Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Witches and Economic Decline in the American Midwest

The GetReligion blog, which covers issues of religion and journalism, takes on coverage of the Witch School's move to Rossville, Illinois. (Full Chicago Tribune story and video here.)

Jason Pitzl-Waters has posted repeatedly about the various Witch School controversies, so see his blog for the background.

Maybe it is because I am still working to unload my late sister's white elephant of a house in a small northern Missouri town, but I feel that this is as much of an economics story as a religious one.

But this is America, and we habitually mis-label our debates. We use the language of race and ethnicity to talk about issues of social class. And we use the language of religion to talk about people's gut-level fears that their little town -- and by extension, them -- just does not matter any more in the America of Wal-Mart and mega-churches.

From GetReligion: A reader of ours, Christopher, mentioned in a note to us that the story is largely about a community dealing with “economic decline, arson, and drugs."

I agree. Although I have never set foot in Rossville, I have been in plenty of places like it.

And it is just too wrenching to their self-image for the Chamber of Commerce types to think of themselves as another Salem, Mass., and to promote Rossville that way!

Instead, they probably hope to attract a new factory. But it is not coming.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Drug warriors succomb to vanity publishing

Via NeoWayland's Pagan Vigil blog: the National Institute on Drug Abuse was upset with its Wikipedia entry and tried to fight back. The results were not what the "drug warriors" hoped for.

Mark Twain supposedly defined the futility of fighting with a newspaper by saying, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel."

What do we say now? Electrons don't come in barrels.