I’ve mostly ignored Christine O’Donnell up to this point, as it doesn’t surprise me much that a highly active group of Republican Christian paranoiacs could propel one of their own to a Senate candidacy. I also think that she has no chance of winning the seat and as such will fade back into obscurity—unlike, for example, Sarah Palin, who despite everything else seems to have an excellent sense of opportunistic timing. My feelings about O’Donnell were broadly similar to, although less developed than, those outlined in Chris Floyd’s “Circle Jerks: Delaware Distraction Obscures Oval Office Atrocities”.
Today, however, I read that she’s claimed in the past that she dabbled in witchcraft, and, well, that really seemed like a little much. Because she’s not talking about playing with a Ouija board, or staring at yourself in the mirror; no, because of her religious beliefs, she’s really talking about “Satanism”, and makes a claim to have “seen a Satanic altar with a little blood”.
I’m not sure why this bothers me so much, but it might be due to my correlating it with ridiculous, religion-driven hysteria about roleplaying games, and because witch hunts in general are fantastically unpleasant, and because, really, aren’t there enough awful things going on in the world that you don’t have to invent more to feel bad about? But it’s not really about the world, it’s about a certain kind of attention-seeking combined with a kind of self- or group-mythologizing that requires Terrible Enemies in order to be compelling. I’m glad to see slacktivist demolish the story so effectively.
(For something a little more optimistic, here’s Penny Arcade on the difference between the crap spouted by ignorant fearmongers and the realities of a D&D game.)