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#19359 - 01/30/09 12:16 AM was Anton LaVey a product of his time?
Bacchae Offline
Satan's White Trash Neighbor

Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 438
Loc: los angeles
short and sweet..was he? was the Church of Satan and Anton LaVey's work a reaction to events and attitudes of the times? Would TSB, if it were released today, be a seminal classic, or just another thing to read when your myspace is down?
if there was no Satanism, would it fly today? If he were just starting now, would he have to pull a wholly different kind of rabbit out of his hat in order to blow minds as he certainly did in 1969?


#19369 - 01/30/09 02:04 AM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: Bacchae]
Dimitri Offline

Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3410
Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't.. I don't know.
Altough the time he lived in might has had it's influence on forming the satanic church.
However, if I imagine there was no Satanism till the last 5 years I'm quite sure it would trigger as much controverse/attention as it did in the 60's-70's. Most of the doctor his works should then be released and no one would be "familiar" with it.

Linking it on our modern ICT I'm only guessing more attention will be given then it did back then.

If he were just starting now, would he have to pull a wholly different kind of rabbit out of his hat in order to blow minds as he certainly did in 1969?

Hmmm... maybe acting the same but giving "the present" another wrap.
Ut vivat, crescat et floreat

#19371 - 01/30/09 02:24 AM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: Bacchae]
daevid777 Offline
active member

Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Chattanooga Area, TN
This is why time travel will never exist... even if I'd like it to be possible...

We would have to remove all of the influences this man, his "society", and his literature have produced since... to quote "Rosemary's Baby"... "1966 - the year 1!".

I think this "thing" he created, as much as anyone would want to deny, has had such an effect on culture (art, film, books, music, society, etc.) that it would be almost impossible to "extract" this one instance in history, and just assume all the rest just would fall into place, unnoticed, untouched.

Being as I see it as such, I can't honestly answer the question... but I'd also like to hear of those that would like to try.

p.s. - to answer one question, of course he was a product of his time, everyone is to some degree, it's the ones that can see 'beyond' that really have the staying power. He didn't just get lucky, if that's one of the hidden questions.

Edited by daevid777 (01/30/09 02:27 AM)
Edit Reason: p.s.
Where we're going, we don't need roads.

#19385 - 01/30/09 06:28 AM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: Bacchae]
Zoid Offline

Registered: 01/24/09
Posts: 109
Loc: USA - New Jersey
 Originally Posted By: Bacchae
short and sweet..was he? was the Church of Satan and Anton LaVey's work a reaction to events and attitudes of the times?


 Originally Posted By: Bacchae

Would TSB, if it were released today, be a seminal classic, or just another thing to read when your myspace is down?

Impossible to answer because TSB and the CoS had a role in creating the world we know today. Delete them and there will be a domino effect resulting in a different reality.

LaVey wasn't the sole figure revamping the Zeitgeist for us all, but he was one of them. Alongside him were Ayn Rand, Hugh Hefner, Gerald Gardner, Margaret Mead, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin, to name a few, not all of whom were contemporaries, of course, although Freud was still alive when LaVey was born.

#19389 - 01/30/09 07:05 AM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: Zoid]
Jake999 Offline
senior member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Ok. Complicated question, in a way. I hope people won't fall asleep...

In a chronological sense, Anton LaVey was indeed a man of his time, and whose time had come. The world was ripe for what he had to offer... San Francisco was, for certain, by 1966. But like all births, you have to look at the point of conception, a few years earlier. The war in Vietnam had polarized most of the United States, with its epicenter of protests being in the hotbeds of Berkeley, and across the bay in San Francisco. These protests were by students and the young "hippies," as Herb Caen, a reported for the San Francisco Chronicle called them. They captured it attention of Americans in news stories with their peace, love and flowers in their hair. Today, it seems as if they were the dominating feature of the societal trends. THEN, they were seen almost as an alien invasion.

The Bay Area was almost dichotomous in nature at that time. There were two camps, being the "hippie usurpers" and the established, generationally anchored communities of the area. Between the two groups, there was bound to be conflict, as there always is when tradition brushes up against change. It was almost as if someone had intentionally drawn a line down the middle of the street and on one side, the "younger generation" was squaring off against "the older."

By 1966, Anton LaVey had been doing pretty much the same thing with The Magic Circle as he would be doing in the first couple of years with The Church of Satan. The difference is that without the sledge hammer impact of the name, creating a tangible entity, it was just one of many "occult groups" in the area at the time. This was a time when mysticism and alternative religious thought was already pretty much accepted... one of the most beautiful and popular "occult shops" I've ever been in was the Mystic Eye on Broadway. It was always full of hippies, witchy types and people who looked like The Cleavers. It wasn't that big a deal... it wasn't SATAN.

Throughout the city, though, there were people who were ANGRY. The protests were becoming more and more large and disruptive, and local people were looking more and more towards methods of controlling "the movement:" and the escalating violence and anti-establishment challenges. In the Castro district, gay, lesbian and trangendered people were becoming almost militant and very much "in your face." The April 15, 1966 protest against the war shut down major parts of the city when over 100,000 protestors marched down Market Street. Hunter's point, "the ghetto," was boiling over and would erupt into a riot just days later.

A lot of people in the establishment based cultures of the area were looking for something or someone. For many, LaVey was a symbol of that... don't even consider the socioreligious aspects for a moment. That will come almost as an afterthought. When LaVey announced the emergence of The Church of Satan, he almost immediately became a media focus. Here was a young man... not that much older than the protestors... standing up and challenging their "peace and love," but without the anti-war aspects, and the "dirty hippie" uniform. And he was quiet and well spoke and, let's face it, a man that looked good on camera. They even did a little kid’s mini report about Anton LaVey and Togare going to the grocery store... did they consider him “a threat?” Most definitely not... and San Francisco was known for its eccentric residents.

Almost immediately, he was on news programs and in print, and people in the heartland were talking about him, because there were dozens of mainstream and “gentlemen’s magazines” carrying stories about The Church of Satan that made him look not so much like “a crazy,” but more like an antidote to the counter-establishment. AND he was SUPPORTIVE of the local control elements. He was openly friendly with the San Francisco Police Department, he didn’t mix in politics, but he was outwardly conservative in his mannerisms, was well spoken and somehow just “was.” He was in the right place at the right time with the right message.

If you look at some of the old timers in The Church of Satan, many will reflect the more establishment natured trains of thought at the time. Sure a lot of “famous types” made their way to The Black House, but in the early days, there were some cops, some writers, a couple of the city’s well known developers, etc. , and LaVey’s almost casual mainstream approach fit in well with them. If he had been promoting drugs or screaming Hail Satan and doing what people might have expected a crazy Satanist to do, he would probably have been disregarded as just another San Francisco kook, but he was wise enough and savvy enough to gauge the directions of social currents and position himself squarely in the center of the divide. The “hippie peace and love” group and the “America Love It or Leave It” camps split on his mark. A few of those who were on the fence went to him.

So indeed, he could be seen as a man of his time and a man whose time had come, BUT LaVey in his personal core was a man in the world, but not of it. Anyone who’s really spent time with LaVey can tell you that when you walked into LaVey’s world you walked out of the world of the present into a world of his own creation. His personal essence, if you will, was locked firmly in the mid-to-late 1930’s and 1940’s. His musical tastes were there, his cultural references in slang were there, (one thing that he and had in common; as I usually used phrases like ‘”Piece o’ cake,” “I hope to kiss a duck,” “duck soup,” etc.) his manner of dress... pure 1940’s B Movie “heavy,” with the tailored suit, wingtips and slouch fedora hats. He actually paid little attention to The War or The Hippies or much of anything else outside his Victorian on California Street. It was “out there” and his world was “in HERE.”

Would his message fly today? That’s really hard to say. He pretty much jump started the popularity of “satanic imagery,” so without his influence between 1966 and 2009, Satanism could well still be a thing people read about in graphic novels and from those “occult writers” who wrote lurid tales about LaVoisin, or about talismans for invoking demons as in the Keys of Moses and other popular tracts in the 60s. So, if he came today, he would need to find another splitting point... a place where the polarities of the world diverged... would that work with Satanism today as it did in the 1960’s? Probably not as seamlessly because there are very few hot bed issues that are as immediate and as polarizing. Could be that Satanism might in this case be contrarian to the idea of global warming... or champion science over those who opposed stem cell research... I doubt that it would fly as readily and as high as it did back then, for this, and for another reason as well.

Back then, people were conditioned to believe. Those who supported the establishment still believed those who spoke from positions of authority, even if that authority was loosely applied. They still believed their preachers and priests, they still believed their teachers and (although hard to believe now) their elected officials, etc. Today, in the wake of Vietnam, Watergate, and a million other scandals and mistakes in all of our time-honored institutions, people are more conditioned to DISbelieve. They question the world and all that’s in it, egged on my a media that feels that everyone has a secret and it’s their job to expose it. So, in today’s world, it would be a lot harder to establish a volitile and catalytic organization like The Church of Satan, as it was in the 1960.s

Sorry for being so long winded here.
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.

#19412 - 01/30/09 04:15 PM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: Jake999]
candyjesus Offline

Registered: 03/07/08
Posts: 43
Loc: NY
I do think that his work was a reaction to the time.

If TSB was written today, I'm sure it would still make some pretty significant waves. I mean, look at what people like Oprah and Dr. Phil do to the masses.

The way I see it, all work is a product of your time, whether or not it is appreciated or has staying power is a different thing.

He probably would need to pull a pretty crazy rabbit out of his hat in order to effectively blow minds today. And I'm sure it would need to be executed with major street cred in some kind of Chris-Angel-mind-explosion.... But from what I have read about LaVey, he would definitely be the dude to pull it off.
"Eleven. Exactly. One louder."

#19414 - 01/30/09 05:33 PM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: candyjesus]
The Zebu Offline
senior member

Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 1647
Loc: Orlando, FL
Of course he was a product of his time. The emergence of the CoS and modern Satanism was very much reactionary.

Although if he had never been born, surely someone else would have started a "Satanism" movement-- for better or for worse. But as far as my imagination can perceive, LaVey did a commendable job of founding Satanism as a recognizable idea.
«Recibe, ¡oh Lucifer! la sangre de esta víctima que sacrifico en tu honor.»

#20959 - 02/21/09 02:02 PM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: The Zebu]
joseph oreilly Offline

Registered: 01/29/09
Posts: 58
Considering he had alot of friends like boyd rice, marilyn manson, sammy davis junoir, kenneth anger? and other movie stars as well as Led Zepplin and other music groups and people like the lead singer of the rolling stones and one of the beach boys being within his shpere of influence due to his extensive relationship with kenneth anger, you'd need as a product for a time somebody that's almost musically talented, is willing to write down simplistic information that details and annotates their feelings on the subject of Satanism and who is also willing to hang around hollywood and various other capital cities attracting media personalities.
#22571 - 03/26/09 10:52 AM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: joseph oreilly]
BaronVonShankly Offline

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 170
Loc: London
I think LaVey was very much a product of his time and also his location. I remember the quote of " the hippies lit a fire under me", so perhaps what he was doing was a direct reaction as to what else was going on in SF at that point in time. Interestinly one of the first "satanic panics" was the zodiac killer where several radio hosts and journalists tried to attach the killer to the Church of Satan (obviously untrue). I actually think this helped as far as getting the name of the orginisation out into the general public, maybe if the CoS wasnt in the bay area at this time the press link wouldnt have happened.
#22969 - 04/05/09 04:46 PM Re: was Anton LaVey a product of his time? [Re: Jake999]
Xande Offline

Registered: 05/09/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Arlington, TX, USA
Falling asleep? It's hard for me to imagine a more informative and revealing take of the cultural climate that ultimately proved to be Satanism's fertile crescent. We've all heard this story before, in various forms, but I cannot recall such exquisite detail afforded the subject.

My next question runs the risk of being construed as mindless praise, but I feel compelled to ask.

Have you ever considered the possibility of committing your knowledge to a chronicle of sorts, providing a far more accurate depiction of events relevant to Satanism than what presently masquerades as such? I feel that such knowledge could help bridge the "satanic generational gap" and give younger persons such as myself a more expansive view of the past.

The worthiness of such an endeavor is of course subjective, but historical accuracy is fast becoming a rare commodity.

Just a thought.
“Faith” is acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.

#23363 - 04/15/09 11:30 PM Anton's Place on the Great Mandala [Re: Jake999]
Michael A.Aquino Offline

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2721
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Jake999
... Sorry for being so long winded here.

Quite the contrary: Very well said.

I think that Anton was the product not only of his time, but of San Francisco at that time, which was a mixmaster of the countercultural and extraordinary, of which the Haight was Ground Zero.

The Church of Satan didn't appeal to Hippies, however, because most of them had dumped the whole Judæo/Christian ideology (pro or con) for Eastern/New Age dreams. The early CS members struck me mostly as previous-generation adults who felt like making a dramatic statement for rebellion too, but not something that required them to drop acid and go deaf at the Fillmore or Avalon. The CS was sort of "conservative shocking", as it were.

I'm also of the opinion that Anton had no idea where the thing was going to go when he started it. Clearly intended it originally as a SF-only gig that sort of put a formalized nose-tweak on the occult lectures he had already been giving at home to enjoy himself and bring in a little extra $.

Briefly, the later '60s was a time of social criticism and "anti-things". By the '70s people were bored with that, and the new interest was in "escapism": utopian communities, space migration (Remember the L5 Society?), and Star Wars/Star Trek outofthisfuckingworldism. The CS was passé, and remained so until the rock culture of the 1980s, looking as always for something to shock parents with, rediscovered the Devil. Then Anton and his poor old Satanic Bible were dredged up again, as much to their surprise as anyone else's. I still remember Nikki Sixx telling me all about the row that was raised when Mötley Crüe did their second, Shout At The Devil album - which he said was originally going to be called "Shout With The Devil" until both the album and the song were censored.

This I think is why Anton's interviews and writings in the late-'60s/early-'70s were very timely, but why by the '80s+ he had essentially settled back into '40s-wistfulness and general contempory alienation: a phenomenon that he himself acknowledged and referred to as ECI (Erotic Crystallization Inertia). I've heard more than one late-interviewer report Anton's saying that he really didn't give a damn about any of his current disciples, and that makes perfect ECI sense to me.
Michael A. Aquino

#23517 - 04/19/09 07:02 PM Re: Anton's Place on the Great Mandala [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Xande Offline

Registered: 05/09/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Arlington, TX, USA
Having read your expansive tome, "History Of The Church of Satan", which you've thoughtfully made publicly available via the Temple Of Set's website, I can say with no degree of hyperbole that it is the most informative glimpse into the CoS' genesis and inner machinations I have ever come across. It's quite strange yours was the post immediately following mine, as your previously mentioned work immediately came to mind upon reading Jake's parsimonious but revealing anecdote about the sixties' cultural zeitgeist.

I am not above reverence for another, and I have no intention of invoking a "too cool for school" pretense. It is an absolute honor to have you here, Mr. Aquino, and I look forward to your future elucidations and insights.

I also apologize for my divergence from the topic at hand, but it would appear that on a personal level respect trumps protocol.
“Faith” is acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.

#24070 - 05/03/09 02:57 PM Re: Anton's Place on the Great Mandala [Re: Xande]
Andrew Malchus Offline

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 24
Regarding Dr. Michael Aquino's presence here. It is an honor and I second the motion of the last poster.

/Andrew Malchus\
Going to church makes you a christian and standing in a garage makes you a car.

#24132 - 05/04/09 12:30 PM Re: Anton's Place on the Great Mandala [Re: Andrew Malchus]
Xaero Offline

Registered: 05/03/09
Posts: 11
Loc: sweden
I think he was a man of his time because the world always changing. Everything changing over time. And so do we aswell.
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