Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pre-emptive response to the forthcoming adulation for Caroline Tully

[Be sure to check out this follow-up post: "What is my problem? (In which I inform Caroline Tully that I am not in love with her.")

World renowned graduate student and self-proclaimed "fervid article writer" Caroline Tully has published an interview of herself (by Sasha Chaitow) on her blog. In the coming hours and days this will certainly lead to a chorus of praise and acclaim for Tully from the usual suspects throughout the Pagan blogosphere. (See list at the bottom of this post for a link to the interview and other relevant links.)

While the interview dutifully perpetuates the mythology of Tully as both an important figure in modern Paganism and a leading light in the pseudo-academic niche of "Pagan studies", there is no mention of her most recent and notable contribution in both of those areas, namely her unhinged diatribe in the peer-reviewed academic journal The Pomegranate titled "Researching the Past is a Foreign Country: Cognitive Dissonance as a Response by Practitioner Pagans to Academic Research on the History of Pagan Religions".

In particular there is no mention in Sasha Chaitow's interview of Tully's ridiculous claim to have documented and psycho-analyzed a supposed "internet smear campaign" against Ronald Hutton "motivated" by criticisms of Hutton found in Ben Whitmore's 2010 book Trials of the Moon: Reopening the Case for Historical Witchcraft.

Tully's ludicrous claim of a "smear campaign" against her hero (she has never made any attempt to disguise her adoration for Hutton) should be challenged by anyone who claims to be a serious scholar of modern Paganism. What evidence does Tully provide to support her claim? In particular, what documents or other statements constitute the supposed "smear campaign". Is Ben Whitmore personally responsible for this "smear campaign", or does his culpability stop at having provided the "motivation" for it? And what precisely does Tully charge Carla O'Harris, the only other person (besides Whitmore) named in connection with the "smear campaign", with? Is O'Harris perhaps the ringleader?

But more importantly, Tully's own smear campaign against "Pagans who dislike Ronald Hutton" needs to be loudly condemned by the Pagan community. Many well known Pagans have promoted views of Pagan history that are at odds with what Hutton wrote in Triumph of the Moon. In fact, Hutton himself has admitted that in Triumph he completely "ignored the existence" of the most important historical connections between ancient and modern Paganism!