Hail Satan! A review

N and I saw Hail Satan! on Friday night, a documentary about the Satanic Temple. Without knowing much about it I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for some time.

While it covered the brief history of this organization and its founders it was, for the most part, focused on the ST’s fight against the imposition of Christianity in public spaces in the US and the meaning of that imposition.

It is the creeping notion of Merica as a Christian nation that they are standing up against. The symbols of a certain type of fundamentalist Christianity which are seeping (and have been for some time) into every form of public life. Prayers in politics and schools, crosses and other symbols in public spaces.

You see Christian theocracy just creeping into our government, and it is our duty to stand up to this.

This film particularly focuses on the Satanic Temple’s stance against the large monument installed in the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.  In protest the ST proposed to erect a statue of Bephomet. Their smart, tenacious fight filled me with hope and love.

There are so many scenes in this doco which highlight the differences between the “good” and “godly” Christians and these “evil” Satan worshipers (they’re not). The Satanic Temple people are intelligently and compassionately standing up to idea that America is a Christian nation and fighting for rights of all; for equality and a voice for all people. They are doing so by taking the piss out of the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of the conservatives. It’s shooting fish in a barrel really.

But they are not just taking the piss; they are doing good work. Each chapter, apart from fighting against religious intolerance and control, are doing acts of civil charity.

As an atheist I found this quote from director Penny Lane sums up really well why these people, all of whom are atheists and not devil worshipers, align themselves with this group:

LANE: It’s not just that atheism is boring. It’s that atheism in and of itself is not a kind of affirmative set of organized values. It’s more saying what you’re not than what you are. And as a lifelong atheist myself, I can attest to the fact that atheism doesn’t give you a community. It doesn’t give you a mythology, a sort of organizing set of principles or ethics. And it doesn’t give you a kind of way to organize yourself in relationship to others and make change in the world.

In summary it seems they are fighting fear, prejudice, restriction, superstition and nonsense with their 7 fundamental tenants (see above): compassion, reason, freedom, justice, the right to control one’s own body.

I came out of Hail Satan! filled with joy and optimism. These are my people. The misfits, the oddbods, the brave ones. The ones who want to fight back and will do so intelligently, with humour and heart. If Hail Satan is the opposite of Amen, then Hail Fucking Satan!

Cranky Feminist Pants

On Friday I took the day off work to attend a school dance performance Miss M was in because I was too vague/stupid to remember to book tickets in time to go to one of the two evening shows. Sigh. Bang head on wall.

I’ve attended approximately 3,427,189 dance performances since Miss M started dancing when she was three. I have included the handful of singing eisteddfods she has also performed at in that modest number.

It’s fair to say I have a love/hate relationship with these forms of *cough* entertainment. I’m still mentally scarred from the first eisteddfod where one of the other participants brought a full single canopy bed with associated accoutrement onto the stage for the child’s prop. I love the kids, I hate the competitive parents and the storm of bullshit they create.

Anyhoo… Friday morning I found myself back in beautiful downtown Frenchs Forest for the third time in a week. It’s not my part of the world but I did manage to wrangle two catch ups with friends who live roughly in that geographic area so it wasn’t totally wasted time.

This particular dance extravaganza is the Sydney North Dance Festival, an event designed to showcase the dance abilities of school aged children from the Northern Sydney area (I believe the clue is in the title). Maybe because I’m on the tail end of this parenting malarkey or maybe because I’m a crabby old cow but to me it just seems a good way to fleece a lot of parents and grandparents of $30. Because frankly you sit through an hour and a half of the little darlings dancing to watch your own little darling dance for no longer than three minutes. Oi vey.

Despite the previous five paragraphs this blog does not exist to purely complain about this entertainment spectacular but to allow me a little rant about one of the numbers. My alternative titles for this post were: “Are you forking kidding me: Is it 1972?” or perhaps “Andrea Dworkin is rolling over in her grave”.

Let me draw you a picture: The dance routine starts of promisingly enough. The song is Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Going To Take It. Not in my top one million songs but compared to the rest of the drivel it gets a thumbs up from me. The group is little kids, I’d say years 1 or 2 at primary, lots of girls and five boys. I notice two kiddie electric guitars placed strategically at the front of the stage. Using my Sherlock Holmes level deduction skills I assume they’ll be part of the dazzling finale for this rocking little piece.

Then it hits me and I KNOW exactly how this will end and I want to scream NOOOOO. Somebody, not me because that would be a public hazard, burnt their bras for this. Don’t do it…. please… think of Germaine Greer. But they did it anyway. Yes two of the boys picked up the guitars and did their little rock moves at the sides of the stage. But that wasn’t enough to end the routine; the five boys lined up, in a boy band fashion, and did a little pantomime of a boy band performance… while the girls simply did a pantomime of being cheering fans.

What’s wrong with this picture? Jezuuus forking Christ it’s 2019. Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Gwen Stefani, insert another five bazillion kick ass female rock stars here… Why are we still representing rock/music as a male thing and females as the passive consumers/fans/groupies? I wanted to weep but I also wanted to smash things. This dance was choreographed by a (I’m guessing, young) female primary school teacher who obviously seems to have slept through the entire little blip in history I like to call feminism. WTAF??!!

I was seething. To cheer myself up I left the theatre wondering who came up with the Lyrical style of dance which seems to be the dance choice du jour. If you don’t know it just imagine girls (with the occasional boy) twirling in a meaningful manner to songs by Adele. I tend to think of it as depression in dance form.

There really should be a bar, a free open bar, at these events.