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As a child, I believed my 16-year-old babysitter, at the peak of adulthood, had all of the answers one could have. She had hip kicks, cool hair, and was in high school, which I assumed to be the height of “getting it.” She was old enough to understand the complexities of the universe (for me, at the time, that meant she could make mac and cheese from a blue box), yet not old enough to be out of touch with youth culture. I could not wait to become a teenager and to be as cool as she and the other teens I saw on TV, like Kelly Kapowski, Shawn Hunter, and Clarissa Darling. When I reached that threshold, I learned I was drastically wrong and shifted my gaze to 18 . . . and then at 18 to 21, 21 to 30. Now I’m just waiting for the comfort of the void. More… “Good Graces”

Melinda Lewis has a PhD in American Culture Studies. She knows more celebrity gossip than basic math and watches too much television.
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Part of the development of a socially maladjusted teenage girl — right around the same time she starts carrying Sylvia Plath’s Ariel with her everywhere she goes, scribbling in the margins; hacks at her own hair with dull kitchen shears; and discovers a copy of Hole’s Pretty on the Inside — is an obsession with the Salem Witch Trials. The more she learns about the 19 women and men who were executed in a little over a year, the more it reinforces her cynical theories about society — specifically that, as a woman, if you refuse to conform you will be left vulnerable.

The targets of these trials were not just those women who were unable to fulfill their womanly duties — the postmenopausal, the barren, the spinsters and widows. Women who stood up for their rights —… More…

The strangeness starts with the Steven King fog — or, more accurately, with the cackling scarecrow demons that live in the fog. To get to Glastonbury Tor in time for the summer solstice sunrise, I leave London at midnight. Halfway there I’m gazing at the swirling Hammer Horror-movie mist with childlike wonder. I allow myself to hallucinate scythe-wielding straw men racing alongside me, through the twisting and rolling, silvery moonlit high-hedged English West Country lanes. It is horribly easy. And the closer to Glastonbury I get, the easier it becomes.

 

Any half-educated rationalist with access to a search engine could tell you that Glastonbury’s reputation as the ley-line criss-crossed hub of some mysteriously immeasurable Earth power is as bogus as the stories of King Arthur or the “ancient” Wiccan religion and the hundreds of other mumbo-jumbled New Age… More…