Straight Clownin’

The eighth Core Value of the United Aspects of Satan is derived from the Aspect of Loki: “The application of humor, fun, wit, and cunning in our endeavors.” I would like to explain how this is one of the most important of the Core Values, but before I go into greater detail, I would like to tell you a joke:

There was a man named Bob who lived with his family in the town of Franklin, Tennessee–just outside of Nashville. Bob would commute to his job in Nashville everyday, where he worked for a pittance at a widget factory. One day, on his way to work, Bob saw a billboard advertising the Bellanger Brothers Circus coming to Evansville, Indiana–a straight shot up I-65 from Nashville. The circus would be in Evansville for the next two months.

Bob had fond memories of the time that his late father took him to see the circus when he was a child living in Macon, Georgia. The circus was filled with wonder and excitement unlike anything he had ever experienced while growing up in a small, Southern town. Bob remembered the beautiful women on the flying trapeze, the painted clowns and their silly antics, and the sight of real-live elephants, tigers, and bears.

Then Bob thought about his strained marriage and his unhappy children. He thought about how, if he could manage to save enough money, he could offer them the same magic of the circus that he experienced as a child. The Bellanger Brothers Circus could be the opportunity Bob had been looking for to give something joyful to his family. He would have to get a part-time, temporary, second job to afford the money for the gas and the tickets to the circus, but the extra hours would be worth it to distract his family from their problems for a little while.

So after Bob’s shift at the widget factory, he stopped by a pizza restaurant and applied for a job as a delivery driver. He was hired on the spot, and began to make his first deliveries that weekend. Had he been healthier, he could probably keep working this second job indefinitely, but Bob was overweight and out of shape. The extra hours took a toll on him, but in just a few weeks he had made enough for the trip to Evansville and tickets to the circus.

His wife and his children were happy and excited on the day that they drove to Evansville. They came to the circus early, eagerly awaiting all of the spectacles promised on the posters outside of the big tent. As the crowd gathered, his children began jumping with excitement. When the Ringmaster finally stepped out onto the stage, his children practically squealed with delight.

The Ringmaster announced the Bellanger Brothers Clown Ensemble, and a tiny Volkswagen Beetle drove on to the stage. The Beetle was yellow with orange, red, and white polka dots. As the doors of the clown car opened, an unbelievable number of clowns sprang from the vehicle. The clowns flooded the stage, performing flips and cartwheels, unicycle tricks, juggling, and even fire-breathing. Bob beamed as his wife and children watched the clowns with amazement.

The last clown to spring from the clown car was shorter than the others. His makeup was more sinister in appearance, for he had what appeared to be sharp, triangular teeth painted over his mouth. In his hands he carried an oversized bicycle horn which he used to honk at all the other clowns and chase them off the stage.

Once the sinister clown was alone on the stage, he snatched up a microphone and announced to the audience, “I need a volunteer!”

“Daddy! Daddy!” Bob’s children exclaimed. Bob looked at his wife, who nodded her approval, and Bob stood up and raised his hand.

“Yes, sir!” The clown said as he gestured for Bob to join him on stage. “Everybody, let’s give this gentleman a hand!” The crowd cheered as Bob made his way to the stage, but then quickly fell silent again as the clown raised his gloved hand.

“What is your name, sir?” The clown asked and then tilted his microphone to Bob’s mouth.

“Bob,” said Bob.

“Well, Bob, let me ask you something. Are you a horse?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a mule?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a donkey?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Well, then you must be a jackass!”

The crowd roared with laughter, but Bob felt humiliated. Even Bob’s wife and children were laughing at him. The clown dismissed Bob from the stage. As he sulked back to his seat, Bob began to feel angry, and his anger ruined the rest of his evening at the circus.

Bob’s anger had turned into rage as he got back into the car with his family. He thought about the extra hours he had worked to be able to afford treating his family to the circus, only to watch them join in with all of the others who laughed at his public humiliation. He began to drive erratically, nearly avoiding a couple of accidents as he made his way down I-65 South, and his anger frightened his wife and children. Bob and his wife started fighting in the car, and once they made it back home, his wife declared that she was taking the children to her mother’s house. The drive home was the last straw for her, and she announced that it was time for the two of them to divorce.

In the months that followed, Bob lost his family and then his job at the widget factory once his performance began to slip. He moved out and rented a trailer on the outskirts of town, now working full-time pizza delivery to make ends meet. He gained weight and then began drinking, and his situation would have continued to decline were it not for one night as Bob lay in bed, struggling to sleep, with the image of the sinister clown’s face burning in his mind.

It suddenly occurred to Bob, who had been ruined by this evil clown, exactly how he planned to get revenge.

Bob began working double shifts. He cut out what few unnecessary expenses he had. He began saving his money, and once he had enough, he enrolled in his first course at the Nashville Clown College. Bob decided that he would learn everything he needed to learn to get into the mind of the evil clown, for then he would know how to exact his revenge.

Bob was a stellar clown student. He took to the lessons of clowning with the focus and zeal of a monk. He learned to turn flips and cartwheels, ride a unicycle, juggle, and even breathe fire. He graduated from the Nashville Clown College with honors, at the top of his class.

As fate would have it, shortly after his graduation from clown college, another billboard appeared in Nashville, advertising the return of the Bellanger Brothers Circus to Evansville, Indiana.

It was time.

As Bob drove up I-65, he thought on the lessons of his many months of clown college. Pie Throwing 101, Advanced Seltzer Water Shooting, Balloon Animal Theory and Practicum. A wealth of clown knowledge was now at his disposal, and somewhere, within all of the lessons he learned in his many hours of study, would be the key to his vengeance.

He came to the circus early. His excitement became almost unbearable as he awaited the emergence of the polka-dotted clown car. The Ringmaster announced the beginning of the show, and then came the Bellanger Brothers Clown Ensemble.

And then, with his painted smile and his oversized bicycle horn, came the sinister clown.

“I need a volunteer from the audience!” said the sinister clown.

Bob stood up and raised his hand. The clown gestured for him to come up on stage. There seemed to be no recollection of Bob in the clown’s eyes, and that made Bob even angrier, but Bob quickly calmed himself because this time he knew what to do.

“Sir, are you a horse?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a mule?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a donkey, perhaps?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Then you must be a jackass!”

Bob was unfazed as the crowd roared with laughter. His mind was sharp and laser-focused on his plan. As the sinister clown continued to regard Bob with a wicked gleam in his eyes, Bob took the microphone from the clown’s hands. Then he said,

“Fuck you, clown.”



Now, at some point in time, unless you cheated and skipped to the end of the joke, you should have begun to suspect that you were being fucked with. Similar to “The Aristocrats,” “The Clown Joke” is a long-winded joke with an anti-climactic punchline. What makes the joke funny is when the audience realizes that the joke doesn’t deliver on its promise.

This is also a demonstration of the Aspect of Loki in action, the Art and Science of Fucking With People. Almost every religion prescribes a way of dealing with one’s enemies, usually with the suggestion to kill them outright, but our variation of Satanism demands a more refined, less barbaric approach:

Fuck with ’em.

The key to fucking with people is in controlling their expectations. Dangle carrots in front of them, just enough to get them moving in the direction that you want, and then make a change. Even better if you can make them think that following the carrot was their own idea. No matter what, make sure to laugh your ass off. Fucking with your enemies is supposed to be hilarious.

Hail fun and trickery! Hail Satan!

Political correctness is the devil

People like to keep things simple. Whenever possible, they would prefer to have One Big Problem, rather many different ones.

The Devil is a perfect illustration of this principle. Over hundreds and thousands of years, mythic and historical writing has included a number of bad characters harboring ill will, or representing challenges to humanity. But our simple-minded culture has decided that they are all actually just one Super-Bad Being: the Devil.

In the Book of Job 1-2, Job has a spiritual adversary who is referred to as “the satan” (which translates from the Hebrew as “the adversary”). According to the book of Job, this being is specifically Job’s adversary: not “the adversary of God” or “the adversary of mankind”. The satan is in fact following God’s instructions, according to the story. And yet, in our modern-day interpretation of the myth, this being becomes “The Devil”.

In Leviticus 7:17, the Hebrew word sair is translated as “The Devil”, even though it really means “goat” or “satyr”.

In Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalms 106:37,  the Hebrew word shed is translated as “The Devil”, even though it means “idol”.

In 1 Kings, the word “satan” is used to refer to an actual human being: Rezon of Damascus. He was an adversary (a “satan”) to Israel. But many Christians claim this passage refers to The Devil.

“Shaitan” or “ash-Shayṭān” is also the name of Iblis in Islamic myths: the one who whispers evil temptations into the ears of man. According to many: also the Devil.

A snake in a garden that tempts Eve? Must have been the devil.

The peacock angel worshiped by the Yazidis? Must have been the devil.

And my favorite bit of twisted interpretation is Ezekiel 28:12-14, which many many Biblical scholars argue must be referring to the Devil:

“Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings…”

And so on, and so on. The passage goes on to say that he was proud because of his beauty, and so the Lord cast him out. Many Biblical scholars call this a description of the Devil.

The only problem with this description of “The Devil” is the one sentence that precedes it:

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me: Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him…….”

This (supposedly inerrant?) biblical passage very clearly states that it is a description of the king of Tyre, not the Devil. But no! It’s too confusing to have more than one Bad Guy in the novel of life… so Christians claim that this, too, is a description of The Devil.

This over-simplification happens in other areas of life, too. A good example is the way that America’s right-wing has chosen to focus on “political correctness” as the supposed source of so many things it finds disagreeable.

The original idea behind political correctness was fairly mundane: be mindful about how the things you say might have unintended negative consequences or might impact people around you in negative ways.

But now?

Students are complaining about their classes? It’s because of political correctness!

President Obama won’t use the phrase “Islamic Terrorism”? Political correctness!

Women are being allowed in the military? Oh, the horrors of political correctness!

Conservatives want to make “political correctness” synonymous with “language policing” and authoritarianism. And admittedly, some radical “PC Police” activists can use the term in a very authoritarian way. As a Satanist, and a strong supporter of Loki, I’m against anyone who tells me that I should never offend people, or must walk on eggshells in the way I talk.

But it is also obvious to me that political correctness has become the American Right’s modern “Devil”: the single big Bad Guy that can be blamed for all of the problems!

Well, you know what? I like the Devil. And I also like political correctness: at least in the way it was originally intended, even if not the way it is executed by some on the left-side fringe. It is noble, and indeed very Satanic, to be mindful of one’s place in a culture, and one’s relationship to other people. It is very Satanic to be aware of the power you have with your own rhetoric, and as an activist within a community. It is the very nature of the aspect of The Leviathan.

So let the political right wing wrings its hands over the devastation being brought down on the land by the dreaded Political Correctness! As a Satanist I say:

Hail Community. Hail Political Correctness. Hail Satan.

The Narrative of Loki

“You can certainly reach goals regarding very serious things through the use of pranks. People tend to think you are not serious, and underestimate you. This makes your cunning and trickery all the more effective if you need to employ it in order to realize a particular goal.” —Narratives 8(Loki): 9-11

The Narrative of Loki is the eighth chapter in The Satanic Narratives: A modern Satanic Bible, and introduces the aspect of Loki: representing the application of humor, fun, wit, and cunning in our endeavors.

Satanists don’t mind making mischief and mocking deeply-held beliefs. It goes hand in hand with independent thought and trying to stir up the status quo. We are the jester that speaks truth to power. We are the fun-house mirror held up to show the absurdity in society. We dare to start conversations that the rest of the world refuses to start.

But do not make the mistake of thinking Satanism is “nothing but” trolling, or that it is all a joke. Our beliefs are sincere and deeply-held belief, made no less so by the fact that we have a sense of humor. Our ability to laugh at any beliefs–even our own–is not a mark of insincerity. It is merely our embodiment of the aspect of Loki: the only god who dared to mock the other gods, and show them up for their absurdity.