Geraldo Rivera – Exposing Satan’s Underground
Reviewed by Feb 21st, 2009

I can’t watch Geraldo without thinking about all the journalism classes I’ve taken. Instead of actually having us go through books and talk about ethics and objectivity, the professors could have just made us watch Geraldo and then simply said, “Don’t be that guy!” Geraldo’s yellow journalism is so sensational and awful that it constantly amazes me that anyone would put this guy on television. Well, except Fox News. And while I haven’t watched this shit in about a hundred years, I sort of knew what to expect, but I was still surprised at the way he constantly asks leading questions and puts words in people’s mouths. And how he constantly finds a way to tie Charles Manson into every single discussion. If he did a special on baked goods, he’d probably find a way to put in clips of Charles Manson. What the fuck. But fuck Geraldo anyway,I am not talking about Geraldo, the issues here are much larger. This one special manages to show so much about how stupid people are and what is wrong with humanity in general. People wonder why I hate people. This is why. Watch this, and you’ll know.

If you study a lot of different cultures, you’d find that few things really remain constant between them. Gender roles we take for granted in our societies are seemingly reversed in others. People eat different things, dress differently, speak different languages. And yet many of them have some sort of religion. You can’t blame them, I suppose. And our ancestors believed in gods. And you can’t blame them, either. They were looking for a way to explain shit that goes on around them, which is commendable. The problem is that, when more plausible explanations were found, people still clung to their false belief systems. People in some places used to think that a woman had to carry around a doll with a big belly if she wanted to get pregnant. Eventually, they found out that fucking makes babies, not carrying around dolls. So they stopped carrying around the dolls, because it had nothing to do with reproduction.

People have asked me when I stopped believing in God, and I tell them, at birth, certainly, possibly earlier. It’s not the whole truth, but what they want is some sort of sob story. They think it must be some acute event in my life that bummed me out really bad, and it certainly was not. I think of it as the next logical step after learning that the tooth fairy isn’t real.

When I was about six years old, I remember walking down the school hall with my best friend. She was certain that Santa Claus was real. I thought she was a dipshit, and insisted otherwise. I had tested this idea by quietly sneaking down a few steps late at night on Christmas Eve, allowing me a pretty good view of the room where the Christmas tree stood. Besides already knowing that Santa’s handwriting looked a lot like my dad’s, I witnessed my parents wrapping all the gifts and putting them under the tree. The following summer, I was in the alley riding bikes with the neighbor. She stopped suddenly, turning the front wheel to the side. I crashed quite dramatically, knocking out my front two baby teeth. I was covered in blood and my parents drove me right to the dentist. Later, I laid perfectly still in bed, and noticed my mom taking the teeth from under my pillow and replacing them with a couple of dollars. Not very lucrative, this tooth-selling shit. I never expected a tooth fairy, but it was important that I actually saw my mom, albeit through mostly-closed eyelids, to prove that she was both Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

Later in life, I was sad to find that other people are not so curious. Not only did they wait until their parents told them the tooth fairy and Santa weren’t real, but they didn’t question other things, either. Just as I stopped putting teeth under the pillow, I also decided it was pretty silly to ask some invisible guy in the sky for favors. God and Santa had a lot in common. If you were bad all year, Santa gave you a lump of coal. Hardly eternal torment, but it would make you jealous of the shit your friends got for Christmas. If you were good, Santa gave you all the toys you wanted, as long as they were available at the local department store. God did things on a larger scale. He waited until you were dead, then either gave you all the shit you ever wanted, or sent you to hell to be punished for being a bad little boy or girl. Despite having no evidence of his existence, adults continue to believe this shit. That’s why I have no faith in humanity: people are unbelievably stupid.

Near death experiences are another (un)favorite of mine. Now, I’ve had a few so I know what I’m talking about. I’ve also witnessed other people dying or almost dying. People actually think that the light they may see is evidence of heaven. That is remarkably stupid. When your brain is not getting enough oxygen, or you’re sick and delirious, you may hallucinate or dream all sorts of crazy shit. You cannot trust your senses under those circumstances. I also dislike it when people go around claiming they got religion after nearly dying. (I had a boyfriend once who crashed a car and suddenly got religion. I immediately dumped him.) What they are experiencing is not supernatural, it is fear and realizing that their entire life has been pointless. Of course they are scared to die, all this effort was for nothing. So they invent stories that they go hang out in the clouds with Jesus, having tea and crumpets.

I also laugh at anyone over the age of 15 who reads “occult literature” and worships, well, anything. I read occult literature as a preteen, too, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s more that so many people just substitute it for whatever religion their parents were, and they remain just as religious. And that’s why I laugh at “religious black metal.” I hate seeing stupid people in black metal, but they are there, and they are rampant, just like stupid people anywhere else. I guess it just particularly saddens me because I like to think of BM as being less stupid than most other things in life, and here are people who never grew out of their preteen occultism phase. It’s not that I hate the occult literature or symbolism at all, just the people who have seen too many horror movies about satanic cults and think that’s what it’s all about, and they go around emulating the shit from horror movies and making asses out of themselves.

Much has been said about the term “Satanism,” and I’m here to defend it, still.

Some have said, “Satan is taken from Christianity/Judaism, so why asssociate oneself with it?” Answer: Because goddamned near EVERYTHING is taken from Christianity/Judaism, and goddamn near everyone you meet is a Christian or Jew. To acknowledge how stupid that is, one might associate themselves with the Judeo-Xian bogeyman.

Others have said, “If you are not devil worshipers, why call yourselves satanic?” Answer: Because that shit (worship) only matters to people who are religious. An atheist simply laughs it off. While I can understand just wanting to be thought of as an atheist, I would suggest that anyone calling themselves a satanist just feels a bit more strongly about religion being stupid.

The same goes for the symbolism. Some may consider it childish to use symbols like inverted crosses, and that’s their problem, but as I see it, it’s making fun of religion. But why make fun of religion? Because not only is it stupid and irrational, but it makes people do stupid, irrational things. It makes them superstitious. It made my parents throw away my Venom records as a kid because they thought they were a bad influence. They thought the pentagrams on the front had some mystical power and we’d all go to hell for having them in the house. Venom were taking the piss. They were having a good time. So were the people listening to Venom.

I was too young in the 80s to really be affected by the “satanic panics,” but the aftereffects lingered for many years. Not just in music ratings and things like the James Vance vs. Judas Priest trial, but in the idea that music had mystical power over people, particularly teenagers, and that they were helpless to resist this influence. The idea that bands sat around using backward-masking to get their listeners to kill themselves, and that music was actually dangerous in a literal sense. We were still living in the Dark Ages, apparently. The idea that there could ever be a conspiracy among heavy metal musicians that used backwards-masking to get kids to “turn away from the church” sounds like something too retarded to ever occur in modern times, and yet it did. And then it stayed on for a long time, long enough for me to start a zine, start listening to black metal, and write for other zines about satanism, and all this lead to a news team travelling some 80 miles to interview me. That still amazed me, that TV news would cover things like that. News should be objective, not about religion, and it certainly shouldn’t be amazed that some people are atheists and somewhat disgusted with the state of things, the nonseparation of church and state, etc.

But that’s not to say that “teenage satanism” doesn’t exist. That’s what I mean by “preteen occultism.” Kids who rebel against their parents by emulating horror movies and literature. It’s a great aesthetic, but it’s fiction. I think teenage satanism really got more popular around the time Marilyn Manson was just starting out. I thought it was an interesting band at the time, somehow I got a couple of Manson cassettes sent to me for review. I don’t like the guitar tone much or the direction the music later went in, but MM was inflammatory in a fun way at the time. However, he was involved with the Church of Satan. LaVey was a great businessman and said some intelligent things, mostly paraphrased from other people, but the idea of paying money to join a satanic church was rather silly. As MM got more popular, hordes of kids wanted to join. You had to be 18 though, I think, so, alas, many could not. And while MM was not at all metal, he was often called such by the press, due to having similar trappings (pentagrams, makeup, etc). And yet still, in those days, actual metal was still quite underground. A lot of people who didn’t like metal might’ve known who Ozzy or even King Diamond was, but most had never heard any death metal, and they hadn’t heard of black metal, unless they lived in Norway.

Then the internet happened. I didn’t have an internet-capable computer until 1999, and it didn’t even occur to me that people might talk about metal online, so I didn’t even look. I also lived in a dorm and the internet was dialup, so the roommate would have bitched if I was online very much, anyway. But regardless of that, people were talking about metal online, and news travels faster there. People started to read about black metal and that lead to things like books and documentaries on black metal. Truly, the end times were upon us.

I can understand thinking BM is interesting, and documentary filmmakers like to make documentaries on interesting things. However, that doesn’t mean the films always have the best intentions or that they are well informed. Many are nearly as sensationalistic as a Geraldo special. And then these had aftereffects: young kids, the kind that use to adopt the trappings of horror-film devil worshipers, saw/read them and decided to latch on to black metal, instead. Higher profile bands that used to be associated with BM, such as Cradle of Filth, may deserve some of the blame, as well, but I blame the media more.

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