Posted inFilm/TV

Once upon a time in ‘The Elysian Kingdom’

Reading Time: 9 minutes Classic Trek series always left room for play, and sometimes did so quite literally, with beloved characters play-acting in completely different roles for many episodes. Holodeck episodes in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager allowed crew members to play-act consciously. Q-continuum, time-travel, and mirror-universe episodes invited a range of unwilling, unintended, and naturalized […]

Posted inMyth & Folklore

What if she comes anyway?

Reading Time: 3 minutes Her name was first spoken in hushed tones among children all over America [over] twenty years ago. Even in Sweden, folklorists reported Bloody Mary’s fame. Children of all races and classes told of the hideous demon conjured by chanting her name before a mirror in a pitch-dark room. And when she crashes through the glass, […]

Posted inCulture, History, Myth & Folklore, Religion

The Rifle, and Other Stories, by Tomás Carrasquilla: Translating a Catholic writer as a secular humanist

Reading Time: 11 minutes Outside my work here at OnlySky, I’m a writer of speculative and science fiction, and a translator. My science fiction usually focuses on alternative justices and social contract theory, so the overlap with my humanist essays is obvious. But my work as a translator? Well, that’s a labor of love, and an act of thanks. […]

Posted inMyth & Folklore

There’s a patron saint for lunatics, so why did neo-Nazis attend a St Patrick’s Day parade in Boston?

Reading Time: 8 minutes A report in the Boston Globe that a group wearing neo-Nazi insignia appeared among the spectators at Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city on Sunday got me thinking: If far-right imbeciles want to attend saints’ days, they should hold rallies of their own to revere Dymphna, the patron saint of the mentally ill. […]

Posted inMyth & Folklore

The death of a useful monster

Reading Time: 3 minutes High in the Pennines in the north of England, in the gold-brown water of the River Tees, lives a creature named Peg Powler. She’s a mermaid, kind of, but she’s no Ariel. Peg is a river hag, with green hair and skin and a row of jagged teeth. And unlike Ariel, she lives not to make children […]

Posted inMyth & Folklore

Let’s resurrect the Thirteen Club to ridicule enduring superstitious beliefs

Reading Time: 4 minutes Superstition in all it many forms faced two significant challenges in 1881. This was the year that G W Foote launched his UK atheist magazine, The Freethinker, saying that “it will wage relentless war against Superstition in general, and against Christian Superstition in particular.” Meanwhile, across the pond, bon viveur William Fowler found a different […]

Posted inArts

Is the Pussy Riot ‘Punish’ music video calling out Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church?

Reading Time: 3 minutes I don’t typically write about music, but the Satantic references (along with some interesting commentary on Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church) in the latest Pussy Riot music video, definitely caught my attention. While it’s certainly not the first time a band has used its platform to spotlight current issues, whether social or political, and […]