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Post  Khephra on Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:44 pm

Originally posted at Advance

Yellow journalism and Aleister Crowley’s editorial as ritual

In the eldritch days of yore, in the golden age of yellow journalism, editorials had a magical power to them. Here I am thinking of P.T. Barnum and his “All publicity is good publicity,” or William Randolph Hearst’s article that incited the Spanish-American war’s beginnings. Yet my personal favorite of this era comes under the guise and influence of Aleister Crowley, black magician, mountaineer and magus –who at one time indirectly credited himself with the sinking of the Lusitania after publishing editorials for the pro-German “The Fatherland” paper.

Let’s take the case study of Crowley to illustrate what it means to fully see what editorial as ritual means. His definition of “magick” as “the Science of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will,” perfectly explains how this Englishman and possible MI6 agent infiltrated a pro-German propaganda newspaper ‘The Fatherland.”

By his own description in his ‘Confessions’, “I decided on a course of action, which seemed to me the only one possible in a situation which I regarded as immensely serious. I would write for The Fatherland. By doing so, I should cut myself off temporarily from all my friends, from all sources of income, I should apparently dishonour a name which I considered it my destiny to make immortal, and I should have to associate on terms of friendship with people whose very physical appearance came near to reproducing in me the possibly beneficial results of crossing the Channel with a choppy sea.”

According to Crowley, “Every intentional act is a Magical Act.” So when he writes that, “I proved that the Lusitania was a man-of-war,” we see the enormous potential change his article would have had during the early phases of World War I before the United States became involved. This becomes even more evident when he writes, “I advocated the ‘Unrestricted Submarine Campaign’. I secretly calculated, rightly as the gods would have it, that so outrageous a violation of all law would be the last straw, and force America to throw off the burden of neutrality.”

Crowley’s curious example is of note since it illustrates the enormous power of the written word, which even if his claim is open to speculation, hindsight has proven that the aim came about “in conformity with (his) will.” The Lusitania was sunk by submarines and the United States entered the war shortly after it occurred.

Not to say that ritual limits itself to editorials or even writing, but I want to call attention to these forms since this is the medium I’m using and you are reading.
So what about nowadays?

The ritual property of writing in this day and age is an extended release and presence via the Internet –an occult warfare of cacophonous voices, each trying to shout louder invocations than the next, not necessarily to counteract others, but simply to drown them out or bury them in a pile of detritus.

It’s interesting to see the corporate media downsizing their editorial sections –as opinions become cheaper as they become less reasoned, and more the headless flailing of a dying animal.

So where and when did the value of editorials seem to be less valued?

Can we point to one spot –like the advent of the Internet- to account for this fundamental change? Or perhaps, just perhaps, editorials became less valuable as considered opinions disappeared and the amount of opinions exponentially grew.

It’s hard to say if one should even care when so many voices seem so pointless. Perhaps it is just the desire for discussion rather than spectacle that should make one care. Perhaps so we can think our judgments can be appealed to by reason rather than just emotional snarckeries.

So whether it is Andy Rooney riffing about kinds of fruits or Garrison Keillor opening up about how his stroke made him intimately aware of our health care system’s need for overhaul, they have worked their own rituals; their own magick still speaks today.

Will we see another Lusitania or Spanish-American War begin from an editorial? Probably not. But to see that power, that magick of the written word again, that would be a triumph.

So, umm... the current poll refers to Crowley as a "titan", this essay was originally posted at "The Advance-Titan", and this was damned near my 666th post...

"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey

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