Saturday, 1 November 2014

The New Modern Super Powers.

I've come to the conclusion that reading comprehension and critical thought are fast becoming super powers.  Rare gifts that only the few special people possess.

Quite frequently, it seems that knickers get knotted, tempers rise and people everywhere get themselves worked up into a right old state over a non-issue that could have been avoided simply if they bothered to read the source properly.

The event that has brought this up for me is not a new thing.  A pseudo-news site (although not noticeably a satire or troll site) took a fragment of an article out of context and turned it into something totally different.

I think it's probably best if you begin with the original article.  Time Magazine's article about the surge in popularity of the TV Witch.  I found it to be an interesting piece about how witches are currently film and tv winners.  The fascination with witches and a bit of history and opinion about why this is.

A quote from a book, explaining some of the hysteria around witch-hunts (specifically the Salem Witch Trials) became the basis for this piece of ... well, I can only call this trolling.  Actually, a number of words leap to mind, but I'm not going to use them.  This little shit-stir article that is doing the rounds of facebook and getting the "more persecuted than everyone else" brigade all up on their high broomsticks.

It's even led to this piece of head-deskery.

I found a great blog post that summed up my issues.  It can be found here.

Sadly though, there will be people who think that Time has given Witches and Pagans a Bad Name.  Most either will not bother to go and read the original, or if they do, they'll skim it to find the bits they can be offended by.

What they don't seem to realise is that their whining, hand-wringing pleas of "an offensive portrayal of a positive religion" actually do far more damage to paganism and witchcraft than what they think the article said could ever do. 

Simple reading comprehension - reading through an entire article and concentrating enough to absorb what is really being said - shows that such a reaction is completely unfounded.  Nothing in the Time article had any relevance at all to modern witchcraft or paganism.  But who cares right?  Who lets the truth or reality get in the way of a good tantrum and moan.

Let's make all witches and pagans seem like a group of ignorant whiny little bitches who can't read properly.  That's so much better.

Even sadder, it seems to be a trend.  I made the mistake of not going back to read the original for a similar type of shit-stir "this big reputable media outlet just said something really offensive" article a few months ago.  I felt a bit of a twat when I realised what I'd done.

I applaud the writer at The Inquisitr for misrepresenting the original so badly.  As I know from personal experience, the writers get paid by page views and she'll be laughing all the way to the bank from this one.

There are writers making money from taking snippets of articles, twisting them into something attention grabbing and playing mind games with readers.  They'll keep doing it too, because reading the original without buying into the bias placed on it by the muck-raking article takes critical thought, it takes the ability to comprehend what you read and as I said at the start, they seem to be extremely rare super powers.



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