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Author Topic: "Witch Hunt!" 1  (Read 196 times)

Altair

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"Witch Hunt!" 1
« on: July 12, 2017, 08:43:23 am »
Donald Trump has been shrieking for weeks that the investigations into his camp's collusion with Russia to subvert the presidential elections are a "witch hunt," according to him the worst one in American political history.

What's interesting is: When did the term "witch hunt" become inherently negative? After all, hunting witches was once seen as a beneficial thing (and in some backwards parts of the world, it still is). So when did the switch occur? What prompted it?

And should we witches, pagans, and such feel safer as a result, should we choose to be open about our religious affiliation?

Vixen

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Re: "Witch Hunt!" 1
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 01:41:19 pm »
Donald Trump has been shrieking for weeks that the investigations into his camp's collusion with Russia to subvert the presidential elections are a "witch hunt," according to him the worst one in American political history.
... should we witches, pagans, and such feel safer as a result, should we choose to be open about our religious affiliation?

Or should we feel slightly miffed by the fact that he basically identifies himself as a witch...
You're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it.

MadZealot

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Re: "Witch Hunt!" 1
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2017, 06:49:23 pm »
What's interesting is: When did the term "witch hunt" become inherently negative? After all, hunting witches was once seen as a beneficial thing (and in some backwards parts of the world, it still is). So when did the switch occur? What prompted it?

I dunno... whenever the paranoia led to torture and murder over the slightest of evidence or a mere accusation. Or when people figured out naming or informing on someone was a damn good way of settling an old grudge.  Can't really put a year on that, though. 
Covfefe. It's my safe word.

SunflowerP

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Re: "Witch Hunt!" 1
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 11:56:25 pm »
What's interesting is: When did the term "witch hunt" become inherently negative? After all, hunting witches was once seen as a beneficial thing (and in some backwards parts of the world, it still is). So when did the switch occur? What prompted it?

The specific term 'witch hunt' might have always been negative; the Online Etymological Dictionary gives 1853 as the date of the first attested use of the phrase in a literal sense, more than a century after the British Witchcraft Act of 1735 marked the (already widespread, at least among the upper/educated/ruling classes) shift from belief in malevolent witchcraft to considering it to be superstition.

OEtymD, per link above, also notes the first attested usage in entirely the modern sense as being in 1919.

I'd surmise that witch-hunting as a concept followed a similar trajectory of perceptional shifts.

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Altair

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Re: "Witch Hunt!" 1
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 06:20:09 am »
The specific term 'witch hunt' might have always been negative; the Online Etymological Dictionary gives 1853 as the date of the first attested use of the phrase in a literal sense, more than a century after the British Witchcraft Act of 1735 marked the (already widespread, at least among the upper/educated/ruling classes) shift from belief in malevolent witchcraft to considering it to be superstition.

OEtymD, per link above, also notes the first attested usage in entirely the modern sense as being in 1919.

I'd surmise that witch-hunting as a concept followed a similar trajectory of perceptional shifts.

Sunflower

Insanely useful info, as always, Sunflower. Thanks!

MeadowRae

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Re: "Witch Hunt!" 1
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 09:36:31 am »
Insanely useful info, as always, Sunflower. Thanks!

Agreed! I love the links to info. Even though I've read a good bit about the subject it's really nice to have it all tied together.

In my summation, calling something a witch hunt means you're looking for something that's not there. It's like saying "going on a wild goose chase." They believe witchcraft to be silly and superstitious, so the search for it must be, too. :(

I was going to start a new thread because I actually had an experience with this yesterday. I keep my religious/philosophical beliefs quiet at work. I was chatting with some of my coworkers. They noticed that we had a Pagan Spirituality group on our website and couldn't believe it was allowed to be there. I expected outrage, instead they all laughed about it. It's slightly better than the hatred I am used to, but it was still a good reminder to keep quiet.

MamaThistle

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Re: "Witch Hunt!" 1
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 03:33:19 pm »
Donald Trump has been shrieking for weeks that the investigations into his camp's collusion with Russia to subvert the presidential elections are a "witch hunt," according to him the worst one in American political history.

What's interesting is: When did the term "witch hunt" become inherently negative? After all, hunting witches was once seen as a beneficial thing (and in some backwards parts of the world, it still is). So when did the switch occur? What prompted it?

And should we witches, pagans, and such feel safer as a result, should we choose to be open about our religious affiliation?

"Witch hunt" is generally used to describe when someone is being attacked because of their views. Usually referring to unpopular views or beliefs. So Trump is basically saying that he is receiving unfair treatment because of his beliefs. Now, it is possible to be treated unfairly due to political affiliation; however, I think this analogy fails because he is the one in power. Also, it's our medias job to hold the President accountable. Nowadays though, witch hunt doesn't really have much to do with witches.

As far as if pagans/witches should be open? I think witch hunt has been used in this way for my lifetime so I don't think Trump using it makes anyone safer. Although, I should add that I don't necessarily think coming out as a pagan is unsafe. I think it presents challenges and I think it's wise to be cautious, but I'm also a private person in general. I still think most people's reaction is to mock paganism or not care. Of course, it's possible to be discriminated against, but that's also illegal in most cases. Therefore, I think it's really up to the person and what they are comfortable with, as well as how appropriate it is to "come out" to that particular person.


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