Sunday, March 23, 2008

Modern-Day Hoodoo Men

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious.
But it cannot survive treason from within....
the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys,
heard in the very halls of government itself."
-- Cicero

Call me afflicted with a terminal case of daffiness, but I see no evidence the people on this big round world of ours are any different than those of, say, 1,000,000 BC, except we've got SUVS and cell phones instead of Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. We do all of the same Sodom-and-Gomorrah badness, only intensified through the Cooper's Law of high technology, and not an iota more of the same goodness in spite of the Sermon on the Mount. The latter of which we mostly give lip service, anyway.

We believe in the same things our ancestors did, though we give those things different names. We snicker at Babylonian sooth-sayers who examined the livers of animals for clues to the future, but just how different are they from the nitwits churning thousands of pages of fantasies from the hallucinatory Book of Revelation, desperately looking for clues when Jesus is going to return so He can convert Jews and rub out Muslims? What an achievement. I'm impressed in advance of His return.

In the past certain people were called witchdoctors; today the foolish call them intellectuals. I call them Hoodoo Men. And like all Hoodoo Men they know, to use a quote from Oscar Wilde, "the price of everything and the value of nothing."

In some ways the whole thing is just too damn funny. It's also a heart-wrenching tragedy, but then, that which is a tragedy in real life is quite often funny in your imagination. Chang and Eng, that's the relationship between humor and horror. The Three Stooges are funny on the screen, but who would want to deal with their FUBAR catastrophes in life? Not me.

People keep repeating the same mistakes over and over, and they just never learn. You know why? It's not because they're stupid or evil. They're asleep, just like all those Buddhists and Hindus and Christian mystics have been complaining for hundreds if not thousands of years. "Hey wake up! Maybe then you'll be able to tell the difference between God and the devil, because you sure can't do it now!"

You can take the same dangerous goofiness from thousands of years ago and map it on today and it'll fit perfectly. Not only can we take all those Hoodoo Men and witchdoctors from the past and call them the intellectuals of today, we can also take charms and talismans and amulets and and mojo bags and find the same exact things today. So we don't really have much business laughing at "primitives." We're them.

That name, "Hoodoo Man," has stuck with me since I first heard it years ago. It's a Southern/country term, apparently only vaguely related to the similar word, "voodoo." Voodoo is an established religion; hoodoo can have religious overtones, but must not necessarily have them.

A Hoodoo Man is one who uses spells to try to enchant people to get them to do what he wants. You may laugh at someone who tries to cast spells to Win Friends and Influence People, but if you do, you're making a great big mistake.

The word "spell" literally means "to talk," or "tale." A Hoodoo Man is one who attempts to cast a spell through words directed at other people, in order to enchant them so they'll do what the Hoodoo Man wants. Simple, huh?

I certainly don't believe in toe of dog or wing of bat, or Love Potion Number Nine for that matter, but I do believe it's not even a matter for debate that words can be used to enchant people. Spells do exist. The point is not moot. All you have to do is watch Triumph of the Will, and you'll see how Hitler, one of the most hypnotic speakers ever, walked through a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people, who parted before him like Charleton Heston waving his staff at the Red Sea. He had literally ensorcelled these poor, deluded, frightened and willing fools, had cast a spell on them. And this was in the 20th Century.

And we all know what happened to Germany after it fell under Hitler's spell.

You may not consider Hitler to have been an "intellectual," but he was no dummy. I've heard him described as "half genius, half insane," a definition that is the best I've ever encountered. And as Mein Kampf makes clear, he had a way with words, whether written or spoken. He was one of the premier Hoodoo Men of the 20th Century.

It wasn't just Hitler. There was Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and Pol Pot. They just didn't grab hold of the machinery of the State and start rubbing people out with it. I guarantee you there was a huge mass of people who supported them, who had fallen under their spells. That's why they're called sheeple. Because they are, the pitiful sleep-walking ninnies.

Hoodoo Men exist on a smaller scale, too. David Koresh, anyone? And with Koresh -- and the other aforementioned monsters for that matter -- we find another truth: Hoodoo Men not only seek power over the lives of others, they quite often use religion to justify it.

So what do we have so far? Hoodoo Men often drape their power-seeking over others with religious trappings. They try to cast spells by the use of words, to ensorcel the susceptible masses, to get them to do what the Hoodoo Men want.

There are some other things involved, too. Whether modern-day Hoodoo Men believe in it or not, they use the concepts of an absolute good and an absolute evil, with nothing in-between. In reality good and evil are a continuum, but reality is no good for conning the sheeple into willingly toppling over a cliff. The sheeple have to believe there is good over here and bad over there, with nothing in-between.

Why? Because when Hoodoo Men use that particular spell, the sheeple always believe they are the Good Guys and those defined as the enemy are the Bad Guys, Bad Guys completely bereft of good as any of Lovecraft's Elder Gods. Being bad, indeed positively evil, they have to be rubbed out, otherwise, being the slavering homicidal maniacs that they are portrayed as, they, like the Terminator, will not stop in their attempts to wipe the Good Guys off the face of the earth.

That spell will always work on the susceptible, of which there are way too many. That spell has been cast so many times in the past I consider it a law of human nature as to how people will respond to it. It's one of the most powerful and awful spells that exist, perhaps the most awful one of all, one that led to the deaths of up to 200 million people during the 20th Century.

Herman Goering understood that spell. At the Nuremberg trials he said, "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Tell the sheeple they are the Good Guys being attacked by the Bad Guys, and every time away they will go straight over the cliff, sometimes by the millions. It's just simply astonishing how easy it is.

An example of this false division into pure good and pure evil is the book, An End to Evil, by Hoodoo Men Richard Perle and David Frum. It's a purely nitwitted book, one worthy only as a doorstop and one anyone with an dollop of sense can see straight through. But since the rubes can't see through it, well then, they're another story.

See how the con works? It's the words, "an end to evil." It sounds so utopian, doesn't it? But it's a red flag. It's always a red flag. If the evil isn't destroyed, they tell us, otherwise it will destroy the good.

Maybe evil can't be destroyed, though. It never has been in the past, that's for sure. If it exists, the only place it exists in is every human heart, in every person How are you going to destroy something like that, unless you kill everyone?

Perhaps evil doesn't even exist. If it's defined as the absence of good, how do you destroy something that isn't there? Instead, I'd say the closest definition of evil is that it is hubris, arrogance, blindness. What the Bible calls "pride," as in the misquotation, "Pride goes before a fall." The Greeks noticed the same thing: hubris is followed by nemesis. I'd say the idea you can get rid of evil, however defined, is not only one of the finest examples of hubris there is, I'd say it's a type of insanity, too.

The fact that evil can't be destroyed, if indeed it really exists, doesn't matter. What matters is that the enemy always has to be defined as evil. Not mistaken, not deluded, but out-and-out dead crazy drooling murdering evil. It's a sure bet they will always be portrayed as monstrous as the Martians in The War of the Worlds, vaporizing everything in their path with those cobra-headed Death Machines of theirs.

Monsters, as we all know, are not-humans, so it's okay to bump them off by the basketful. That's the first thing all militaries do to soldiers: tell them the enemy isn't human, instead are monsters. It's the basis of all propaganda, too. The Germans spit babies on bayonets in WWI! The Iraqis dumped babies out of incubators during Desert Storm! Only none of it happened, not a bit of it; all of it was propaganda, to the last drop. But the sheeple will fall for it every time.

Monsters, contrary to the beliefs of the Hoodoo Man and the sheeple, exist only in horror stories. But that doesn't matter, not when it comes to the con. People might as well believe that vampires or zombies or werewolves really exist. For all practical purpose, they already do. Only the names have changed. Those guys who went from being husbands and students and cab drivers to spitting those non-existent babies? What were they portrayed as, if not werewolves?

All horror stories have the same structure, or if you want to be a bit more academic about it, the same archetype: good attacked by evil, order attacked by chaos, wholeness attacked by unwholeness. Of course, horror stories wouldn't exist unless they first existed in reality. Art imitates life, as it always does. Sometimes, life imitates art.

It's not for nothing that fictional Hoodoo Men only exist in horror stories. Even so, real Hoodoo Men use that horror archetype to terrify the sheeple. The monsters are coming! Bar the gates! Get the boiling oil! They've evil! They want to eat us! We must fight them! We must, just like the Daleks, exterminate! exterminate! exterminate!

So let's recap a little bit. Hoodoo Men, whether wittingly or unwittingly, use the archetype of the horror story to frighten the susceptible sheeple: we're the good guys and the evil monsters want to devour us. We must drive a stake through their hearts. It's straight out of a fairy tale: the Hoodoo Men are the heroic wizards, casting spells, to rouse the inhabitants to save their village from the fire-breathing dragons. At least they consider themselves heroes. And apparently wizards, too. And if they're good enough with their spells, they delude the sheeple into believing them.

I mentioned talismans, charms, amulets, mojo bags. A talisman, an amulet and a charm are the same thing: objects that are supposed to protect you. Today, they are often books. Follow the instructions in the book, and you will be protected. I've already mentioned An End to Evil. I could mention the Bible, too. There are people, and apparently a lot of them, who think the instructions in it will protect them from the purely evil monsters in the horror story they have projected onto reality. If they recite the spells in it (which they call "prayers"), they will be protected from evil.

Just as bad, and perhaps even worse, these people use the Bible as a sooth-sayer. That's what I meant by using the Book of Revelation to predict the future. I seriously doubt that Christians are supposed to use the Bible as a charm and a fortune-telling device. Doesn't that book tell them that's some of the things they're not supposed to do?

A mojo bag, contrary to Austin Powers, is not something inside us that can be sucked out by Fat Bastard and his power drill. It's a small bag made to be hidden and carried around. It's the same thing as a charm. I like the term because it is, like Hoodoo, particularly American. A Hoodoo Man carrying a mojo bag is the same thing as a modern-day intellectual (okay, psuedo-intellectual) armed with his book. His spell-book. The whole concept just cracks me up. We think we're so smart.

You see what I mean by all this? The Hoodoo Men of today, the Victor Davis Hansons, the David Frums, the Max Boots, the Richard Perles and Paul Wolfowitzs, consider themselves intellectuals, ones more awake, smarter and probably more moral than we are, but in reality they're nothing but Hoodoo Men, telling people they're stuck in a horror story where their goodness is under attack by completely insane monsters that wish to annihilate them. And if we listen to them, these self-appointed heroes and messiahs, and recite the charms from their books and put them into effect with missiles and machine guns, we will defeat the monsters. But what we're really going to end up with is unending war, tens of thousands dead, even more wounded, missing arms, legs, faces, parts of their brains.

What modern-day Hoodoo Men are, are traitors, ones inside the gate.

We really are no different than tribal people thousands of years ago, ones that believed in goblins and ghosties and things that go bump in the night. That's the rub. Please remember that the next time you run across Hoodoo Men like William Kristol or Norman Podhoretz, telling us that Americans (but not them) should die for Israel.

I really do consider people like the aforementioned to be Hoodoo Men, ones who either truly believe what they are saying, or else are con men. It's a shame so many people cannot see through them. Maybe Tolstoy understood the why of the first, that they truly believe what they are saying: "Most men can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, have proudly taught to others, and have woven thread by thread into the fabric of their lives."

Jean Jacques Rousseau, for all of his insanity, got a few things right. One of them was this: "One is misled not by what he does not know but by what he believes he knows." It's the sheeple who are mislead by not what they do not know, but what they, in their delusions, believe they know. It's their false beliefs that time after time, send them to their deaths. But not the Hoodoo Men. No, not them. They just cast the spells and then hide as the ensorcelled sheeple march out to die.

When it comes right down to it, modern-day Hoodoo Men are very easily identified: they believe in murder. In fact, they exult in it, they exalt it. And it's a tribute to their spells, and the foolishness of the sheeple, that they can always con the sheeple into thinking it's self-defense.

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