Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Cancel My Subscription!

Back in the day, I used to subscribe to a magazine called Biblical Archaeology Review.

Don't let the title put you off: it's really just a hook from which to hang all sorts of interesting articles about the ancient Middle East, with more graven images per issue than most pagan periodicals.

The Letters to the Editor were always amusing. In every issue, there would be at least one from some shrill nazz who apparently believed that any magazine with “Bible” in the title should be out to prove the Bible.

“Cancel my subscription!” they would always angrily conclude.

(One man wrote: “Many people throughout history have subscribed to a literal interpretation of the Bible, including 1) myself, 2) Jesus Christ, and 3) many other people.” “Well, that's pretty revealing,” I can remember thinking.)

After a while, BAR decided to bring out a sister publication called Archaeology Odyssey that dealt with the wider, non-Levantine world. Sounds good, I thought, and sent them a check.

The first issue was mostly about things Mycenaean, and the degree to which they were (and were not) accurately represented in Homeric epic.

Tongue firmly in cheek, I sent in my own letter to the editor:


Dear Editor:

I am outraged!

In the flagship issue of AO, you print a number of articles claiming that the Iliad and the Odyssey do not faithfully reflect Mycenaean reality, and one that even claims that the godlike Homer didn't write the "Homeric" epics at all!

Next I suppose you'll be denying the existence of the Twelve Olympians?

Cancel my subscription immediately!

Yours most sincerely,

Steven W. Posch


Needless to say, the editors got the joke. My letter got top billing among the others, along with a little editorial note explaining why they didn't think that I was being serious.

Oh, if only they knew.

Needless to say, they did not cancel my subscription.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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