Wingnuts Having A Good Old-Fashioned Satanic Panic About ... Target
In 1692, in Salem, Massachusetts, 25 men, women, and children were killed because a bunch of not-very-smart people thought that they were witches with magic powers. Nineteen were hanged. Four died in prison, and one was tortured to death. None of them actually did have magic powers, because magic powers are not a real thing. There are those who place some of the blame for this on hallucinations caused by faulty rye bread, but I tend to think it happened because it's just how some people are.
Children are taught this history lesson fairly early on as a warning, so that they know what not to do when they get older. They understand that none of the people killed were witches with magical powers and that the Salem townsfolk killed them because they believed stupid things and didn't mind their own business. Because, you see, it is one thing to believe stupid things. It is another to get in other people's faces about it. Or hang them because of it, as the case has often been.
Yet, judging by our own history, it's not a lesson many people have fully absorbed.
This weekend, there was a big ol' uproar on the Right side of the internet because some Twitter lady found out that one of the designers who created some of the items in Target's pride collection is a Satanist who doesn't literally believe in Satan and who made some other products for Not Target that say things like "Satan Respects Pronouns."
They are pretty freaking cute.
The line, Abprallen, is designed by a London-based transman named Erik, and the products made for Target's Pride collection include a fanny pack that says "We Belong Everywhere," a bag that says "Too Queer For Here" and a sweatshirt that says "Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People."
Anyway, the Right has already been going absolutely batshit for weeks over Target's Pride collection, which they've been doing every year for a while now. They're all very upset about it and wish that Target and all other brands and companies would simply respect the fact that they are the only people on the planet and "target" no one but them.
The Satanist thing, however, was all kicked off by a lady from Wisconsin named Scarlett Johnson, who had previously made a name for herself by publicly demanding children not learn about racism.
\u201cWhy did @target hire a Satanist to design pieces for their recent "Pride" clothing line? \n\nWTF\ud83d\udc49\ud83c\udffd"Satan loves you and respects who you are... LGBTQIA+ people are so often referred to as being a product of Satan or going against God's will, so fine. We'll hang with Satan instead."\u201d— Scarlett Johnson (@Scarlett Johnson) 1684626994
Evil ScarJo, as we will now be calling her (duh), did a whole tweet thread in which she quoted Erik at length, demanding to know why Target had hired a Satanist to design things, and failed to explain at any point what was wrong with Target doing so. The Daily Wire did a whole article on her tweet thread and also did not manage to explain what Target did wrong. The Washington Examiner also did a whole article on it without explaining what Target did wrong.
Noted free speech warrior Jordan Peterson railed against Target in several tweets, while also not explaining what the actual problem was.
\u201cClue in @Target and stop this now. Stop. Now.\u201d— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@Dr Jordan B Peterson) 1684691971
Then again, he also spent some time this weekend complaining about how women should never have been allowed to vote — again, probably because of how much he loves free speech.
There's a reason these people keep these things vague, and it's because they cannot actually explain what is wrong with someone being a Satanist or with Target hiring that Satanist to design products for them. What is it that they think is going to happen? What is the controversy?
They have also been upset about a bathing suit that is specifically designed for tucking, as if they are somehow in danger of someone forcing them or their children to wear it. While I can certainly sympathize with feeling personally attacked by a swimsuit, I also understand that no one is requiring anyone to wear one that they don't like or that doesn't work for their body. I myself have tried on many bathing suits that were not for me but probably looked great on someone else and vice versa. This is just how things work out sometimes.
It's weird that they don't know that, regardless of how they may feel about it, they live in a nation where everyone can pick their own bathing suit and their own religion. They live in a nation where trans people exist and are allowed to wear clothes they like (unless some asshole judge won't let them go to their own graduation unless they wear "male" clothes under their gown). They live in a nation where people can make art and fashion that they don't like and would never wear. I am never going to wear culottes, button-down shirts that are actually supposed to button, onesies of any kind or this very bright orange and taupe Alexander McQueen knock-off scarf that I bought thinking I'd find something to wear with it eventually. It's okay. I'm okay. I will live and so will these people, unpleasant though they may be.
There will come a time when we look back upon these days as being just as stupid and embarrassing as the Salem witch trials and every other hideously embarrassing thing our nation has done since then. Indeed, there will probably even come a time when the Evil ScarJos of the day don't want their kids to find out how terrible and cruel people like them were to trans folks (and even Satanists), for fear they will feel badly about themselves. If only there were something that these people could start doing now to prevent it from becoming another reason their future grandkids and great grandkids might think the United States is not the greatest country in the world.
Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.
Wonkette is independent and fully funded by readers like you. Click below to tip us!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse