Sunday, August 02, 2009

[proms] john wilson

Damn, so long out of the country, I'd forgotten the Proms. Thanks, John.

[bless you my child] ups and downs of the ecumenical life

When I taught at an orthodox Jewish school, the most impressive thing I saw was a young[ish] Rabbi, Stephen Link, telling Jewish jokes and not sanitized versions either. That was pretty impressive and the fact that he was secure in his Judaism was obviously at the base of that.

There are two people, outside my family, I've tried to model myself on. One was an excellent supervising teacher when I was a student teacher I tried in vain to emulate all my teaching life and the other was Stephen. He showed me [and many others, I'd dare say] that one's faith need not be fanatical. In fact, if it is, then it's a total turn-off, even for the faithful.

If Jehovah's Witnesses come to my gate, I run and hide. If someone at an airport, wearing saffron, offers me a flower and then tries to slug me for money, then I do what Captain Rex Kramer does in Airport - slug him back. Cults and fanatics are the bane of any cause.

Fire and brimstone preachers are just as much the enemy as any atheist and an atheist is not an enemy anyway - he's just someone at a different point along the path. My Jewish headmistress at the time told me, in my initial interview after getting the post, that she was not trying to convert me, nor would anyone else. "We have enough Jews as it is," she said.

On the other hand, she spoke of respect for their synagogue and wearing a head covering in there, amongst other things. Hey - it's their place, their community. When in Rome, you know. Many of us have been in a mosque and done similar or a Buddhist temple in Thailand and lit a candle.

Stuart A, of Indecent Left
, once told me [in the thick of a Christian/Atheist debate], that I was a "religious tourist". That's when I started to like the guy and think out what the hell I was doing and believing.

Dave Allen is a great comedian - he shows the ludicrousness of the High Church, its rituals and prohibitive haranguing, just as Blake did [another favourite of mine]. As a "practising atheist", Dave Allen misses the whole point though of the Christian community at ground level, of which the previous generation was au fait. Both my mother and aunty were mothercraft nurses and nobody could have called them religious and yet they embodied the Christian ideal, in my eyes, through the selflessness and support they gave many people, many kids.

And I tell you what - at my mother's funeral, some of those kids [now grown up] told stories of her I'd never known. She was no saint by any stretch but she was a saint, if you see what I mean.

That's what Buddhists should be about and what Christians should be about too - not all this Torquemada and Religious Right stuff.

Why shouldn't I laugh at the ridiculous aspects that the so-called Church fathers tell me I should be embracing? If G-d doesn't have a sense of humour, then why did he give us one? If he didn't want us to be get animal with our wives, then why did he make our wives so damned alluring [except at the breakfast table]? If we shouldn't enjoy a wine or a whisky, why did JC say we should mix a little wine in with our water? Why shouldn't we laugh at a bawdy joke and tell one or eight?

The message I get is that most things are fine if not taken to excess and the occasional excess is no bad thing either. Just don't become a slave to anything or anyone, that's all. Try to do right. What's wrong with that?

[wicca, witchcraft and satanism] macavity's not there

OK, so let's get on with angering half my readers.

Gavin and Yvonne Frost's book The Witches Bible states:

When a child develops to a stage where the physical attributes of reproduction are present, he can become a full member of the coven. The parents relinquish the spiritual guidance of the children to the coven, and warn them that temporal authority will also soon be outside the family.

It is hoped by Wicca that the first full sexual experience will take place in the plesant [sic] surroundings of the coven and that the spiritual as well as the physical aspects of the experience will lead the child to a complete life.

The physical attributes of male and female virginity are destroyed at the youngest possible age, either by the mother or by a doctor. In the female case, the hymen is painlessly broken surgically. In the male case, the mother makes absolutely sure that the foreskin can be drawn fully back by cutting the underside attachment membrane.

At the last sabbat or eshbat before the initiation, the female novice is given the sacred phallus and the instruction sheet in Table 5 so that she can learn to insert and remove the phallus quickly and comfortably. She is also taught how she should lie and what she should do during the initiation ceremony.

You have been entrusted with two phali [sic]; these are in your care until your initiation. have three weeks to prepare your muscles for introitus. Your father or your sponsor will help you if you have any difficulties or pain.


Wiki says Gavin Frost founded the Church and School of Wicca with his wife Yvonne Frost in 1968, and he is currently the Archbishop of the Church of Wicca and a director of the School of Wicca.

Despite the original publication of The Witches Bible and the continued publication as A Good Witches Bible, the Frosts have received much support from pagan leaders, festivals, and organizations:

1. Isaac Bonewits – Helped create the website which promotes The Good Witches Bible
2. Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar – Friends for decades according to a video made by the Farrars and Frosts.
3. Margot Adler – Worked on a video project with the Frosts.

You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square--
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

On investigating Wicca, a surprising phenomenon keeps repeating itself. Not unlike Macavity, the mystery cat, Wiccans seem to be ''in the area of'' or "having similar elements to" or "being accused of connections with" so many bizarre and perverse happenings but in each and every one - Wiccans are not guilty and it is only hateful people who are prejudiced against them who are really to blame. People like Christians.

Consider Atlanta, where a series of murders of children took place in 1979-80. The Klan was blamed but the manner of the deaths from asphyxiation gave it a sexual motif. Naturally, the Wiccans were not involved.


Atlanta has long been an occult center. Not only had the Process-Foundation Faith cult opened a chapter there, but there was a home-grown Wicca network run by a witch who called herself Lady Santana, and one Lord Merlin. Lady Santana was also known as Samantha Lerman. Lady Santana's Ravenwood Church of Wicca was granted tax exempt status in the State of Georgia.

There is also another witchcraft coven operating openly there, known as The Avalon Center. It is run by a woman styling herself as Lady Galadriel, High Priestess of the Grove of the Unicorn. The Atlanta Wicca Church changed its name to the Church of the Old Religion in 1979, following the death of a 15-year-old girl.

Here is another case where the Wiccans were totally innocent:

A Santa Maria couple who used the Wiccan religion to lure a teenage girl into having sex was sentenced Thursday. The victim's aunt says the teenage girl met the couple through family friends, who gained her trust through Wicca and drugs.

However, the defence attorney of the Wiccans was quick to state:

"Wicca is not a demon worshiping cult. It's pantheistic, and it was really a secondary issue."

The need to deny again. They claim no connection with Christianity and yet:

In the United States, WICCA's outstanding sponsor is the New York Anglican (Episcopal) diocese, under Bishop Paul Moore. Officially, New York's Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine has promoted the spread of WICCA witchery through its Lindisfarne center. The late Gregory Bateson conducted such an operation out of the Lindisfarne center during the 1970s.

The Book of Thoth runs a spirited defence of Wicca here. You can read about Thoth here. Aleister Crowley's updated version is used for Tarot cards. Crowley was a member of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (or, more commonly, the Golden Dawn), a magical order founded in Great Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which practiced theurgy and spiritual development.

Wicca has been one of the largest single influences on 20th-century Western occultism. Concepts of magic and ritual at the center of contemporary traditions, such as Wicca and Thelema, were inspired by the Golden Dawn. The three founders, William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers were Freemasons and members of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia.

Crowley himself is generally regarded as steeped in satanism, without technically being one. In his penultimate year, 1946, a mutual friend 'Arnold Crowther' introduced Crowley to 'Gerald B. Gardner'. His meetings with Gardner would later lead to controversy over the authenticity of Gardner’s original 'Book of Shadows'.

Wiki says Gardner:

… wrote some of the definitive texts for the religion of Wicca, which he was instrumental in bringing to public attention through his 1954 book, Witchcraft Today … he has sometimes been referred to as "the father of Wicca".

However, Wicca, which promotes itself as a religion of love and peace, is never actually part of the dark doings of satanism.

Patricia Baird-Windle, founder and executive director of Aware Woman Center for Choice, "portrayed by Rolling Stone as one of the most persecuted women in America … when asked what her religion was … was alleged to have remarked: "My religion is a holy ritual of child sacrifice." "

AWCC has affiliations with the Wiccan Religious Cooperative of Florida and one group working closely with WRCF is the Church of the Iron Oak. They meet weekly for "Wiccan Ways," a teaching seminar at 1220 East Prospect Street, Melbourne. Although witches claim not to believe in the Christian concept of Satan, they do worship "the European Pagan Horned God, who has been depicted as Pan....

Again, nothing to do with satanism but only having "similarities".

Laurie Cabot [a major Wiccan] concurs with the rise of feminist activism within Wiccan covens that worship the Goddess Diana:

"In Dianic covens great emphasis is placed on the Goddess and the role of priestesses. Covens and organizations are matrifocal and center around women's issues. The current women's movement has inspired much of the political activism that some covens engage in.... radical feminism, including lesbianism, has found a place in Dianic covens...."

Montague Summers, Geography of Witchcraft (University Books, New Hyde Park, New York, 1965), wrote of the reign of Louis XIV, [when] witch trials were held in France which exposed a vast network of abortion services and the trafficking of new-borns used for sacrifices in the Sabbats of a High Priestess named la Voisin:

"The child was held over the altar, a sharp gash across the neck, a stifled cry, and warm drops fell into the chalice.... The corpse was handed to la Voisin, who flung it callously into an oven fashioned for that purpose which glowed white hot in its fierceness.

It was proved that regular traffic had been carried on for years with beggar women and the lowest prostitutes, who sold their children for this purpose. At her trial la Voisin confessed that no less than 2,500 babies had been disposed of in this manner...."

Wicca is never responsible for killings and sacrifices. They tell us this. They just happen to be around when it goes on at times, as in the Harris murders:

Harris, who told police he was responsible for killing Kendra Suing, 10, and Alysha Suing, 8, on Jan. 6, 2008, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of first-degree murder and is using an insanity defense. He told police the day of the killings that the girls died while he was casting a spell that "had gone bad."

The jury heard testimony from Sherry Clark of Oro Grande, Calif., about Harris' childhood, including that he was hospitalized three times after suicide attempts. Clark testified that Harris frequently went to her house when he ran away from home. She told the jury Harris' mother was verbally abusive to her son as well as to Clark herself and others, screaming obscenities and telling Clark, a practicing Wiccan, that she would go to hell.

However, everyone can rest easy because an "expert" says Wicca is innocent:

Also testifying for the defense, Helen Berger, a sociology professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, explained something of Wicca, satanism and paganism and said Wicca is not about violence and killing. She said Wiccans believe that anything they do, good or bad, comes back to them threefold.

Aidan Kelly's book Crafting the Art of Magic (pp.21-22, 25-26, and 176) makes the point that Wicca is not satanism but the two do have common elements.

Aradia's Gospel of the Witches (originally published in 1899 A.D.), one of Wicca's major sources, stated:

Diana greatly loved her brother Lucifer, the god of the Sun and of the Moon, the god of Light, who was so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride was driven from Paradise.

Another passage says:

And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor's soul (with power);
And when ye find a peasant who is rich,
Then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil, how
To ruin all his crops with tempests dire,
With lightning and with thunder (terrible),
And the hail and wind....

You get the idea.

Gnosticism had the peculiarity of inverting God and the devil, making God the bad guy, Lucifer the good guy. Wiccans, though claiming not to be gnostic, nevertheless have this, from Aradia:

And when the priests or the nobility
Shall say to you that you should put your faith
In the Father, Son, and Mary, then reply:
Your God, the Father, and Maria are
Three devils....For the true God the Father is not yours.

Wiccanism appears to be an eclectic attempt to emulate the pre-Christian gods and practices or rather, to reassert them in an era of what they perceive as waning Christian influence. An example is the worship of Hecate by some Wiccans, often referred to as the Left Path, which is Luciferian double speak for devil worshippers.

More on the Left Hand [or path]:

Wiccans spend much time having to defend themselves from scurrilous and baseless charges, from all sides, of being devil worshippers which, if so, brings in child sacrifices, black masses and all the rest of it. To be charitable, if the Wiccan contention is accepted, then how do they explain the Watchers?

The Watchers are briefly mentioned in Genesis Chapter 6, and have been a source of controversy for many years. Gen 6:4:

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

Al Manning's Helping Yourself with White Witchcraft refers to Azazel. Paul Huson, in Mastering Witchcraft, p12, wrote that Azael was “one of the modern witch’s gods” and yet Azazael is considered demonic by both Jews and Christians.

The two religions claiming that Azazel is not evil are Wicca and satanism. Coincidence, of course. They say the Watchers are good.

Full stop. Period. End of discussion.

There seems to be an awful lot of notice taken, by Wicca, of the negative elements of Judaism and Christianity. For a religion which predates Christianity, why would this be?

Diane Vera is a self-confessed satanist. It's interesting, for the moment, to look at the difference between the two religions, not from the Wiccan side but now from her side. She states:

Wicca as we now know it is derived from 19th-century occult philosophy -- including literary Satanic philosophy, among others -- projected onto a non-Christian Goddess and God, plus some de-Christianized Golden Dawn style ceremonial magick, plus assorted turn-of-the-century British folklore, more recently re-shaped by neo-Pagan scholarship and by modern feminist and ecological concerns. At least several different sides of Wicca's convoluted family tree can be traced to 19th-century literary Satanism, some forms of which had more in common with present-day Wicca than with present-day Satanism.

Wiccans are at pains to claim that it is only the intolerant Christian Right sites which have flooded the internet who try to make out the connections of Wicca and satanism.

Diane Vera continues:

My point here is not that Wiccans shouldn't use the words "witch", "coven", and "sabbat". My point is that if they do use these and other diabolical-witchcraft trappings, they should accept responsibility for the consequences. Wiccans certainly should not blame Satanists for Wicca's own public-relations difficulties, as some Wiccans do.

Good to hear that from the Enemy itself. There is almost an honesty to the Old Foe in that he goes about his business, undermining the Logos but merely disdaining the eclectic Wiccan who plays with fire without realizing what [usually] she is doing.

I never thought I'd ever cheer a satanist on but how about this from Diane?

Oddly enough, of the many Wicca-based forms of neo-Paganism, one of the most "Satanic" (in terms of 19th-century literary Satanism) is feminist Goddess religion, despite its frequent omission of even the "Horned God". See, for example, some of Mary Daly's writings. When it comes to inverting and parodying Christian symbolism, Daly's wordplay does it better than an old-fashioned Black Mass.

Daly also reclaims and venerates almost every demonized female category conceivable, from Furies to Hags. And let's not forget the many feminists who venerate Lilith, a Jewish folkloric near-equivalent of the Christian Satan. Lilith never made it to the status of a full-fledged anti-god, but otherwise her myth is almost identical to the Christian Satan myth: banished for her pride, she became a dreaded demon and was even blamed for people's sins, especially sexual ones.

Finally, she says:

In their attempts to dissociate themselves from Satanism, Wiccans have tended to distort their own history.

It was mentioned earlier that the danger in Wicca is playing with fire. The motif has been used in the world of letters for eons and it constitutes the basis of many films, e.g. the mumbo-jumbo Mummy series – awakening that which should not be awoken.

Watch Pyramids of Mars.

A faith healer in Russia told me specifically not to invoke certain names after I brought them up in conversation. These were names invoked in Wicca and though Wiccans are sucked into their own mumbo-jumbo mix of revised Egyptology, Celtic and other traditions, they really are playing with fire because they either know full-well whom they're invoking or else they are innocents abroad and that's a one-way road to satanism.

They might think that stone circles, dancing naked under the moon and ritual sex are cool things; they might think that it's some sort of reassertion of Old Celtic traditions; they might think that Stonehenge is not the sacrificial site it is but unearthed skeletons say otherwise.

Merle Severy, "The Celts," National Geographic (May 1977), pages 625-626, describes "the eve of Samhain... the start of the Celtic new year":

According to the Dinshenchas, a medieval collection of "the lore of prominent places, firstborn children were sacrificed before a great idol to ensure fertility of cattle and crops. Samhain eve was a night of dread and danger. At this juncture of the old year and the new, our world and the otherworld opened up to each other. The dead returned, ghosts and demons were abroad, and the future could be seen.. . .

Behind such Halloween games as bobbing for apples lie Celtic divination arts to discern who would marry, thrive, or die in the coming year. Behind the masks and mischief, the jack-o'lanterns and food offerings, lurk the fear of malevolent spirits and the rites to propitiate them.

The classical author Diodorus Siculus also reported scenes of human sacrifice [by the Druids]:

When they attempt divination upon important matters they practice a strange and incredible custom, for they kill a man by a knife-stab in the region above his midriff. After the sacrificial victim fell dead...they foretell the future by the convulsions of his limbs and the pouring of his blood. [Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books), pages 17-19.]

And what of the neo-pagan claim that the Celts did not go in for human sacrifices?

The 1984 discovery of a sacrificial victim in Cheshire, England, helps validate the reality of ritualistic human sacrifice. The well-preserved young man had apparently belonged to an elite social class in the second century BC. After two sharp blows to the head, he had been strangled. Then, like the countless sacrifices to Aztec and Mayan gods, his body had been drained of the human blood needed to please and appease their god(s).

... or this?

At Windmill Hill, near Avebury, Wiltshire, England, there are evidences of Druidical worship, but no windmill. 'Win' is the Celtic word for 'eye,' and 'Win-Melk' is the 'eye of Moloch.' Dr. Maurice, in "Indian Antiquities," says, "the Druids worshipped the sun under the title of Moloch, so we are certain that worship was derived to them from their Eastern ancestors."

The British towns Melch-bourne in Bedfordshire, and Melc-combe in Dorset, both retain evidence of the worship of Moloch in early times.

"And what have these sacrifices to do with us?" ask the Wiccans. Our religion is not based on Celtic rituals. Isn't that interesting because the Celts themselves say:

Like Wicca, and like the Celtic culture upon which it is based, modern Celtic paganism embodies a strong reverence for nature.

As for human sacrifice, if Wicca is indeed based on the old ways and they do claim that it is, that's what they're worshipping. They might like to think, in their sweet, love-everyone and mother nature way, that their religion is sanitized of the more gruesome aspects but the the spirits they're invoking think otherwise.

As this is a family blog, we shan't even mention the Wiccan use of menstrual blood in rituals and the particular way it's daubed about and consumed.

Beltane is also celebrated, by the way and this is based on Baal [Bel] of the sun, with that fiery Molochian aspect to it – orgies and human sacrifice being the order the day in the rituals but fire being the main motif. The Wiccan rituals don't involve this, they say - just the satanic ones.

Wiccans are also wont to say, ''One of Christianity's party lines is that the pagan religion of Wicca or witchcraft is what leads to Satanism. These pagans don't even believe in Satan!'' That's like saying, as one walks in the dark to the edge of an abyss, ''I don't believe in abysses.''

Some Wiccans and Neo-pagans may not be aware of the sinister traditions and associations of their religion, preferring to think it's just a nice naked romp and bonk in an oak grove and that they don't do any of this dark stuff [although it is claimed that some covens do] – it's Macavity again – never actually guilty but in the general area.

And who does Wicca and modern paganism in general suck in, today?

Accurate numbers are impossible to obtain because of the decentralized nature of the religion, and because most Wiccans remain underground for reasons of personal safety. Some poll data indicates that the numbers of adherents is doubling every 30 months. Wicca appears to be growing most rapidly among teens.

The most impressionable – of course.

The tragedy is not what modern pagans get up in their own groves and within their rings of stones but that their ideas now permeate world policy and rebound, by a cascade effect, on the greater population of the world.

In conclusion

Let's give the benefit of the doubt and accept that most Wiccans don't even know that their faith and tree-hugging has these more sinister aspects associated with it, which it does ... by definition. Occult means "hidden", doesn't it and these aspects are hidden? On the basis of their romps in the fields, they'd even say I'm evil or at a minimum - misguided, in broad-brushing all Wiccans in the same way.

Look, it's no different to the Masons and many other cults. The lower orders, the Blue Orders, let's borrow a term - just don't know what goes on above and how they're subtly directed. And yet the warning signs are there for those would see, for those open-eyed enough to find out.

Let's just say that all the associations of Wicca with satanic rituals are pure coincidence, that their scriptures, drawing heavily from the most distasteful aspects of the occult, are pure coincidence; let's just say that Wiccans are the most maligned group on the planet today, let's just concede all those things.

One thing I can tell you though is I'm not going to any field or grove with a group of robed Wiccans at night, for fear of ending up the Wicca Man, especially after this post. Call me superstitious and a malign influence - I'm not the taking the chance, given all of the above. And as for entrusting my child for babysitting ... well.

[sunday comfort] peace my children

Saturday, August 01, 2009

[foot in mouth disease?] maybe

[saturday night live] something better change down in the sewer

Well, last night's Niagara with the French lady didn't go down all that well so, to redeem myself in your eyes, your humble blogger will run a boys' night tonight and who better to do that with than the Stranglers?

From the start they were controversial - the punks didn't like them because of a bassist and organist who could actually play, the women hated their supposed misogyny [and so Alison won't like this post] but they were a cut above as a group.

I don't know why I like groups like this and artists like Ian Dury - it appeals to something rebelling against the constraints of upbringing and education I suppose. Something Better Change [below] is one of the better live Strangler clips available on youtube at the moment and that famous bass line comes through.

I ran with the photo-collage version below with the studio track because the guy did a good job with the photos every two seconds. Yep - I saw the crosses - that's their cross to bear when they shuffle off this mortal coil - but the song is still a rock classic of all time and the change to the last movement at 5:23 lifts this way above the usual punk.

Here's the live version
- though the sound quality is less [it was decades ago], the atmosphere is there and the shots of all the band are good.


[saturday quiz] know your operette and musicals

1. Which G&S ran the following:

But though the compliment implied
Inflates me with legitimate pride,
It nevertheless can't be denied
That it has its inconvenient side.
For I'm not so old, and not so plain,
And I'm quite prepared to marry again,
But there'd be the deuce to pay in the Lords
If I fell in love with one of my Wards!
Which rather tries my temper, for
I'm such a susceptible Chancellor!


Which rather tries his temper, for
He's such a susceptible Chancellor!

2. Which R&H ran the following:

Your servant! Your servant!
Indeed I'm not you servant --
Although you give me less than servant's pay --
I'm a free and independent employé
...(sigh) employee.

Because I'm a woman
You think, like ev'ry woman
I have to be a slave or concubine.
You conceited, self-indulgent libertine! ...(sigh)

3. How much did Eliza offer, take it or leave it?

An Englishman's way of speaking
absolutely classifies him
The moment he talks
he makes some other
Englishman despise him
One common language
I'm afraid we'll never get
Oh, why can't the English
learn to

Set a good example
to people whose English
Is painful to your ears
The Scotch and the Irish
leave you close to tears
There even are places where
English completely disappears
Well, in America, they
haven't used it for years
Why can't the English teach
their children how to speak

Norwegians learn Norwegian
The Greeks are taught
their Greek
In France, every Frenchman
knows his language
from "A" to "zed"

The French don't care
what they do, actually, as long
as they pronounce it properly.

Arabians learn Arabian with
the speed of summer lightning
The Hebrews learn it backwards
which is absolutely frightening

Use proper English
You're regarded as a freak
Oh, why can't the English
Why can't the English learn
To speak?

4. Opera and year please:

If I told you what it takes
to reach the highest high,
You'd laugh and say 'nothing's that simple'
But you've been told many times before
Messiahs pointed to the door
And no one had the guts to leave the temple!

I'm free-I'm free
And freedom tastes of reality
I'm free-I'm free
And I'm waiting for you to follow me.

5. Book by Stein, music by Bock - lyrics by?

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles-
God took the tailor by the hand
Turned him around and- miracle of miracles- Led him to the promised land!
When David slew Goliath (yes!), that was a miracle.
When God gave us manna in the wilderness, that was a miracle too.
But of all God's miracles large and small,
The most miraculous one of all
Is the one I thought could never be:
God has given you to me.


Iolanthe, The King and I, one shilling, Tommy [1969], Harnick

[silent saturday] nice way to spend it

[editing of posts] it's a question of timing

There really must be some sort of room to move, some sort of breathing space to disagree with others on our blogs and to state what we feel. If someone is up to something nefarious, we have to be able to allege it, to fisk them and whether they are politicians [unable and not interested in coming back at us] or someone else closer to home, the principle is the same.


I’ve always held – and this might be a prejudice from university days – that for every statement, particularly if that statement is negative, one must provide the evidence, [or a link to it], upon which the statement was made.

Too many bloggers, for example, might say Brown is a traitor but if you look at their blogs, the evidence is not there – they are trumpeting what some other blogger says, without attributing it.


A good example of this was the Churchillian quote which spoke of an underground pack of malcontents who hold the world to ransom. One commenter pointed out that Churchill was referring to Communism. That needs to be made clear, yes but it can equally be argued that what he was referring to were the same forces behind the French Revolution and every other nefarious movement which has brought misery to mankind.

What I’m saying is – as long as it is all stated, all up front, to the best of our ability and not hidden, if there’s no sleight of hand involved, then it’s all right.

One can selectively quote but the quote must be in context and attributed as far as one can know it to be so.

Right of reply

Blogger provides a mechanism whereby you can arrange it so that the front page posts stay there for, say, two days, after which they disappear off the front page but are accessible through the chronologically arranged Archives in the sidebar.

All those older posts might have comments on moderation, pending approval. Moderation might also be used when a troll or stalker is sniffing around. Sometimes, we shut off a comments thread when things are getting out of hand.

Most bloggers do not have too much trouble with a fellow blogger’s policy of no ad hominem, within the thread, towards other commenters although the target of the post can get a right pasting, backed up by evidence.

The bottom line here is the Right of Reply within a time frame.

It is essential for the blogger to allow right of reply on that post within a given time, maybe a week but most bloggers work on a fortnight, this reply sticking to the issue, introducing no new thread unless it is connected and if making allegations, backing them up with evidence.

Time frame for the editing of posts

Look, you might be a perfect editor, able to have everything crisp and ready to go at the point of publication. I’m not and I cannot.

We all know that it goes through these phases – collect material, collate, write, edit, see preview, publish but the problem with:

1. my mind;
2. the Blogger mechanism;
3. my computer

… is that I have to see the post in place, on the blog front page, in order to make my final adjustments. There may be typos, grammatical non sequiturs, it might be that the intent of a statement, when seen in “the cold light of day” might be construed differently from what was originally intended.

I like my post to be "right".

Whatever the reason, there needs to be a period of grace, during which time a blogger can make adjustments, a reasonable time, say 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, with the advent of RSS, we have a murky situation where one’s detractors who are seeking anything they can against one, can seize a post at point of publication and insist that that is the blogger’s post. Fini. Full stop. Period.

Rubbish. That comes under the heading "unreasonable". If the blogger makes adjustments within the first 30 minutes or removes the post to Draft again, then clearly he/she’s not happy with it and wants to make it right.

There must be a short period of grace.

On the other hand, a blogger who comes back in later in the day or the next day or a a week or a month down the track to cover himself is an entirely different thing. For example, there was a blogger I knew who posted a picture of a fellow blogger as a spider. When the substance hit the fan over that, he went back and altered the post so that it looked as if he’d never done that.

That was wrong and it was dishonest.

If he’d removed it within the 30 minute period of grace, I’d have said, “Well, he realized that it was wrong and removed it. Hey, anyone can make mistakes.”

We have original RSS of many posts that blogger put up and months later he went through and sanitized them. That does not fall within this “period of grace” I’m referring to.

When later editing is acceptable

It is entirely acceptable to edit later if you acknowledge on your blog that you have done so and the mechanism I intend to use after this is to put a little “Amendment, when and why” at the foot of the relevant post or else the word “Update” and to state when and why as well.

The circumstances in which I’ll “later edit” are:

1. If I see typos or grammatical errors and here I see no need to acknowledge these alterations in the post;

2. If someone has pointed out that he/she is quite unhappy with something stated plus [and this is a big plus] if it is clear that the statement was factually incorrect. Under those circumstances, there are no time limits and I’ll alter it, with the Amendment, when and why;

3. If I see a logical inconsistency in the argument. Again, this needs to be explained at the foot of the post under Amendments, when and why.

This logical inconsistency in the argument is a tricky one because the “spider” poster mentioned above might argue that he saw a logical inconsistency and thus removed the picture. Therefore it needs to be in response to a situation at the time, within that two week period most bloggers interpret as being “current”, not as a response to threatened legal proceedings.

Take it easy

If you make a statement about me, then provided you gave me ample opportunity at the time to reply or, if I was OTT, you gave my supporters ample opportunity, then that’s that.

I can’t suddenly start applying strictures to you which I don’t observe myself and demanding saint status of you when no one expects anything of that kind in the normal course of blogging.

There has to be some sort of space in which to blog, free of Big Brother tactics – that’s what blogging is all about. That’s why we do it. If you can’t take criticism, then you shouldn’t be dishing it out.

You can say what you like about me and the likelihood is that I’ll put it on my testimonials page.

Editing policy on this blog

Please take the whole of this post as constituting the editing policy on this blog. This post will subsequently be linked to from the About page.

Disclaimer and note

1. I reserve the right to find a good picture and later add it to this post, as well as applying the 30 minute rule now for typos and grammatical errors.

2. Please don't refer to any specific person by name or blogname in comments - those comments will be deleted to prevent a bunfight over a particular person, whereas I'd like comments to stick to the principles brought up here.

[fire and brimstone] the road to a heart attack