Sometimes things are the opposite of what they appear to be!
Like the situation in this interview, for instance…
by Martin Harris 23/10/18
While researching yesterday, my attention was taken by this remarkable interview with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey:
My initial reaction to this interview by host Joe Pyne was the same as the rest of comment responses on YT: Pyne is being a total ass, while LaVey deserves kudos for his maturity and composure. I, a Christian, felt sympathy for the Devil (or at least one of his self professed minions!).
Then I sat back and reflected and applied some logical analysis.
When a celebrity accepts an invitation to a TV interview, they usually have a pretty good idea of what they’re in for, in terms of the general format of the show. Prior to going to camera, guest and host go through the general direction of the interview; any “no go” subjects etc. In other words they prepare and collaborate.
Essentially, this is theatre. And it’s all designed to make LaVey look good.
Right from the get-go, Pyne takes the mickey out of Lavey. In fact, he barely gets a word in edgeways without Pyne cutting in with some caustic humour. At first the audience, all Middle Class American Conservatism (and most likely church attendees and Godfearing Christians), lap it up. Give the Devil-worshipper the Hell he wants! At one point, LaVey is asked to show the “Goats Horns” hand signal. The audience reacts with a gasp (how times have changed: no one would batt an eyelid now!). “Not at them!” says Pyne, thus suggesting that this hand gesture has diabolical power; So the audience fear LaVey’s power. The power of suggestion at work.
But LaVey keeps his composure. He issues neither curse nor insult, he takes it all on the chin and in good humour. One can feel the audience gaining a begrudging hint of respect for the guy in the Dracula cape. Give the guy a break! Let him finish a sentence, we wanna hear what this “Satanist” has to say!
And indeed we are being set up for the second segment of the show. This is where selected members of the audience get to ask Anton LaVey the big questions. One suspects the questions prepared beforehand and simply read out by the selectees, but who knows?
What matters is how LaVey reacts. He listens attentively and respectfully, and answers with intelligent, well structured responses.
Fear. Respect. Admiration.
And on any other platform, this audience would have had LaVey burned at the stake. But by cleverly ridiculing the Church Of Satan leader and showing him responding in an unexpectedly mature and reserved fashion, the show’s producers have achieved a seemingly impossible situation. A cleverly deceptive trick worthy of The devil Himself!
Context: The late Sixties. Free love and Flower Power was in the air, and kids were listening to mind altering music, watching mind altering movies, and ingesting mind altering substances. One can imagine some budding Hippie watching this show with wide eyed admiration: “WOW, this LaVey guy’s got it together, man!”
Opinion: Satanists, like any other religious devotees, come in many varieties from mild to extreme. LaVeys Church of Satan, on the surface at least, is relatively harmless. Hallowe’en dress up and whacky rituals. Publicity stunts like “After School Satan” programs and erecting statues of a rather solemn looking Baphomet.
They do serve a darker purpose however. They provide a handy distraction for the “real” Satanists: The ones who wear fine suits and stand behind the Presidents and party leaders (usually just outside the spotlight). Or the ones who hide in the full glare of the spotlight as celebrities, or cover themselves in priestly robes.
While some claim that Pyne’s death a few months after this interview was a result of LaVey’s diabolical revenge for his treatment on the show, I seriously doubt this. Watch the final fadeout carefully: Did Pyne shake hands with The Devil?