Thursday, September 7, 2017

Magic Mushrooms and the Roots of Witchcraft

Was witchcraft just a "social construct" perpetrated by the Christian patriarchy? Or were witches herb and drug dabblers experiencing hallucinations?
For example:
"Hutton also makes no reference to the cases of ergotism in the 16th to 19th centuries, this poisoning by the fungus on rye and barley called ergot, which when baked in bread changes into a chemical similar to LSD that causes visions and convulsions often interpreted as demonic possession. The Salem witch trials occurred in a wet, cold summer favourable to the ergot fungus: the next, hot and dry, produced no reports of demonic possession. Some scholars blame ergot poisoning of both victims and perpetrators for the Salem ‘possessions’."
Fascinating SPECTATOR book review HERE.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Art of Boredom

Don't know that I have the patience for the slow film anymore, but back in the 1970s, I was enamored of what writer/director Paul Schrader dubbed the "transcendental style." The intention, much like religious ritual, is to draw you into a contemplation of the mystery of life. Still a worthwhile goal today, but given the pace of the digital age, very much harder to achieve. Here's Schrader explaining it (3:00 video):