Thursday, August 17, 2006
Where's my Scooby Doo?
I can still remember as a kid, getting up early with my dad when he got up to get ready for work. I’d sit and watch Davey and Goliath until he left for work and then I’d go back to sleep. Well, this morning I wasn’t feeling very well so I thought I’d just take it easy and watch cartoons with my son Joshua. Scooby Doo was coming on and it was an episode I’d never seen. I checked the program guide. “Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost” 1999. Ok, so it’s a next generation Scooby Doo with better animation. Fred was looking a little more masculine without the orange scarf, other than that I didn’t see any obvious changes.
The plot is familiar, the gang heads to Oakhaven, Massachusetts to debunk the ghost sightings of a witch named Sarah Ravencroft. They meet up with one of her descendants, Ben Ravencroft (Tim Curry), who is a horror story writer of the Stephen King persuasion. Ravencroft bears a slight resemblance to Mr. King, complete with thick glasses. His story is that Sarah Ravencroft was falsely accused of being a witch. If he can find her journal, he can prove she was actually a gifted healer, a Wiccan. She helped people who couldn't afford good health care. (It's commonly known that Puritan HMO's weren't any better than their British counterparts.) At this point Velma chimes in to help clear up the grave misconception that Wiccans are witches. She explains that Wiccans seek spiritual harmony with nature and healing powers from mother earth. Their spells and herbalism are used only for good. She tells us that they aren’t witches, but the word witch comes from Wicca.
This is the part where I fell on the floor. I thought I was watching Scooby Doo. What happened to the guys pretending to be ghosts and monsters so they could turn pristine lake front properties into mega resorts? Next I expected Velma to claim that Antoine LaVey was just a misunderstood hippy.
Enter the Hex Girls. Three girls in a band who dress like vampires complete with fake teeth. Don’t call them witches, because while they sing about spells, they claim to be ‘Eco Goths’. Eco Goths claim, “Ecogoths are mourners of a dying world, dressed in black and thinking Green. Only through honoring the sacredness of Death and Regeneration will a sustainable culture emerge.” (Taken from an Eco Goth website.) The Hex Girls are the opposite of Barlow Girl, but I’ll get back to them later.
Not to ruin the surprise for you, but the witch’s ghost turns out to be a town conspiracy to draw in tourists for their harvest festival. Nobody goes to jail by the way. Mystery solved right? Not for the next generation of sophisticated mystery solvers. The towns people feel bad and tell Ben Ravencroft where they think the journal might be.
The gang helps find the journal for Ben and Velma makes an ominous observation, “For a journal, it sure looks kind of evil.” That’s not a journal, it’s a spell book. Turns out old Sarah was a witch and the eco-minded Wiccans imprisoned her in her spell book. Ben is shocked to discover that once he releases her she refuses to share power. She laughs at his attempts to send her back saying, “Only a virtuous soul can imprison me.”
Good thing the lead singer of the Hex Girls, Sister Thorn, is one sixteenth Wiccan. Sister Thorn, who’s earthly name is Sally, is able to cast a spell and send Sarah and Ben Ravencroft into the book of spells forever. It’s interesting to note that Wicca was first publicized in 1954 and Wiccan theology began to be compiled no earlier than the 1920’s. So how is it that Wiccans are claimed to be among the puritans and someone can have ‘Wiccan blood’ ?
They wrap it all up with a Hex Girls concert in the park where they sing a happy little tune that proclaims, “To love the Earth is our desire.” Can you imagine the backlash if they sang a song that said, “Jesus is Love” ?
This is definitely not the Scooby Doo I grew up with. The original was called Scooby-Doo, Where are You! It was the result of CBS and Hanna-Barbera's plans to create a non-violent Saturday morning program which would appease the parent watchgroups that had protested the superhero-based programs of the mid-1960s. Anyone see the irony here?
What happened to the ‘Scooby Doo ending’ ? “It’s old man Withers from the amusement park!“ “And I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids!“ I’m glad I took the time to watch a ‘harmless cartoon’ with my son.
Quotations: From ReligousTolerance.org
"We are not evil. We don't harm or seduce people. We are not dangerous. We are ordinary people like you. We have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. We are not a cult. This religion is not a joke. We are not what you think we are from looking at T.V. We are real. We laugh, we cry. We are serious. We have a sense of humor. You don't have to be afraid of us. We don't want to convert you. And please don't try to convert us. Just give us the same right we give you--to live in peace. We are much more similar to you than you think." Margot Adler
"If you take [a copy of] the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind and the rain." Herbalist Carol McGrath as told to her by a Native-American woman.
"I don't think witchcraft is a religion. I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made." G.W. Bush (R), as Governor of Texas. Interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America, 1999-JUN-24. He disapproved of Wiccan soldiers being given the same religious rights as others in the military.
"We should educate people that 'Witch' is not evil but ancient and positive. The first time I called myself a 'Witch' was the most magical moment of my life." Margot Adler. 3
"When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation." Edain McCoy