Penton Independent Alternative Media - Altering Perspectives since 1995 Blog

We Are Big Brother

CHRISTINA ENGELA. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – this a Latin proverb meaning “who will guard the guardians?” or “who will watch the watchdogs?” Correct me if I’m wrong – but in a democracy, that is the job for the People, the Citizenry, the Electorate, or the body politic. That’s us. We do. Or don’t – depending on what little laws or obstacles those elected to power roll in the way to obstruct our view of what they are up to, post-fact. Or of course, unless they are lucky enough to have an electorate too apathetic to give a rats ass what they do in our name, be that for us – or to us. I sometimes forget what an authoritarian state we live in today, but things like the Secrecy Bill serve to remind me that we still live in a racist state, where the only thing that has really changed is the guard – and the black-white polarity has switched. Jobs are still being reserved for people of specific race groups, wealth has been redistributed along racial lines, and the poor still are getting poorer, and the rich are becoming and remaining obscenely so.

Magic on the Edge 2.0 – Call for papers for anthology of experimental occultism

LARISA HUNTER. Magic on the Edge 2.0 is an anthology of experimental occultism, testing the cutting edges of magical practice to reveal intriguing experiments and new ideas, to push the future of magical practice forward and provide further inspiration for other practitioners. It is edited by Taylor Ellwood. The deadline for the first draft is March 15th. For more information or questions contact Taylor at

Adapt or Die

NATHALIE BEULAH. This seems to be a theme that has been going around a lot lately and it sounds quite dramatic. In the big picture of things, we are all like little ants scurrying across the surface of the earth. Each individual is fighting a personal struggle to survive. One life out of billions of lives on this planet seems like nothing. One person compared to many is unimportant, well at least to the general masses. Yet our one life is important to ourselves. My life is important to me and I may seem selfish because of it.

L’Amber by Tanith Lee & The Monstrous Regiment by Storm Constantine

LARISA HUNTER. The Monstrous Regiment by Storm Constantine – Artemis, a world named for a huntress goddess, has been isolated from other human colonies for hundreds of years. Originally settled by a group of feminists and their male supporters, whose aim was to create an equal Utopian society, Artemis has drifted away from those ideals. A cruel matriarchy has risen to replace the oppressive patriarchy the original colonists sought to escape. A chance meeting with a fugitive from the city, the rebel Elvon L’Belder, draws Corinna into this unrest. From that moment, her move to Silven Crescent is destined to be something other than what her mother had planned for her. Change is coming, and whatever the outcome, it is sure to be devastating. | L’Amber by Tanith Lee – The beautiful artist Jilaine Best has everything – looks, talent and great wealth. But it seems even Jilane’s perfect life is flawed. In adolescence there was the mysterious episode in France. Now, longing for the baby she is unable to conceive, Jilaine is willing to let another woman give birth for her. And so Jay confesses she is already pregnant with an unwanted child. Lies are so easy to tell, if you’ve had enough practice.

Passing On The Torch

CHRISTINA ENGELA. It is very close to the end of another year, and the time has come again for me to reflect on the past, to take stock – and to chart a new course for my future in human rights activism. You may recall I started out as an activist for the human rights of the Pink Community, specifically with the SA Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) – an organization I am still serving on – and have since also become more involved with other causes attached to the cause of human rights. Among these was a group called ECGLA. Having been with the Eastern Cape Gay & Lesbian Association (ECGLA) since March 2009 until 2 weeks ago, I saw many changes in the organization and in the Committee. From the original 7 members who met every week at the Italian Job pub, until today – where the group has an extensive network of associates and affiliate organizations, and are even helping other community-based organizations take their first shaky steps.

And Now Ex-Vampyres?

OCTARINE VALUR. When we Vampyres in South Africa considered “coming out” to the Pagan community earlier this year, we bore in mind all the warnings about doing so. We already knew that there would be a mixed reaction from Pagans. We anticipated skeptics – which we view as a rather healthy outcome, because it is skeptics who keep us safe. Face it, people who don’t believe in vampires, and who don’t believe in real Vampyres are our best protection from persecution. They are the folks who say “don’t be silly – they’re just having you on”, or “they’re talking nonsense”, or even “they’re delusional”. It is this sort of disbelief – people “humoring” us, while sometimes annoying – which keeps us safe. It is the others – those who DO believe us – who can pose a far greater threat to our lives – if they happen to be hostile to the concept of vampirism.

Many paths, one mountain

HELEN RIDING. You may think that I am writing about different world religions leading to the same destination here, but I am not. I am exploring the ways in which different personality types approach their spirituality. I am writing about diversity, on a level that is not terribly obvious. I have been wondering for a while if I am abnormal, as I feel spiritually… numb. My interest in spirituality is more intellectual than practical, more head-based than heart-based. Is study and knowledge an end in itself, or am I wasting my time? It turns out that there are others like me, hence my theory that one’s spiritual path depends on one’s personality type. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not generally a fan of labels, boxes and stereotypes as they can be very restrictive, but I believe that categories can serve a useful purpose when it comes to explaining some of our differences in attitudes and behaviour. I also don’t believe that a handful of categories can explain all personality types as we are after all complex individuals.

Gourmet Fillo Veggie Baskets

NASTASSJA STANDER. We have reached December, hot South African days, the daily grind of work, counting down to December holidays… This made me think that as South Africans we traditionally like to have roasted veggies with our main meals right? But on hot December days this is not very practical… and one can only have that many salads… Therefore, I have been inspired by the Gourmet fairy this week to make an interesting twist to the traditional roasted veggies… I like to call it my Fillo Veggie baskets… It is easy and fun to make as well as vegan and vegetarian friendly! (No egg or milk products) You can add your own interesting twists like bacon for the carnivores or nuts for those who don’t want meat! So go have fun and enjoy this week’s light meal! Merry cooking!