Tuesday, November 08, 2016

America - where witchcraft still matters to politics

If ever there was a "jumps the shark" moment in this election campaign, it was last weekend when the Washington Post felt it had to address the absurdity of Right wing culture warrior hero Drudge promoting the idea that Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman goes to occult dinners to drink blood and other unmentionables.    Tweets from concerned Americans (concerned about "spirit cooking") remain a sight to behold:

Yes, America - the nation that put men on the Moon - still has a significant block of people worried that witches could take over the White House.   Is there any Western nation with that level of contradiction? 

As it happens, I had been going to post about witches and politics for another reason.   Before Halloween, I was reading this good article from last year about two books looking again at the Salem witch hunt, and it put me in mind of Trump's campaign against Hillary because of one of the theories about how Salem could have happened:
In Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft (1974)—now considered a classic of interpretive social history—Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum uncovered a long-standing fissure inside the Salem community that closely aligned with opposing sides in the trials. The accused came largely from the families of well-off, market-minded, centrally positioned farmers and merchants, their accusers from poorer, tradition-bound folk living in the town’s interior. The trials, then, can be seen as a backlash phenomenon, a struggle to ward off deep-rooted social change—nothing less, in fact, than the onset of modern capitalism and the values it advanced.
Substitute "globalisation" for "modern capitalism", and you have a strong parallel to why the simple minded, "blue collar billionaire's" followers are prepared to treat Hillary like a witch, with many of them now also believing it of her literally. 

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