Monday, October 25, 2010

People Keep Doing It; I'm Going to Keep Complaining About It

It's pretty darn amazing that, even when the two words are in the very same sentence, people ignore the rules of capitalization:
Green added that just like Christianity, which has thousands of denominations, there are many diverse traditions under the umbrella term "paganism."

(Don't even get me started on the pointless quotation marks. )

When you're making the precise point that Paganism, like Christianity, is a broad term that includes many different subgroups, then it seems only logical, not to mention polite, to capitalize either both or neither of the two broad category names.

And, then of course, there's the usual problem:
Novello and fellow event coordinators Sabine Green and Mahonri Telles said they would like to dispel common misconceptions about pagans and paganism. Too often, they said, and especially in the media, pagans are depicted as witches running around in heavy eye makeup.
"Paganism - some people prefer the term 'neo-paganism' - refers to a group of related ancient religions," said Green, a college instructor. "We are nature-based, we honor the elements Pagans
live a very seasonal life, we're very agricultural."

Green said Las Cruces Pagan Pride Day is one of the ways local pagans work to "dispel the myths, one person at a time."

"It's true that there are some people, mostly young people, who think 'it's cool to be a pagan or a witch' and they like the shock value," she said. "We'd like to help people move beyond the spirit of novelty to a more mature understanding of paganism."

I've dealt with this self-defeating behavior over and over and over and over again. Please stop.

Finally, please don't say things that are not true, that are misleading, or that buy into the dominant paradigm's framing. Saying that modern Pagans are "very agricultural" is misleading, at best, absent further explanation. Most modern Pagans live in urban areas and do not grow their own food. "Neo-Paganism" doesn't refer to a "group of related ancient religions" -- that's why it's called "neo." I don't like the term, but it does have a specific meaning. And, why adopt the framing that there's something "wrong" with Witches who wear heavy eye make-up? You know, a lot of Witches do. So do a lot of Christians, but they don't run around disclaiming it.

People, quit doing this kind of stuff.

Picture found here.


Aquila ka Hecate said...


..and then there are some Pagans who are very anti agricultural, such as myself.
Keep drawing attention to this.

Terri in Joburg

Teacats said...

Yet another case for creating/writing a basic FYI about our widespread/wide-ranging Pagan/NeoPagan/Heathen community.

What information can we the Pagans (used here as the umbrella term) say about our community? And -- of course -- all of the information must be available in soundbites. How do we describe ourselves to the media?

Especially at this time of our Year?


Souris Optique said...

"why adopt the framing that there's something "wrong" with Witches who wear heavy eye make-up?"


I was kinda on the goth side before I was ever Pagan, and get really tired of the seemingly prevalent attitude that because I like to wear black and eyeliner, my religion must be
a.) somehow related to my fashion choices and
b.) Not Serious.:p

Makarios said...

To be fair, I don't believe that the inverted commas around the word "[P]aganism" are out of place in the context in which they're used. It is now more or less standard practice to use them when discussing a particular word as a word. The distinction here is between mention and use of a term.

It would be more technically correct to use italics for this purpose, but most writers seem to use quotation marks now, and there's probably no point in being fussy.