“It may seem a stretch to claim that The Girl With All The Gifts is an anti-natalist story when its most pro-natalist characters aren’t necessarily pro-baby, but pro-species. The logic behind both, however, stems from the same selfish and oppressive choices. Humans, until this point, have treated the new, immune second generation like just another thing to be colonized to secure their own posterity. They subject the children to captivity and dissection. This is all done in search for an antidote so that the old generation of humans can keep on living and therefore breeding. It is never in the interest of the new generation/Other. It is here I would like to emphasize natalist vs. pro-natalist. Pro-natalism goes beyond the status quo of humans’ natalist tendencies to promote a birthrate without reason or through ignoring ethical critique.”



PSA: Read The Automation for free on Smashwords

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What the gods specifically desire from mortals via sacrifice is “honor, prerogatives, and gratitude.”

‘What the gods specifically desire from mortals via sacrifice is “honor, prerogatives, and gratitude.” Thus those priests and seers who attempt to bind the gods practice a perversion of religion, and in his Laws Plato specifies the death penalty as the punishment for an mantis who attempts to harm someone through spells and incantations. Plato’s formulation is problematic, however, because his religious beliefs were not necessarily those of the average Greek, or even Athenian, and his distinction between religion and magic is surely far more narrow than the popular one, insofar as most Greeks even thought about the distinction at all.

In actual experience, the distinction between magic and religion is fluid, and both can coexist within the same body of ritual acts. Both religion and magic rely on prayer, sacrifice, and incantation to achieve their ends. But whereas religious practices tend to be under control of the polis, magical practices are beyond public control and therefore are perceived as being dangerous. Yet the difference between magic and religion is also one of context and social approval. Magic is activity meant to achieve the goals of prevailing religion in ways disapproved of by that religion. Thus both magic and religion are goal-oriented, but the relationship of each to the supernatural, at least in Greek eyes, was different.’

– Michael Attyah Flower, The Seer in Ancient Greece 

From “The Structural Study of Myth” by Claude Lévi-Strauss

“Of all the chapters of religious anthropology probably none has tarried to the same extent as studies in the field of mythology. From a theoretical point of view the situation remains very much the same as it was fifty years ago, namely, a picture of chaos. Myths are still widely interpreted in conflicting ways: collective dreams, the outcome of a kind of esthetic play, the foundation of ritual…. Mythological figures are considered as personified abstractions, divinized heroes or decayed gods. Whatever the hypothesis, the choice amounts to reducing mythology either to an idle play or to a coarse kind of speculation.

Mythology confronts the student with a situation which at first sight could be looked upon as contradictory. On the one hand, it would seem that in the course of a myth anything is likely to happen. There is no logic, no continuity. Any characteristic can be attributed to any subject; every conceivable relation can be met. With myth, everything becomes possible. But on the other hand, this apparent arbitrariness is belied by the astounding similarity between myths collected in widely different regions. Therefore the problem: if the content of a myth is contingent, how are we going to explain that throughout the world myths do resemble one another so much?

A remark can be introduced at this point which will help to show the singularity of myth among other linguistic phenomena. Myth is the part of language where the formula traduttore, tradittore reaches its lowest truth-value. From that point of view it should be put in the whole gamut of linguistic expressions at the end opposite to that of poetry, in spite of all the claims which have been made to prove the contrary. Poetry is a kind of speech which cannot be translated except at the cost of serious distortions; whereas the mythical value of the myth remains preserved, even through the worst translation. Whatever our ignorance of the language and the culture of the people where it originated, a myth is still felt as a myth by any reader through- out the world. Its substance does not lie in its style, its original music, or its syntax, but in the story which it tells. It is language, functioning on an especially high level where meaning succeeds practically at “taking off” from the linguistic ground on which it keeps on rolling.

Prevalent attempts to explain alleged differences between the so-called “primitive” mind and scientific thought have resorted to qualitative differences between the working processes of the mind in both cases while assuming that the objects to which they were applying themselves remained very much the same. If our interpretation is correct, we are led toward a completely different view, namely, that the kind of logic which is used by mythical thought is as rigorous as that of modern science, and that the difference lies not in the quality of the intellectual process, but in the nature of the things to which it is applied. This is well in agreement with the situation known to prevail in the field of technology: what makes a steel ax superior to a stone one is not that the first one is better made than the second. They are equally well made, but steel is a different thing than stone. In the same way we may be able to show that the same logical processes are put to use in myth as in science, and that man has always been thinking equally well; the improvement lies, not in an alleged progress of man’s conscience, but in the discovery of new things to which it may apply its unchangeable abilities.”


“The Structural Study of Myth” by Claude Lévi-Strauss

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#BLAThoughtOfTheDay – Yes, this explains one reason why I dislike Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

Other reasons include:


On Sacrifices in Homer:

“There are also stories which point back clearly to a time when there was human sacrifice. But what is astonishing is not that bits of savage belief were left here and there. The strange thing is that they are so few.”

-Edith Hamilton, Mythology. 

“Myths are early science.”

“Myths are early science, the result of men’s first trying to explain what they saw around them. But there are so many so-called myths which explain nothing at all. These tales are pure entertainment, the sort of thing people would tell each other on a long winter’s evening.” – Edith Hamilton

“For poetry too is a little incarnation…”

“For poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible, and inaudible.”  

– C.S. Lewis

Happy day of the dead!


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BookTuber Tuesday – Classical Literature


[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

On the sacrifice of the scapegoat:

“But the scapegoat was not always reviled. As noted above, the sacrificial victim sometimes came to be revered after the event – even to the point of becoming over time a founding hero for the community. The Greeks celebrated Prometheus as a sacred pharmakos (scapegoat) after he had met with his sacrificial fate, and we witness a similarly retrospective apotheosis of scapegoats across a variety of foundational myths – Osiris, Romulus, Christ, Orpheus, Socrates, Cuchulian. Such figures, though invariably ostracized for excoriated by their contemporaries, became hallowed over the ages until they were eventually remembered as  savior gods ho restored their community from chaos to order. They re-emerge out of the mists of time as miraculous deities who managed to transmute conflict into law. But this alteration of sacrificed ‘aliens’ into sacred ‘other is, of course, predicated upon a strategic forgetfulness of their initial stigmatization, that is, the fact that they were originally victims of ritual bloodletting…

A genuinely peaceful community would be one which, Girard contends, exposes its own strategies of sacrificial alienation and enters the light of ‘true fraternity.’ It would be a society without need of scapegoats…such a community would commit itself instead to principles of ‘transcendence’ beyond time and history. It would take its lead from the exemplary action of Christ, who underwent death on the Cross in order to expose the sacrificial lie for once and for all by revealing the innocence of the victim. The sacrifice to end all sacrifice.

In short, peace requires nothing less than the decoupling of the stranger and the scapegoat. And this means acknowledging that the genuine ‘other’ is always guaranteed by a radically divine Other – an asymmetrical, vertical alterity irreducible to the envious ploys of mimetic desire. Girard, like Levinas, calls this ethical alterity – even if it addresses us through the face of the other – God.” – Richard Kearney,  “Strangers and Scapegoats” in Strangers, Gods and Monsters. 


GABBLER RECOMMENDS: Amazonian Fancy Pants, a Tumblr post

Coin toss: Take a chance on THE AUTOMATION


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Why I’m already concerned about the Starz TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods


Hi. BLA here. Coming to remind you of what Neil Gaiman said back in 2010 about not setting one of his books in “America”:

“The great thing about having an English cemetery is I could go back a very, very, very long way. And in America, you go back 250 years (in a cemetery), and then suddenly you’ve got a few dead Indians, and then you don’t have anybody at all, unless you decide to set it up in Maine or somewhere and sneak in some Vikings.” [Via]

A “few dead Indians” is what you’re supposed to pay attention to here. Now, surpassing debates on what he meant or didn’t intend to do in that interview, we can look at his colonial mentality in his work itself. Take this statement about American Gods:

And perhaps most offensive, we’ll get the book’s Big Statement About America, which is bizarrely insulting to Native Americans. Near the end of the novel, a Native American with magical powers named Whiskey Jack tells Shadow he’s not a god, but rather a “culture hero,” because the land we call America “is not a good country for gods.” [Via]

Neil Gaiman consistently glazes over Native Americans/Indigenous peoples and their cultures. Something I’m sure he has learned to correct by this point, but it was something I had hoped the creators of the new TV show adaptation would rethink in the story. However, it doesn’t seem likely. Sure, sure, they can update Technology Boy to not be so technologically illiterate, but this recent EW article doesn’t give me hope for the story’s cultural literacy:

“Neil created this wonderfully stuffed toy box filled with all sorts of cultural points of view on how American operates as a system, and that was so fascinating and mythological in and of itself,” says Fuller. “It’s really much more of an immigration story than it is a god story.” Green adds, “One of the biggest challenges was stripping the idea of gods as X-Men or giant empowered creatures who stomp on cities and throw the oceans. We wanted them to be people with problems. It’s not about lightning bolts – it’s about the question of day-to-day survival.”

So, we’re still talking about immigrants? Colonizer problems? Nothing has changed. Dear Hollywood and Neil Gaiman, just because your story doesn’t whitewash doesn’t mean it’s not racist.

See also, The Gods Don’t Need Your Worship. 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Theodora Goss on why she writes:

“This movement to separate fantasy and reality, but also realism and fairy tale, continued into the nineteenth century, and by the end of the century it was very clear that there were the respectable novel and short story, and the considerably less respectable forms of fairy tale, myth, romance (in the old sense of an adventure story), ghost story, etc. By the twentieth century, they occupied different publishing niches, different shelves in the bookstore. As they still do….

Here’s the thing: talking about conservation will not save the badgers of England. If anything will save them, it will be the way people feel about Mr. Badger. We are human beings, and we make decisions based not on logic or rationality, however much we may think we do (deluded as we are about ourselves), but on emotion. And what creates emotion? Story.”


BookTuber Tuesday – Karen Armstrong, on violence and religion


Check out other book vlogs we’ve featured here.

Have a book vlog video you want us to check out? Submit a link below in the comments and it could make the CIRCO blog.

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

March, April, May CIRCO blog roundup: JUNE BUG

Have we really not rounded up our monthly posts for three months? Oh my. Let’s head ’em up, move ’em out.

We changed our Tweets of the Week to be more other social-network friendly. It’s now going to be officially called Social Medea.  Pun intended.

We posted a video on The World’s Greatest Internet Troll.

[The Author added commentary on Victoria E. Schwab’s statement on writing/creativity in the current publishing industry]

As always, Gabbler had things to recommend–like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 2 and the children’s book I Am Pan!

Sexism in YA was discussed. 

Our Throwback Thursday posts included a progression of Beardless Hipster Songs that we thought was funny.

Ursula K. Le Guin needs to get with the times. 

BLA took back what s/he said about The Jungle Book 2016 movie.

The Magicians TV show ended. 

BLA went on a rant about the representation of gods in our stories. 

J.K. Rowling wrote about Native American Wizards and shit hit the fan.

Anomalisa was weird af.

Gabbler had some thoughts on Daredevil season 2. 

Our GIF of the Month from our GIF of the day is:


Tweets of the Week: Coo coo for cocoa puffs