Monday, 9 January 2012
Spirit of Albion
No word of a lie: I actually vomited with embarrassment when I saw this while researching the new book on the Irish gods. It's going to take some time for me to recover my critical faculties. I am speechless by how low British Paganism appears to have sunk with this film, even by its own hydrocephalitic standards. Exploitative, sentimental, and presumptuous, it's an apt summation of a religion, or set of religions, that klaxons its connection to wild nature and yet is saturated with a specifically suburban kind of self-involvement. The film articulates a conversion narrative of the clunkiest sort in which people just can't get out of the way of themselves, self-deafened by their own internal blether. Theologically, there's no risk of---say---presenting the gods as fathomless, living metaphors mysteriously at work in the soul of the world. Your boss a bitch? Girlfriend left you? Bored with that office job? Well, become a Pagan and you too can have a gormless Terry Pratchett character to be your very own Magic Friend! God, the intolerable, wretched crudity of it, the compulsive obviousness: everything on the self-congratulatory surface, the literal in place of the liminal. This is not profundity: it's LARPing for the inadequate.
The whole religion, the entire shebang, needs an insurance fire.
One final blast of the trumpet before I shut up. I never understand---have never understood---why so few people in UK Paganism ever seem to have any sense at all of how shit it all looks. Go to a public Pagan ritual and it's like the worst teatime kids' serial you ever saw: a Robin Hood for the retarded, a Merlin for the mentally subnormal. Someone has clearly gone to a lot of trouble for this film, but they've done it without any taste or even the consciousness that they lack taste. Man alive, look at the Morrigan's tranny frightwig and metal tits! Clock Ceri(dwen)'s gurning-hippy-in-field face-paint! I'm not arguing for a bon chic, bon genre tyranny but for a basic sense of aesthetics, an ability to move beyond leaden literalism. Do they not realise no one in it can act?! Puddingy Herne ate all the pies but inexplicably appears to have forgotten the two cream horns stuck to his forehead. The Morrigan's on mogadon. And that sublimely awful 'Keeper of the Cauldron' must surely be doubling up as Galadriel for the Sutton Coldfield Amateur Dramatics Society's Crimbo production of The Lord of the Rings. What other explanation could there be for that ludicrous clobber?! I mean, what the fucking fuckitty fuck?!
Oh God, someone just take a tent mallet to my head now and have done with it. I just can't bear the sheer waste of it all. Mundus senescit, gold into dross.
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