On Racket Lake

March 19, 2023

This is a photo of Racket Lake. It’s called that because the snowmobiles make a big racket when they speed over the ice.

Actually that’s not true.

Filters have been applied to this cropped photo to make it wuzzier and more sherbert flavorful. The lake is spelled Raquette, not Racket, and it’s supposedly named for a pile of snowshoes, raquettes in French, found at the confluence of the water. At least this is the origin given by the area’s museum, Adirondack Experience.

Since people in positions of authority are, in 2023, the most likely to be repeating a mistaken belief, I looked up the word and found raquettes to indeed be the word for snowshoes in French. Whether abandoned raquettes were the inspiration for the name is still up for grabs, but the explanation is at least plausible. If I were going to write an authoritative tome on Raquette Lake (sans the final “s,” please note), I would seek historical documents attesting to the longevity of the name and the presence of French-speaking persons in the area at the time the word arose. If a contemporary account of a such a story was extant, I would cite this derivation in my Raquette Lake exposition, perhaps simply as anecdote or with a caveat. In other words, I would employ some conscientious skepticism. The explanation I threw out first about the name is, of course, patently absurd.

Our perceptions of the world are like a cropped photo, limited by where we stand and blurred by our perspective, which is never absolutely sharp. Furthermore, our experience is a lens we place over everything we encounter, lending the landscape a color unique to us.

But a distortion of reality (and we all have them) is not the same as a delusion. When confronted with a piece of information that sharpens the focus or clarifies the color, people usually make the adjustment without difficulty. This is how a subjective understanding that is rooted in objective reality changes and evolves. Experience teaches us that we don’t have a perfect understanding of reality, so we are able to shift our view, just a bit.

A delusional picture of Raquette Lake, on the other hand, might look like this

or this

or even this

Delusions do not accept skepticism or withstand scrutiny. When confronted with evidence that doesn’t fit into a delusion, people tend to defend the delusion. The defensiveness is a clue that there is a wholly false idea imbedded in the consciousness, and people express this defensiveness by censorship. It is especially hard for people to examine a delusion if it benefits them materially or socially. As evidence increases, despite efforts to shut down discussion, some people experience greater and greater distress until the delusion dissolves. Others fall too deeply into the delusion to swim out. I call this racket, where some are deluded, others are too apathetic to know what a delusion is, and others are forced to endure lies, “Racket Lake.”

What’s in a name? as Shakespeare once said, and stoned philosophers repeat often, thinking they’ve said something new. I suppose we could call this Raquette Lake

but it’s kind of stupid, and most people who already have seen Raquette Lake (or even seen a lake) would agree only if they were forced. Language does evolve, though it’s being willfully mutilated at the moment by the gender studies departments and their black-hooded minions. Still, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. The con goes even deeper. What I’m saying is that this

is not this

The ice on Racket Lake is rather thin. Mass delusions are dangerous for the apostates and the appeasers and the true believers. You may face consequences from the fearful or the powerful or the powerfully fearful for telling the truth. Then again, you may continue peddling delusions without recognizing that the weather has shifted. Because being forced to play along with delusions has the curious effect of making people value the truth. Falsehoods cannot survive forever for this reason.

People who endured decades of repression in Eastern Europe under Soviet domination maintain that although they suffered from economic stagnation, bureaucratic corruption, and lack of communication with the outside world, the worst part of the experience was playing along with the disinformation: stifling their observations; pretending to believe things they didn’t believe; honoring people they detested. Those who escaped scolded us in the West for not appreciating our freedom.

Now we in the US are being coerced into accepting that men can be lesbians. That castrating children is medical care. That sex stereotypes are carved in granite as “gender” while sex itself is sculpted in ice. That being male or female is “fluid” while your ideas about yourself are your very existence.

Well, the world is heating up. How solid is the ground under your feet (and how deep is the water)? We shall see.

Truth and Postmodernism

October 3, 2014


The point of postmodernism is to get as far away from anything real as possible.

–Catherine A. MacKinnon
Points Against Postmodernism

Over the past year or so I have made comments critical of postmodern philosophy on this blog and in private conversations with friends. I have referred people to the insightful feminist criticism on postmodernism that is available on the Internet, but I have realized belatedly that people who interact with me, virtually or in real life, would rather that I myself explained the concepts involved here and why they are problematic. In this series of articles I am going to explain what postmodern philosophy is and why I consider it incompatible with a spiritual path. If you do not care about philosophy or if the word “postmodern” causes your eyes to glaze over, this is an important article for you to read, because you have been affected (or infected) by postmodern ideas without realizing it.

We usually think of philosophy as belonging to an obscure and musty corner of academia having little to do with those of us in the real world. Philosophy is difficult and uses its own language, and philosophers for the most part are completely uninterested in making their ideas understandable to ordinary people. But while philosophy usually emerges from a rarefied and privileged atmosphere, it does not stay there. Eventually it moves into other academic disciplines, then into theology, pop psychology, art and politics. The postmodernism I am concerned with is the latter kind, the pervasive thinking inspired by postmodern philosophers (though not always faithful to them) that has bled into the mainstream and has taken people in some circles hostage. Unless we’re trying to show off, we do not call it postmodernism or any other name; we simply think of it as truth.

Postmodernism stands in opposition to the principle that complete and perfect truth exists and that it is useful. Whether it is attainable is a separate question; the premise of postmodernism is that any reality residing outside of an individual’s subjective mental state is not worth contemplating. My own belief is that truth exists and that it is endless and pervasive, bigger than any self or collective concept. The mother of all truth is time, and it is through time that truth reemerges from obscurity while falsehood dies and confusion disintegrates. Truth nourishes each individual through her umbilical cord, but the flow of her life blood can be constricted for a variety of reasons. Some have reduced the flow to a trickle by declaring that every half-baked idea that comes into their head is true. It is “their truth,” which is as good as any other thing labeled as “truth” because truth can only be understood by the individual through subjective reason. They may change and modify “their truth” after listening to others speak “their truth,” but they will do so only if this modification causes no discomfort or otherwise serves their own utilitarian purposes. There is no need to abandon self-serving views if all subjective truths are valid.

In the next post I will discuss the theoretical underpinnings for what results, in the real world, as the ultimate in rationalization.

Like a Vague Malodorous Stain Seeping into the Theological Discourse

September 12, 2014

Photo Ervin Popisil
Photo Ervin Popisil

Note: I am aware that the words “male” and “female,” used to signify biology, have moved from the passe to the forbidden and are now considered by some to be offensive and bigoted. I am going to use them anyway, because I cannot make a coherent point without them. That is probably why these words have become verboten in these post-enlightened times. The road of postmodernism, if followed far enough, will end in the forced fealty to the idea that nothing exists. And yet the strong will still take from the weak.

This article discusses the parallels between fascism and political movements that view themselves as rooted in postmodern philosophy, especially Postmodern Feminism and Queer Theory. I wish to show how postmodernism is harming feminist religions just as it has ruined about everything else. I am not implying that fascism and postmodernism are the same thing; they are two very separate ideologies, albeit similar in certain presentations, self-conceptions, and tactics.

Fascism is classically defined as a version of romantic nationalism that became a political force a century ago in Europe. It was characterized by obedience to an authoritarian militaristic state. Postmodernism seems to be the polar opposite of this. It is characterized by amorphousness, lack of definition, and fuzzy boundaries. In fact, many people are unsure exactly what postmodernism is. At one time postmodernism simply referred to bad poetry and atrocities in the visual arts. Later it transitioned to mean obscure, unintelligible, and increasingly irrelevant academic papers. Although enthusiastic acceptance of the philosophy in academia implies some grounding in theory, the political and social manifestations of postmodernism are so contradictory to claimed post-structural origins that it is as difficult to link postmodernism to theorists Foucault or Derrida as it is to trace Nazism to Nietzsche. It is as if the Postmodern Feminist insistence that sex be replaced with gender identity were an example used to illustrate Foucault’s thesis that knowledge is used to regulate people. It is as if students who band together to prevent scholars critical of Queer Theory from speaking at their universities were demonstrating Lacan’s chains of signification on the unconscious self. Or maybe they are queering their role as students by performing the role of the uptight university president.

But I am not going to get lost here in the contradictions between social/political postmodernism and the theories that spawned it. Instead I want to point out a curious parallel between fascism and postmodernism in practice: both have been heavily promoted as progressive and youth oriented. Nazism was so expertly packaged for appeal to youth that, despite being thoroughly discredited with the majority of the population, a brief flirtation with the ideology remains a rite of passage for a subset of white males. Postmodernism and its demon children are also posited as edgy and new even though 1) being new and being progressive are not the same thing, as those early postmodern philosophers would have been the first to agree; and 2) postmodernism is getting long in the tooth. I was way too cool for postmodernism when I was in my early 20s, and I am no longer a young woman. In fact, I am one of those “second wave dinosaurs” that postmodern feminists and their ilk contend need to “die off” to make room for a feminism queer-identified males approve of.

The postmodern cult finally got a toehold in Paganism several years ago with the demand that Dianic priestesses admit trans women into our rituals on the grounds that biological sex has been theorized out of existence, or at least relevance, in favor of self-identified gender. It’s the new best thing. Gender itself is not defined because nothing in postmodern politics is defined. Definitions are passe, especially when they create boundaries you want to crash. Demands to admit males into female spiritual space have been present since the seventies, but now they are based on the argument that the old women, “on the wrong side of history,” need to step aside for the new generation with the new ideas, an argument that drips with ageism. Ageism isn’t particularly new, especially when applied to women. Go read about the witch hunts.

I am not going to expound in this article about the right of women to set our own boundaries or the reason Dianics have decided that trans women do not belong at many of our rituals. I set out the rationale for this position in my essay for the book Witchcraft Today: Sixty Years On. What I want to say is that I am tired of hearing the position that biological males are entitled to erase the boundaries of biological females argued as new and progressive. It is a position older than fascism, older than monarchism, and older than Aristotle even if it is wrapped in some version of postmodern non-speak. Please postmodern third wave progressive queer theorist feminists, stop trying to tell me what’s old and what’s new, because I’m old enough to know the difference. And I’m sorry I made fun of your poetry: it seems pretty harmless, compared to subsequent developments.