Raising the Devil: Satanism, New Religions, and the Media

University Press of Kentucky
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'Animating Space' explores how animation has evolved in line with changing cultural attitudes, as well as examining the innovations that have helped raise the medium from a novelty to a fully-fledged art form.
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Publisher
University Press of Kentucky
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9780813126821
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / Animation
Performing Arts / Film & Video / Direction & Production
Performing Arts / Film & Video / History & Criticism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Far from mere idle tales, rumors are a valuable window into our anxieties and fears. Rumors let us talk as a community about some very inflammatory issues--issues that may be embarrassing or disturbing to discuss-allowing us to act as if we are talking about real events, not personal beliefs. We can air our hidden fears and desires without claiming these attitudes as our own. In The Global Grapevine, two leading authorities on rumor, folklore, and urban legend--Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis--shed light on what contemporary rumors can tell us about the fears and pressures of globalization. In particular, they examine four major themes that emerge over and over again: rumors about terrorism, about immigration, about international trade, and about tourism. The authors analyze how various rumors underscore American reactions to perceived global threats, show how we interpret our changing world, and highlight fears, fantasies, and cherished beliefs about our place in the world. Along the way the book examines a wide variety of rumors-that the Israelis were behind 9-11, the President knew of the attack in advance, tourists wake up in foreign countries with their kidneys stolen, foreign workers urinate in vats of beer destined to be shipped to America. These rumors, the authors argue, reflect our anxieties and fears about contact with foreign cultures-whether we believe foreign competition to be poisoning the domestic economy or that foreign immigration to be eroding American values. Rumors are the visible tip of a vast iceberg of hidden anxieties. Illuminating the most widely circulated rumors in America in recent years, The Global Grapevine offers an invaluable portrait of what these tales reveal about contemporary society.
Far from mere idle tales, rumors are a valuable window into our anxieties and fears. Rumors let us talk as a community about some very inflammatory issues--issues that may be embarrassing or disturbing to discuss-allowing us to act as if we are talking about real events, not personal beliefs. We can air our hidden fears and desires without claiming these attitudes as our own. In The Global Grapevine, two leading authorities on rumor, folklore, and urban legend--Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis--shed light on what contemporary rumors can tell us about the fears and pressures of globalization. In particular, they examine four major themes that emerge over and over again: rumors about terrorism, about immigration, about international trade, and about tourism. The authors analyze how various rumors underscore American reactions to perceived global threats, show how we interpret our changing world, and highlight fears, fantasies, and cherished beliefs about our place in the world. Along the way the book examines a wide variety of rumors-that the Israelis were behind 9-11, the President knew of the attack in advance, tourists wake up in foreign countries with their kidneys stolen, foreign workers urinate in vats of beer destined to be shipped to America. These rumors, the authors argue, reflect our anxieties and fears about contact with foreign cultures-whether we believe foreign competition to be poisoning the domestic economy or that foreign immigration to be eroding American values. Rumors are the visible tip of a vast iceberg of hidden anxieties. Illuminating the most widely circulated rumors in America in recent years, The Global Grapevine offers an invaluable portrait of what these tales reveal about contemporary society.
Raising the Devil reveals how the Christian Pentecostal movement, right-wing conspiracy theories, and an opportunistic media turned grassroots folk traditions into the Satanism scare of the 1980s. During the mid-twentieth century, devil worship was seen as merely an isolated practice of medieval times. But by the early 1980s, many influential experts in clinical medicine and in law enforcement were proclaiming that satanic cults were widespread and dangerous. By examining the broader context for alleged "cult" activity, Bill Ellis demonstrates how the image of contemporary Satanism emerged during the 1970s. Blaming a wide range of mental and physical illnesses on in-dwelling demons, a faction of the Pentecostal movement became convinced that their gifts of the spirit were being opposed by satanic activities. They attributed these activities to a "cult" that was the evil twin of true Christianity. In some of the cases Ellis considers, common folk beliefs and rituals were misunderstood as evidence of devil worship. In others, narratives and rituals themselves were used to combat satanic forces. As the media found such stories more and more attractive, any activity with even remotely occult overtones was demonized in order to fit a model of absolute good confronting evil. Ellis's wide-ranging investigation covers ouija boards, cattle mutilation, graveyard desecration, and "diabolical medicine"--the psychiatric community's version of exorcism. He offers a balanced view of contentious issues such as demonic possession, satanic ritual abuse, and the testimonies of confessing "ex-Satanists." A trained folklorist, Ellis seeks to navigate a middle road in this dialog, and his insights into informal religious traditions clarify how the image of Satanism both explained and created deviant behavior.
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