Sunday, November 30, 2008

That's it for msn.com

I use two browsers every day, Firefox for my own use and IE for my work email. When I open IE I land on msn.com and am frequently dismayed by the ridiculous items someone has chosen for their homepage. Mostly they're just snarky or irrelevant, like the recent piece about ten actors who had "lost their looks" or a fluff piece on the difference between the way men and women view a piece of pumpkin pie (not an actual article to my knowledge.) But today they stopped being merely annoying and moved straight to offensive. Here's a headline:

Caught practicing the dark arts, witches were subject to "swimming." What exactly is that? And did it hurt?

Really? Practicing the dark arts? Is that what happened? Or were herbal women, midwives, single women, and women who were interested in science falsely accused of witchcraft and murdered? Does the dimwit who wrote the headline really believe that anywhere from 600,000 to nine million women and men "practiced the dark arts" and were caught? In that case how many must there have been altogether? It's ridiculous but worse than that it trivializes a terrible wrong.

Witch hunts are a grievous stain on our history and are still being carried out today.

Try James Morrow's excellent novel The Last Witchfinder if you want to know if being swum "hurt." http://www.sff.net/people/Jim.Morrow/witchfinder.html



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