminded myself: "It's Geraldo Rivera."
There he was, the egomaniacal "self-styled" journalist, an insult to every legitimate journalist, bragging, shamelessly boasting that his talk show does not deal with crass sensationalism and gutter stories, but only with worthwhile stories based upon solid journalism. The Geraldo Rivera Show is better than all of the other talk shows on television. This is one reason I do not own a gun. If I'd had one I might have pulled an Elvis and shot my television dead!
It was Geraldo Rivera who dragged the television talk show into the gutter. It was Geraldo Rivera, promoting hate, promoting hysteria, that encouraged his competitors to set aside good taste, common sense, reason and a sense of fairness until now most of them resort too often, for example, to ambush television - drawing people out on to the stage so that before a nationwide audience other people can humiliate them, and all with an audience that cheers and laughs uncontrollably, blasting the ego of the program's unsuspecting victims. But is it any surprise that Geraldo Rivera would speak ill of his competitors after practically forcing them into the gutter that he made his kingdom, smugly acting so very much better than them? No. To my knowledge he has never admitted to dishonest pseudo-journalism during the height of the Satanic Panic, a panic that he more than anyone else fanned the flames of, nor has he ever to my knowledge accepted any of the responsibility for the lives damaged by his avaricious desire for attention, his obsessive desire for the sensational at the expense of truth, honesty and fairness.
Oh, but Geraldo Rivera is a real journalist and his new talk show is so much better than all the rest, so much more responsible and down to earth.
Obviously Geraldo Rivera has [pardon my French] balls - BIG balls - but the size of one's testicles is no measure of manhood. A man, a real man, is an individual with a sense of responsibility, a sincere sense of responsibility, and that, obviously, Geraldo Rivera is lacking.
The worth of television will increase tremendously when Geraldo Rivera is forever and completely banished from the airwaves, his face, nose broken or healed, never again staring out at us from the TV tube. Man, that would be really tubular.