[To watch the movie clip with the following dialogue in it, click here]
Beth: “So you must be Dan.”
Dan: “Sort of.”
Beth: “Sort of?”
Dan: “Well, I’m actually a Wiccan.”
Beth: “A what?”
Dan: “A Wiccan.” Beth: “Wiccan…”
Dan: “Male witch.”
Beth: “Oh…” Dan: “So I also have a magical name. It’s Brother Phoenix East-horse. But I didn’t know if that would fit on the card.”
Beth: “Wow, I’m guessin’ tonight I’m gonna be hearing a whole lot about…”
Dan: “Nature-based, pre-Christian paganism, yeah.”
These quotes come from the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Which I love, I think it’s hilarious, and their depiction of the stereotypical pagan is pretty much spot on. While there are a number of stereotypes going on here (magical names, for one), we’re only focusing on the stereotype that all pagans talk about is paganism.
Unfortunately, this one is somewhat true to a certain extent. In my admittedly limited experience, when pagans gather the topic of conversation tends to be paganism and pagan issues. And at times even when pagans aren’t talking to other pagans, which is the issue in the above dialogue, the conversation can tend to center around paganism.
Why? As much as I love paganism and discussing paganism sometimes, I don’t want to talk about it all the time, nor do I think it’s appropriate to debate or discuss such issues constantly. Myself, I don’t talk about pagan issues outside of my group of pagan friends. My family doesn’t know I’m pagan, my non-pagan friends generally aren’t interested, and talking to strangers or acquaintances about it would be uncomfortable and inviting derision. It also smacks of evangelism–which paganism famously does not do, no matter the tradition.
Yet this stereotype exists for a reason, and the depiction in the movie of Dan/Brother Phoenix East-horse is disturbingly accurate. And Beth, probably rightly, thought Dan insane, or at the very least uncomfortable to be around. This is really how we want people to view us? As crazy people who walk around talking about paganism whether others want to hear it or not? As I said earlier, it sounds more and more like evangelism when you put it in that context, which is what most pagans try to get away from, not embrace or perpetuate.