An interview with IndieWire posted to YouTube on February 1st spins a confusing yarn: though Donald Trump is reportedly Lucifer, peeps at the Satanic Temple aren’t fans.
In discussing her latest project, Hail Satan — a film IW calls “a devilishly fun documentary about faith in America” — director Penny Lane (nice name) says she did it for all the right reasons:
“One of the reasons that I wanted to make this film was that I personally related a lot to the satanists and their mission. Not because I’m a satanist, or because I’m particularly engaged in a church, like a…battle of my own. More that I feel a kinship with people who choose to do the difficult work of being heretics.”
Yeah — there’s a real hankerin’ for that in the cosmos.
“Society needs skeptics. And it needs outsiders to stand up for themselves and to, like, fight against the dominant ideas. We need that. That’s really healthy to have that. And so I really appreciated the role that they were taking on in this particular cultural context. And I related to it personally, because I feel a kinship to the kind of person who kind of doesn’t mind if their point of view upsets you.”
Does she mean the kind of person like Donald Trump? That’s doubtful. It turns out that Penny — along with social activist, Harvard graduate, and Satanic Temple co-founder, Lucien Greaves — is down on The Donald.
In fact, brace yourself: Neither Penny nor Lucien is conservative.
“For me, it seems kind of obvious that there’s been a complete reversal in the roles of who’s ostensibly the good guys and who are the bad ways. Right now, we have evangelical nationalists pushing a theocratic agenda in the United States and making great headway to take away people’s reproductive rights, endorse corporal punishment in schools, spread pseudoscience of or otherwise reject the scientific point of view, and really undermining liberal democracy.”
Okay; let’s take this one at a time:
“We have evangelical nationalists pushing a theocratic agenda in the United States…”
No. We do not.
“…making great headway to take away people’s reproductive rights…”
“…endorse corporal punishment in schools…”
What in the world is he talking about?
“…spread pseudoscience or otherwise reject the scientific point of view…”
“…and really undermining liberal democracy.”
What is “liberal” about democracy?
Due to all of the above, says Lucien, folks are startin’ to get keen on satanism:
“So at this point, there seems to be an apparent intuitive grasp of what Satan can mean in a heroic context. And I think you see that vindicated in the film when you see how quickly we’ve grown, and how much that kind of iconography has resonated with people. … We have seen that it speaks to people that we could’ve never predicted from the start.”
Back to Penny, on keepin’ up with all the satanic goings-on while making the film:
“[T]here was just a lot of activity, and we were chasing…different chapters around the country doing really exciting things in their local communities and national campaigns, and there was just a lot.”
Right — you all know how satanists are just doin’ “really exciting things” in your community.
Penny did worry, though, about offending her audience:
“How can we make sure we’re not doing a disservice to the more informed satanist that watches the film…I don’t want them to feel like their intelligence is being insulted. I think we did a good job, but it was difficult.”
The interviewer asked about any pushback against devilish devotion post-2016:
“Since the start of the Trump administration, there’s been even more pushback against what you do?”
Lucien fielded it:
“Yeah, but there’s been also that kind of concurrent understanding of the need for the kind activities that the Satanic Temple are doing.”
Apparently, Donald J’s election galvanized the heresy hockers:
“Within hours of Trump being declared president, our membership numbers really spiked. If we looked at the metrics of our website and other kind of web activity, it was like a straight line upward on election night. Because people realized that this…wasn’t a joke anymore. And that the rise of theocracy was very real.”
Once again…there is no such thing as the theocratic Right. So much in politics could be solved with a dictionary:
I’ve looked you up, and you’re a really snazzy dresser. Respect. And also, the Oxford English Dictionary defines “theocracy” thusly: a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.
That does not exist in America, man.
Like many on the Left, Penny discussed the populace as if “people” inherently means left-wingers, and as though conservatives are like Big Foot — she wants you to understand they’re real. Because you, most certainly, are not they:
“A lot of people don’t understand how big a part the evangelical Right’s vote played in the election of Donald Trump.”
“A lot of people” are the Right — including people reading IndieWire, people watching your interview, and even people who will see your movie.
For an elementary reason, in Hail Satan, she avoided the topic of Trump’s Oval Office triumph:
“[W]e leave this out of the film because, frankly, we didn’t want to look at his face.”
And “people” are desperate, now that wicked Donald Trump was elected by all those mythical creatures who live in the woods:
“You know, the evangelical Right really did a lot of work to elect him. So he’s repaid them in various ways. And so I feel like the work the Satanic Temple is doing is particularly resonant now. I also think that we’re in such dark political times that people who — maybe typically — wouldn’t care what the satanists have to say might be a little more open-minded in their desperation for answers.”
Back to Lucien:
“But the theocratic Right has been emboldened by Donald Trump. “
Dang it, Luc: There is no such thing as the “theocratic Right.” Maybe put a moratorium on NPR and MSNBC at your condo for a couple days.
What’s the enemy attempting to do? This, according to Lucien:
“[T]rying to ban abortions outright, and pushing other kind of theocratic agendas nationwide. And there is a very centralized, well-organized, well-financed force trying to undermine the very spirit of the U.S. constitution.”
Once again, dude: no such thing as a theocratic movement in America.
And the constitution is about abortion?
IndieWire finally asked the question I was waiting for: “Do you see anything satanic about Trump?”
Lucien revved up his attack:
“We’re not mindless agents of chaos. And when you look at Trump, he is absolutely mindless. That man is about as stupid as stupid as they could possibly get. He’s not qualified to work a stockboy job at a grocery store.”
So stupid that he became a billionaire, having built a planetary empire? So stupid that he came wholly from outside politics, and in little more than a year, rose to the highest office in the world? That kind of stupid?
Lucien’s ready to beat Stupid. By opening up abortion clinics:
“We’re actually researching now the possibility of opening up a protected reproductive rights clinic. And we’re searching different states in which we could do that.”
Check out New York and Virginia, my sharp-dressed friend.
I don’t have my abacus here at the moment, but I’m thinking the way to grow your organization may not be to abort potential converts. Yet, perhaps, such are the ways of heretics, in their battle against a non-existent theocratic enemy.
Aw, they’ll figure it all out — the devil’s in the details.
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