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« Well get back there someday | Main | Our ancestors were left to do the best they could without the benefits or curses of magic »


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I remember Bewitched. Even as a kid, I figured that it was magic that was standing in for sex in the show. It's a common enough theme, something mystical, grown up, and potentially dangerous standing in for something else that shared a lot of the same properties. Samantha was sexually attracted to Darrin and not using her magic was about her accepting monogamy as opposed to the promiscuity of her extended family. I hadn't considered that it might be an issue of personal integrity.

The sex / magic thing is pretty old and pretty pervasive.


Hmmm. Magic as a stand-in for sex. That's interesting. And, it would explain why, Darrin's protests notwithstanding, each episode would feature some form of magic!

I've come to think of the Bewitched style of magic as a stand-in for what is described as the divine quality of omnipotence. As Lance points out with respect to Dunia, claiming this form of omnipotence would be a rejection of the human life we have chosen for ourselves. If we could be, do, or have anything we wanted at the twitch of a nose, our chosen human lives would quickly become dull, unrewarding, and pointless. There are several episodes in which both Darrin and Samantha learn this lesson ("Darrin The Warlock" is one that comes to mind).

Gilligan's Island taught a similar lesson with respect to the divine quality of omniscience. In one episode, they discovered a plant which, upon devouring, would enable them to read each other's minds. Rather than bringing them closer together, this quickly destroyed their sense of community and the bonds they had developed. Always better not to know too much!

And, while I'm on the strange subject of the spiritual aspects of popular culture, maybe someone here can help me out. Ever since I heard that "Abba" is the ancient Aramaic word for "God, the father," I've had a sneaking suspicion that the ultimate meaning of life could be found through a study of the lyrics to "Dancing Queen." Are we really here just to "feel the beat of the tambourine, oh yeah"?


For more on the magic sex thing, from a 1920s motoring guide:

Also, the closing of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series.


"Abba" just means "father." One can, of course, refer to God as father, but it usually means human father.

Bar Abba or Barabbas means "son of the father" or bastard.* In the New Testament, Matthew 27:16, Barabbas' full name is Jesus Bar Abbas. Pilate is asking, "Do you want me to release Jesus, son of the father, or Jesus, son of God?"

*Jackson is a similar name in English, meaning son of "Jack in the Green." I find etymology fascinating.

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