By NICOLE BURROWS
LAST week, I wrote that we were in the asylum. Little did I know that this week I’d be able to specifically substantiate that claim. But I can’t yet decide who is most culpable for ushering in the madness.
Anatol Rodgers High School’s principal said her students are “experimenting with a homosexual Mexican demon” named Charlie. And she called in pastors and ministers to pray for the institution. Allegedly, her students have been in talks with “Charlie”, the gay “demon” in social media.
According to Myrtle McPhee, “there are recordings coming from CC Sweeting and one coming from CV Bethel, where you saw the pencil moved ... To me it looks like it is real”, Ms McPhee is quoted as saying.
The game, they tell me (because I have far too many things to do than to spend time following “Charlie” in social media), consists of crossing two pencils on a sheet of paper and calling up “Charlie, Charlie” for a session.
Apparently, they need to start teaching Physics in kindergarten. Even on a level surface, you would have to cross your pencils with extremely keen precision in order for one not to roll off the other.
I can’t believe the stupidity. Two pencils in the shape of a cross on a flat piece of paper will not be stable or stationary unless laid with meticulous exactness, the kind of precision only had when people have a good understanding of the laws of physics, which apparently they do not if they believe evil spirits move the pencils.
Ms McPhee further says the students are “doing it in the bathrooms or if they get an opportunity when they are alone in a class…” Frankly, I’m more concerned with what else they get up to in the bathrooms, or behind the bathrooms, or behind the classrooms. And, if their parents were paying the attention required to effectively guide them through their youth, they wouldn’t be so sexually driven; sexually curious, perhaps they’ll always be as human beings, but being sexually driven to the public disclosure and performance of sex is another matter altogether.
So “Charlie” is supposed to be a homosexual “demon” with a penchant for sex talk. When you say anything “homosexual” or “sexual”, the pencil moves indicating that “Charlie” is present.
Principal McPhee, courtesy of her guidance counsellor, called on a couple of dozen pastors to pray this gay “demon” “Charlie” away from the school.
Why aren’t these pastors walking up and down the streets of New Providence praying and exorcising “demons”, if they believe that to be effective? Ms McPhee continued, “If it’s a demon spirit and so many persons have experimented with this demon spirit then we need to guard against it”.
I don’t know who to be most disgusted with: the ignorant students (but they’re young and impressionable and only follow the ignorant adults); the ignorant teachers and school officials; the extremist religious men and women who give power to this nonsense by believing in it; or the journalists who give credence by reporting it (but they only write what they think you should know about).
I’ve seen the letter sent to pastors by the guidance counsellor on behalf of her principal and in seven lines of text there are ten errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling. More reasons to be disgusted. The teachers and educators need to be re-educated along with their students. No wonder our national average (in English) is a declining D. Perhaps, if they took more time to learn what to teach their students instead of paying attention to “Charlie’ the gay “demon”, we wouldn’t be so terribly ignorant and deficient as a people.
The most sensible thing to come out of this story is Ms McPhee’s plan to hold a special assembly at the school to speak to the children about the dangers of and “experimenting with” social media. Now that I can agree with, not because of some homosexual spirit force, but because there are a host of things in social media that occupy the minds of children which really have no place in childhood.
By all means, stop the children from playing the game in school (which is all the control you really have), as the preoccupation with it negatively impacts their attentiveness and their ability to gain a decent education. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with the Ministry of Education (MoE) sending a notice about something they think is receiving too much attention and distracting students from their studies – and exams at the end of the school year.
But I know that’s not the MoE’s sole rationale or the impetus for their rationale. The bottom line is that they are afraid of evil spirits, which, by the way, are not synonymous with the supernatural, which is unexplained phenomena, not necessarily bad or harmful phenomena.
And that’s the crux of this isn’t it?
People explain things they can’t control, things they can’t understand, particularly bad things, as being the result of something evil or demonic. The further it is from reality, the better the justification. When, in actuality, if you believe it, you make it real for yourself and for your existence. And that applies to anything, especially anything related to religion and superstition.
Which raises a point.
Bahamians are so religious, yet so superstitious; it’s a collision of African slave ancestry and the rituals of the ancestors and the beliefs of colonial purveyors of Christianity. We have inherited ancient tribal folklore along with a religious faith superimposed by the conversion of the black “savage” slaves to Judaism and Christianity. The two systems of belief coexist in The Bahamas, and this is the outcome.
But it is entirely ironic. Because you know what’s far scarier than “Charlie”? The overwhelming ignorance and unfounded superstition that lies beneath so-called religious faith, particularly the kind observed and practised in The Bahamas.
If you have strong religious faith, and the power at the core of your religion is more powerful than any force of evil in this world, wouldn’t it overcome the superstition?
Don’t step on a crack.
Don’t walk under a ladder.
Don’t let a black cat cross in front of you.
Don’t break a mirror.
Don’t drop a spoon.
Don’t point at a grave.
Don’t split the pole.
Don’t walk backwards.
Don’t put on your left shoe first.
Don’t let anyone have your hair.
Don’t walk through a graveyard at night.
Don’t say “snake” when you see one.
Don’t talk about your bad dream.
Don’t open an umbrella indoors.
Don’t eat out of a plate at the same time.
Don’t spill salt without tossing it over your left shoulder.
Don’t say anything bad without knocking or touching wood.
Don’t go anywhere near the number 13.
Don’t let the groom see the bride before the wedding.
Don’t cut your nails on a Saturday.
This whole “Charlie, Charlie” thing reminds me of the religious incantations used by Catholic and other priests in the middle ages to cast out “demons” from people with epileptic seizures, or those suffering from delirium caused by advanced infection. Of course, this happened because they had no understanding of the science behind the symptoms.
I think the attention paid and credence given to “Charlie, Charlie” says more about the mental condition of our people, the gullibility of our young people and the adults they follow, than it does about the power of “demons”. So many Bahamians are running in circles up and down the garden path when what they really need is to be mentally assessed and/or medicated. If we want to stop “demons”, maybe we should start with that.
And if we’re going to identify “demons”, I see “demons” in the pulpit and on the altar. I see “demons” in Parliament. I see “demons” in government.
If a “demon” is a representation of something you should fear, then I think we don’t pay nearly enough attention where and when we should.
There are “demons” pouring out of your television and radio. There are “demons” causing students – children – to have sex orgies in school. There are “demons” influencing the rape of boys and girls by men and women who should take care of them.
Of special note, as I listened to all the commentary about “Charlie, Charlie”, I have to wonder: are Bahamian educators and parents in essence saying they would rather the students be led by real, gay people than fake, gay “demons”? When you listen to their arguments and positions, and you see who is stating them, it really appears that they want to exorcise intangible, gay “demons” from schools, but will allow the direction of the youth by actual gay people – the same gay people they love to hate. Or maybe their gay “demon” radar needs to be recalibrated? There has got to be something very hypocritical about that.
But Bahamians are often ace hypocrites. They pick and choose the appropriateness of their “demons”. They are busy paying attention to and creating alarm about things you can’t even see or have no evidence of, all the while ignoring the things they can plainly see and for which they have real evidence. But that’s how we live here. In denial. Keep it “hush hush’. Don’t let nobody know. It’s too shameful.
Well shame on you Bahamians for your selective insanity.