(I should note that I am talking about a segment of the next generation, not the entire generation. But having to say, “those damn numpties who seem to suck all the oxygen out of the room every time they take part in a discussion while declaring that they are the most enlightened and knowledgeable magicians of all time, and who think that everyone who disagrees with them is a government sponsored troll hell-bent on keeping them ignorant and enslaved to big corporations” would make this little essay impossible to read. Just assume that I am not talking about you; for my readers are some of the most intelligent witches on the planet today. And now into the breech, we go.)
Let’s be honest: Every generation looks at the following generation, and thinks that it is getting dumber and softer because of some trend or technology. My generation had first television, then video games making us dumber, and our preferred music was pure brain rot—or at least, that is what my mother thought. I suspect that the idea is as old as mankind; while we do not have records of a cave man complaining that the local cave art was rotting his children’s brains, we do have records of an Ancient Greek bemoaning that his civilization was getter softer with each passing generation.
But I swear on a stack of cats that social media, in particular Facebook groups, is turning the next generation into a herd of drooling goobers. And that includes magicians and witches.
However, blaming social media might be going too far—it is more of how the next generation of witches is using Facebook that is the problem, rather than the actual technology itself.
First, there is the tendency of the next generation to communicate with memes. For those who have never tried to create a meme; first you need a picture (either of a cute animal, or something that makes you ask how stupid someone can get), to which one adds a factoid or snappy quote—a meme is instant information and truth; it is the cup of noodles of the internet—all you need to add is a bunch of likes and shares—and Boom! It is true. Please note that it’s believability and truth rests on its sound bite nature, and how many people share it—not its actual information content.
And while the entire scope of information that the older generation had is still available, unless it is in meme form, it is too long for the next generation to bother with. (Please remember to cross out “next generation” and insert “those damn numpties…”) For instance, we still have videos—unfortunately, any video longer than thirty seconds is too damn long. The same goes for books, who have time to read a book—just give us the meme that sums it up.
Now this would not be so bad if the next generation (those damn numpties) would bother to fact-check stuff. If I had a dollar for every time this week, I saw someone of my generation ask a numpty, “There is this thing called Google—did you bother to use it?” I would be able to buy a dozen pizzas. By the way, the answer to the Google question is always, “No” which is often followed by “Why would someone share a meme if it wasn’t true?!” It hurts my brain to reconcile the fact that these numpties believe that the government and corporations only share mistruths while also believing that no one in their generation would actually spread lies and false information.
Now somewhere along the line, the next generation has gotten a rather warped view of magic. They seem to honestly believe that all it takes to do magic is to wave a wand encrusted with the correct gemstones (often in neon unicorn colors) while loudly saying some secret magic words, and Boom!—magic is done! Boyfriend problems? Wave, chant—boom! Not enough rent money? Boom! Mental and health problems? Boom! Boom!
Trust me—magic does not work that way. “Oxycleantrius! Laundrus Dunnem!” Nope, laundry still dirty.
As a result of this belief, there are a metric ton of numpties on the internet asking others for spells, shiny magical bullets, to clean up and improve their lives. And anyone who dares mutter, “It doesn’t work that way,” is labeled a negativity troll. The solutions that are typically trotted out by “real witches” tend to consist of thinking good thoughts while asking Hecate and Morrigan, the nicest of the witch goddesses, to intervene. In the meantime, those nasty fake witches of the last generation are in the corner wondering if people have ever heard of a concept called “getting up off the couch.”
And heaven forbid that you do not feel like sharing your super-magic bullets with the internet, for all witches and magicians are brothers and sisters, obligated to help one another. The older generation is wrong when we think that our obligation ends at the limits of our coven, friends and family. No, we are actually obligated to help anyone who says that they are a witch.
Furthermore, we are obligated to help anyone who decides to set up a coven. And forget that nonsense we have that covens are groups that actually meet in person—today’s witch knows that one merely needs to say hello on Facebook, and voila—instant coven! Us older witches are being pure trolls when we mutter that we do not need to share our Book of Shadows with whining puppies; we should join up with the real witches. Plus, if others can’t hex their way out of a wet paper bag, we should roll up our sleeves and do the magic for them—that is what real witches do.
And we should do all this while remembering the Golden Rule of the true and current generation, do not brag about being in witchcraft longer and knowing more, and do not (under any condition) try to teach the current generation our old and outdated ways. For the only people who are qualified to teach beginners are other beginners.
I was reminded of this fact the other day while reading the posts on a Facebook group that is advertised as “a valuable resource for beginners.” The group owner declared that only beginners should be in the group, and that anyone who was more advanced needed to leave the group. This declaration might have something to do with the fact that several of the older nastier false witches said that he couldn’t find both ass cheeks when the lights were off. I would say that it was just one bad apple, but I know of two dozen group owners who kick out anyone who dares to say things like, “Drinking hemlock is a good way to die” and “GMO conspiracies and chem-trails have nothing to do with magic.”
But what do I know? I am a bitter nasty troll witch who believes in actual books with hundreds of damn pages, that I am allowed to poke anyone in the eye who calls me “brother” without my permission, that my Book of Shadows is private and secret information confined to my coven, that magic takes hard work and practice, and that the quickest way to make money is to create an actual product that people would gladly buy; I do not believe in instant covens, nor that the gods are nice, and horror of horrors, I believe in telling people that they are wrong when I see them about to seriously injure themselves and others with memes that have the information content of a booby trap.
[This article originally appeared in the Hearthstone Community Church's February newsletter which repeatedly says that my column represents the raving of a diseased mind, and in no way represents the opinions of anyone else on the church's board.]