First Part: Texas Preacher inspires a blog post
A Texas preacher was wailin’ and waxin’ large on how this is going to be a bad day for the devil. And naturally, on hearing this shouted from the next room, during the early hours… I had a thought of– is any day a bad day for the devil? It seems the devil gets a lot of shit done. Wars to petty little malicious gossip fun. Everyone’s getting devoured by that devil walkin’ around. The devil takes a stroll and checks things off her list.
What?? Her list??
Have I lost my gol-durn mind? Yes, I have, but that’s a whole other hysterical and barely readable blog post.
Part Two: Gender Politics
I have always wondered this. Why is the devil male? Other than patriarchal absolute control over everything from religion to nail polish choices, of course. Positions of power must always be filled with male figures! Even in legends, mythology, religion and tall tales. Women with power tend to be evil queens, evil stepmothers and witches. Or a combo thereof– an evil stepmother queen witch, such as Snow White’s dad’s second wife. Yep! There are ‘good’ witches but…they’re still suspect, because they have vaginas under those pretty princess-esque ensembles. And could go rogue at any time! We don’t get many tales of queens without there being some sort of ‘love’ story involved where she ends up secondary in her own story as a kingly sort steps up and ‘saves’ her from having to rule and make decisions or she falls into disgrace and gets tricked or…I’ll stop there. Ahem.
Other than that…why is the devil always portrayed as a male figure? We have witches, of course. But. They’re subservient and doing the will of their master…yeah. Witches went from powerful independent sorts to cringing, tricked, lied to servants of Satan. They went from enjoying their power and their relative sexual freedom to being puppets who just endured the cold sexual caresses of Hell’s Landlord. [Because why not strip even sexual enjoyment out of witchcraft, can I get an amen??] See Malleus Malificarum.
Women and power, it’s makes people uncomfortable. I get it. There’s reams written here. The powerful woman getting reduced to evil crone who licks the devil’s bottom during ceremonies held beneath the full moon. Read all that stuff. Read about the witch craze and how midwives were suspect and…yeah. But.
Part Three: A Tale of Love Gone Wrong
That rebellious beautiful angel who went against God. That reads more like a love story gone horribly wrong than some servant acting up and getting spanked, big time, for all eternity. Actually, that fallen angel gets rewarded, by being made the Big Baddie who gets to pretend to go against God. [And here, you can start screaming I don’t know anything about religion, the devil, God or blah dee blurg. That my years in the Lutheran church apparently did nothing more than give me a curious case of soul rash.] After all, does it not say, in Revelation, that God wins?
It’s right there. That’s bad storytelling. You don’t invent this great villain and then say, baldly, that that villain is going to lose. We know the villain loses, we want to pretend some actual surprise. There has to be a moment when we think the Joker is going to squash Batman and yank his wings off. That’s just how good stories trot along. We want, maybe, to even believe, for a bit, that the villain, the Big Bad, will win the day and destroy the planet, kill the tied up girlfriend/love interest/wife/some random girl; uh, get that death ray to work, etc, etc. You don’t state that so and so will win while presenting some Big Bad as the ‘villain’. Unless you plan on springing a surprise on us. Like some super-villain in the wings. Maybe her name is Mary who wraps her holy thighs around the devil and God and devours them both with her girl parts and comes out the winner of it all.
I would so watch that movie. I would even buy the over-priced gold-plated popcorn to munch as I watched that movie.
You cannot announce that you’re the winner ahead of time. It’s insulting. Why do you need an adversary? Especially one that seems on the payroll? Why is he needed at all? Oh…because the devil has a case of bitter grapes and seeks to take down as many as he can before THE END OF IT ALL. [No, seriously, that’s the answer I’ve seen to this one. The devil wants to have a game of freeze tag before the End. Yep.] Cue evil laughter, ala Vinny Price.
PART FOUR: MORE GENDER POLITICS AND EVEN MORE LOVE GONE WRONG MUSINGS
How bitter do you have to be to infect as many humans as you can before God yanks the curtains closed?? That’s female territory…that’s spurned lover territory. That’s…yeah. I’m marching out some rather tired female tropes here— the woman scorned, the bitter woman who wants to repay her ex in spades, the nasty woman who will do anything to smear her ex, etc. Entire industries chug along on that crap alone. There’s also the crazy ex who stalks the current Pretty Young Thang and there’s a catfight where boobies bounce a lot. That’s both a movie plot go-to and the newest ad campaign for Chanel Number Five. Petty revenge against a force that’s all-powerful and who announces they’re going to win no matter what happens…doesn’t seem like male on male catfighting. [Can men have catfights?? Mmm. Maybe tomcat fights? Because tomcats are both slinky and possess testicles? MMMM!]
PART FIVE: WHAT SORT OF DAY DOES THE DEVIL HAVE?
But anyway. The devil, in my opinion, always has a good day. The list of sins is long and people are stupid. You can’t even have naughty thoughts without making God’s I Saw That! list. You can’t lust in your head, your thoughts are on trial. God is literally the thought police. The devil wants you to run that hardcore dungeon daddy fantasy involving a Viking era cowboy-ish muscled up pretty boy who puts you through your paces with a small whip and a large donkey. The devil is saying, hey, baby, go for it. You say, okay! Good day for the devil. Or maybe, hey, you’re in charge of an entire country. And you’ve got pretty bombs and tanks at your disposal. Why not use them on something? Like Chicago?? Yeah, the devil doesn’t even have to do more than shrug and go, hey, baby, go for it. That whisper of permission to give in to your darkest or most silly little vices. Instead of living with your knees crossed and your mind full of amens and hallulujahs and notions that the world is burning alive.
So it makes sense, to me, to make the nemesis of the desert God who stalked about in the lands of Canaan and Judea and so forth…a girl.
And hey, if we keep the devil a boy, well…kettle of very LGTBQ fish, can I get a high five and a clobber verse, amen? [There are six, by the way, six. That’s it. There’s about six maybe references in the entire Bible about this issue. Uh huh.] You can’t have women with power, after all and you can’t even entertain the notion of God and the also-male devil being exes…because how soon before we’re making bestiality and incest legal and letting people marry their own houseplants?? Hello!
A seductive temptress whispering, go for it, baby, as she picks your pocket and paints a target on your back. That, after all, is what women are…we’re either whores or good girls. That Madonna/Whore dichotomy. One fall from grace and we’re forever branded a sin-filled whorebeast, we gals. There’s no forgiveness for us if we tumble a bit or a lot or at all… We have to be kept covered and controlled and in our place otherwise…chaos. That’s the central core message of pretty much any major or minor religion…women are suspect. Big time. Beware. You give women any sort of freedom and they turn to the devil and become witches and try to become men and want to vote and shit. Gol durn it, not on my watch!
PART SIX: WHERE I FINALLY MENTION SOME WRITING PROJECTS OF MINE!! YAY!
Which leads me to…yes, my piddles in this area, writing-wise. Gotcha!! I wove a pretty web, I offered some sweet blasphemy and oh, viola…here we arrive at some stark PR for my products. Oh my!
Being a writer chick, I invented a character. It’s kinda what I do on occasion. She drives around in an old Caddy, seeking whom she may devour. I didn’t give her a name, other than ‘devil’. She’s a black woman riding the roads of America, offering deals. I was writing along in Alice in Oregonlandia and went, as you do, hey…what if the devil shows up.
What if the devil shows up.
And, sometimes, my mind-worms poop out some useful smeary images. One of those 50’s monstrosity cars with fins that get about three miles per gallon because gas was cheap back then. Flames painted on the black doors. An engine that can heard miles away, one of those big powerful V-8 take on all comers engines. And a woman at the wheel, a powerful woman, a woman to be feared, a woman of sadness and fierce laughter, the devil. With dark skin , a body that’s hers and hers alone, a confidence that her road trip isn’t gonna end any time soon. She suggests sins, doesn’t tell you to actively commit them. She knows you and maybe even loves you a little, but still wants to turn you inside out to watch you strangle in your own guts.
She also turns up in my third book, Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. Which I’ve let ‘rest’ for a week, as other writing urges hooked me like a fly fisherman hooks one of those trout in a river in Montana. Must write this now! I’m mulling ideas for that third book, deciding just who and what Mr. Blue, Bong Bong and Mr. Peepers are. [If you have no idea who those characters are, it’s okay. I forgive you. Go in peace.] I’m inventing the mythology and reality of this world Alice, and her mother, Nancy, exist in. What happens if there’s devils within devils within devils? What happens if. It’s what writers do, after all. I’m not thinking Overall Literary Theme. I thinking, what if the devil is trying to fix her mistakes? What will Alice do when she finds out what Lysette is? What does Aaron know? I am thinking in terms of what comes next, not Man’s Inhumanity to Man.
The devil, after all, is in the details.
PART SEVEN: BWHA HA HA
Bwha ha ha.
The devil always has a good day. She likes to keep busy and she’s a multi-tasker, as women have been since the time they lived out in the open scavenging lion kills. God will snap His fingers and the devil might very well not even notice. She’s bent over whispering into a susceptible ear to some sexually confused young Christian man to look up three-way twink and bear porn [if you have no idea what this is, boy, are you gonna have some fun with Google today] over on porn hub [a real site, in case you thought I made that up, my innocent sweeties]…whispering in that ear to go for it, baby. God will be saying, hey, I’m ending the game. The devil will look up, from whispering sweet nothings into various ears. You do that, baby, if you think that’s best.
And God will swell up and stomp back to heaven, with a hearty string of expletives for his Ex and the devil will smile. It’s always a good day for the devil.