I’m planning to launch a series of blog essays that I’ve been musing over for a while now. The topic will be a new Satanic Panic, one that’s receiving less widespread coverage than its 1980s predecessor but which – thanks to the rise of alternative media across the Web – has reached a substantial size. The new Panic exists at an intersection between three groups: first, the religious right; second, the movements built around the Pizzagate an QAnon conspiracy theories; and third, the various groups formed to drive out perceived “SJW” influence on popular culture (Gamergate, Comicsgate, Rabid Puppies).
That third circle of the Venn diagram is something that particularly interests me, as it marks a generational shift between the twentieth-century and twenty-first century Satanic Panics. The popular entertainment franchises that Phil Phillips derided as demonic and corrupting in his 1986 opus Turmoil in the Toy Box – Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, She-Ra and so forth – are now seen by many in the current Satanic Panic as products of the good old days, albeit ones that have been corrupted and distorted in more recent years by “SJWs”. Swap “occult” with “feminist” and a lot of the arguments begin to line up.
My working title for the series was “Alt-Right Satanic Panic”, but I had to reject that on the grounds that it would lead to interminable debates about whether or not a particular figure could be termed “alt-right”. In the end I decided to simply swipe a title I’d already used in an earlier blog post where I pulled together my thoughts on the topic – Satanic Panic: Back and Based. It’s something that sums up the role of subcultural coolness that the modern Satanic Panic has inherited from some of its overlapping groups, and which separates it from its relentlessly uncool ancestor of the 1980s.
I’ve already chosen topics for the first few posts in the series and splashed out on the relevant research material; over February I intend to get properly stuck into writing. I should have something ready to post within the next month or two.