Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The "H" Word, the "N" Word, and the "P" Word

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Polytheistic Pantheons Put Power and Purpose in your Plans!

More art work from the peerless Seitou. Gosh, I can hardly keep up with her! Remember, contact us if you want a piece of hers. PLEASE. You wouldn't cheat a young college kid, wouldya?

I let Milk and Cheese (Dairy Products Gone Bad) have their say yesterday. We're bullish on unions around here. And they may be back. Hey, they're more welcome than "Mr. Applegate." Rancid they are, but they don't frighten my foster kittens.

Today's topic: Word, word, word.

Word #1: HILLBILLY
a.k.a. yokel, hayseed, trailer trash, redneck, gomer
A word coined around the turn of the twentieth century and not used in polite company today unless it's one H referring or speaking to another. Often used in a pejorative way to describe people who live in Appalachia.

Word #2: N
We will not print this word on our site because many of the same rules apply as above, and we are not African American. As with "hillbilly," there are many variations on this word, also used in pejorative ways by low class Caucasian morons.

Word #3: PAGAN
This one surprises you, right? Cause half of you reading this are pagans, and the other half are thinking about it. ("Paxton," a rare exception, seems to have disappeared from the radar.)

Let's dust off Anne's old dictionary, the one that doesn't include such seminal words as Internet, email, or iPod:

pagan: n. a heathen, a peasant, rustic, a person who is not a Christian, Moslem, or Jew; heathen: formerly, sometimes applied specif. to a non-Christian by Christians. 2. a person who has no religion.

Say What???

Okay, maybe it's Webster, or maybe it's me. Or maybe, just maybe, this ancient word (far, far more ancient than "hillbilly" or the "n" word) was used by Roman conquerors, and later Christian missionaries, to marginalize old religions.

Let's dissect:

heathen: a person who does not have any religion, or a group of people who do not worship Judeo-Christian gods. (This one is found in the Bible.)

peasant, rustic: Mmmmmmm. Hillbilly, perhaps? Pejorative slur to marginalize someone who doesn't dress or think like you do? Someone who creeps out in the woods to worship, instead of following your dogma?

person who is not Christian, Moslem, or Jew: Whoa. That covers a lotta ground. So does that mean Buddhists are pagans?

a person who has no religion: That's to make "heathen" more plain, I guess.

You could say that "pagan" is a word freighted with baggage. And note we didn't even get into the bad-ass motorcycle gangs who like to call themselves by that term.

Let's get real here. Every pagan I know is stuffed to the gills with religion! We here at "The Gods Are Bored" hear from Goddess-worshippers, Druids, Faerie Folks, Wiccans, and Spiritual Seekers. So "pagan" can't mean "heathen" or "person who has no religion." People who have no religion are Atheists.

Hey, another word! Atheist. Do you hear how intellectual and high-minded that sounds? And frankly (with apologies to the bored gods), I've never met an atheist who wasn't a deep thinker. Maybe you have. Maybe you once got into a bare-knuckle bar brawl with some eye-patched drunk who insisted on having you admit there's no god. But I doubt it.

So how come Atheists get a fancy, intellectual word, and Pagans get stuck with a leftover insult? Why do we let the Christians decide what to call us?

We at "The Gods Are Bored" advocate coining a new umbrella term to cover the resurgent Old-Time Religions that will reflect respect upon them all. Just now, with Milk and Cheese at our feet, we can't think of a good one. So if you are quicker with words than us, fling that winning term into a comment!

An aside for the kind Anonymous who saw me at the Fairie Festival and though I looked "happy and full of love": OH WHAT A SWEETIE YOU ARE! I want to bake you a pie! Right now things are tough at "The Gods Are Bored," and we sure do appreciate the compliments!

FROM ANNE
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
AREA 14, STAR 14

2 comments:

CM Edwards said...

Anne,

I saw a great documentary just the other day, you ought to check out. It's called "The 'N' Word" and it discusses the word through the various perceptions of different people like Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Ice Cube, and Whoopi Goldberg. It was really interesting.

It would neat to see a documentary like this on all these words and get perspectives from the people who fall under them.

Raevyn said...

Actually when I hear "heathen" I think of my Nordic religion friends who often refer to themselves as such. A Heathen (capital aitch) is teeming with religion too, just ask them LOL!!