Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Curses! Foiled again!

New from the "You'll Think I'm Making This Up, But I'm Not" Department, witches in Romania are up in arms about a new law that requires them to pay income tax on their earnings.

A rewrite of the tax code has included "witch, fortuneteller, and astrologer" as professions that are recognized as generating taxable income.  Now, like any other self-employed person, the wand-and-broomstick contingent will owe taxes on the fees they charge (the tax rate is 16% in Romania).  This, as you might imagine, has caused the Witches' Association of Romania, Local Kollective (WARLocK) to flip their tall pointy hats. 

And you can bet they aren't just going to take this lying down.  They threatened serious action.  Romania's head witch, Bratara Buzea, concocted a magic potion made of cat feces and a dead dog.  Besides the obvious deterrent effect that anything made of cat feces and dead dog would have, apparently this particular potion was meant to bring evil fortune to the lawmakers who voted for the new law.

"My curses always work," Buzea is quoted as saying.  (One source stated that she "cackled" the words in a "smoky voice."  I thought that was worth throwing in there, just for the added color.)  Other witches hurled poisonous mandrake plants into the Danube River, chanting magic spells in the direction of Bucharest.

The lawmakers, of course, couldn't tolerate these kinds of threats.  You don't just aim blobs of cat crap and dead dog at a congressperson, or throw random plants into a river, and somehow get away with it.  So the elected officials who were thus threatened took immediate and direct action; they all came to work wearing purple.

Wearing purple, as we all know, wards off evil.  (It's probably how the Queen Mum lived to such a ripe old age.)  So the government officials came through the dangerous ordeal unscathed after all, which I know will come as a great relief to us all.

It's no wonder there was such a hue and cry.  Creatures of darkness have a long history in Romania, and superstitions run rampant.  Remember that this is where Dracula got his start (so the tax officials might have some competition in the bloodsucking business).  Former Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu even had his own personal witch, not that it did him much good; he was overthrown and he and his wife executed by firing squad.  Maybe his witch ran out of mandrakes or something. 

And in the interest of fairness, it bears keeping in mind that not every Romanian witch was angered at being expected to pay her fair share.  Mihaela Minca, a witch in the town of Mogosoia, supports paying taxes.  "It means that our magic gifts are recognized," she said.  "Now I can open my own practice."

So, all in all, things seem to be settling down.  This is good.  I can imagine that it'd be hard to get anything done with cat poop, dead dogs, and plants being hurled about in the halls of government, not to mention hexes and so forth. (It would, however, make it much more interesting to watch C-Span.)

One has to wonder where all of this will end,  however.  It's a slippery slope.  If "witches, fortunetellers, and astrologers" are now considered as professionals, pretty soon talk-radio hosts, advertising executives, and the members of the cast of Jersey Shore will expect to be recognized as productive members of society.  After that, it's only a matter of time before Ann Coulter is granted "human being" status.

Can the death of civilization be far behind?

No comments:

Post a Comment