If anyone tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, don't make excuses about what is said of you, but answer: "He does not know my other faults, else he would not have mentioned only these."— Epictetus
Coven Oldenwilde tends to take the high road — we usually choose not to dignify the outrageous lies occasionally published about us by refuting them, since in a way they are backhanded compliments according us more power than we seek. To answer this clish-ma-claver (a Witch word for "foolish gossip") would be a waste of precious time better spent helping people and the planet.
We generally rest assured that we're appreciated by enough folks who know how we live and "do the Voodoo," so to speak, that we're not fazed by those who don't.
But the success of our The Goodly Spellbook and our magical and legal prowess have made us increasingly famous — or rather, infamous — and the vast, anonymous blogosphere makes it easy for someone who takes umbrage with this to bash us with apparent impunity.
Sometimes these player-haters crack on us because they're jealous that they're not the ones getting accolades (though they're too lazy to earn them); sometimes they do it because they feel guilty that they didn't have the ethical chops to earn a magical degree from us. (Lying, cheating, and stealing don't sit too well with us.)
Either way, they convince themselves they are justified in judging us. So they launch an unprovoked, usually ungrammatical and incoherent spew of babble about us that — for a while, at least — shows up when someone Googles our names.
We've noticed a pattern in these attacks that is typical for most bash-blogs and slander-sites. The Web page is often a mere shell, which looks like it was crudely slapped together just for the purpose of maligning us. In cowardly fashion, the hater buries his or her identity in a slough of untrackable pseudonyms (such as "Jack Mo," "Mac Hack," etc.). Typing pot-shots in the dark, they ascribe all manner of faults to us, hoping to erode our rep, create Craft schism, instill doubt in others' minds about our motivations or methods — to cause us pain.
They've no qualification to do so, of course, and no track record of their own to cite or tout — but who cares, right? Ire expressed, damage done, and instant gratification achieved.
For these ilk, the more powerful the Witch, the less powerful they feel, and the more they feel compelled to try to pull the person down. They depend heavily on ridicule, peppering their diatribes with disparaging words like "wacky" or "spooky". These are lazy tools of weak minds, to be sure, but surprisingly effective when picked up and perpetuated by Witches' real detractors — fundamentalist Christians who are eager to undercut Wicca's rapid rise in popularity.
What an ego-trip — to be able to post a rant that lives eternally in cyber-space (or at least as long as they pay their Internet bill)! Like everything in the Universe, the Web that serves Witches so well has both an up and a down side.
But personal motives aside, we find many indications of a more sinister motivation in such anti-Witch attacks. Many people operate by an imbedded monotheistic demonization of Witches' merit. Indeed, people have been indoctrinated to believe that no one can be consistently goodly, because only Jesus, Mohammed, or Abraham were. This programming that "everyone is a sinner — especially you!" is so insidious, many people remain completely unaware of how very much it dictates their assumptions about, and reactions to, others.
Monotheist dogma aside, cynicism fuels clish-ma-claver, too. Our society's growing disillusionment with the corruption of those we were trained to honor — politicians who are on the take, police who get away with brutality, military who torture civilians, priests who practice pedophilia — leaves little wonder that few feel safe from predation and see it everywhere, even where it does not exist.
This is why it's become fashionable to be jaded — to deny that all are goodly until proven otherwise. Scandal follows rumor, and where there's smoke, there's fire, right? Wrong. It's sad that many have so forgotten their history, for 'twas similarly unfounded rumor that stoked the blazes of the Burning Times.
Our perspective is that some attack just goes with the territory of being a public Pagan personage.
We continue to magically defend ourselves as needed, but to most of it, we smile and shrug. We even chuckle a bit when we can manage, for we trust that folks of true conscience would never countenance cowardly attacks like these.
Our stance remains as it always has been: We take our salt with the sweet of life, our lumps the same as our fan praise — with the same humility with which we approach our Gods.