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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at


                     Helpful Hints for a Nearly Extinct Species
                          Submitted satirically by Haragano

          Let's get down  to basics.  Being the  leader of a group is  more than
          just  the hard work of raising dust devils in the back yard or zapping
          a  friend's TV antenna so they can get  HBO.  Leading a group offers a
          lot of perks.  You get  a lot  of ego strokes,  you get  to divide  up
          babies just like Solomon and  you even get to keep the  leftovers from
          the potlucks at moon feasts.  After all you have put in a lot of long,
          hard hours and cashed in a lot of empties to win the coveted  title of
          "High Poop-di  Ha of the Infinite Invisibility".  And you want to keep
          it!  The bottom line, the final  word in keeping your position on  top
          of the  heap is spelled  P-O-W-E-R.   These hints  are concerned  with
          helping you keep it.

                In the busy modern craft of  today there are many ways that your
          power base can be  erroded.  The two most  likely ways you can  end up
          preaching to an empty circle are through the insiduous inroads made by
          INFORMATION  and DISCUSSION.  These  twin curses have  upset more High
          Poop-di-Has than Carter has little liver pills.

              Information is the worst threat. The more a follower is acquainted
          with history, anthropology, psychology, socio-dynamics ... really, any
          area that requires an individual to exert himself mentally, you are in
          for questions  you don't really want  to answer. The very  best way to
          deal with  this sticky situation is to avoid it.  Recruit the immature
          and the fanatic.  They don't bring really tasty goodies to feasts, but
          they are  good ego boosters.   They are expendable and  feircely loyal
          for no particular reason.

              If  you find you are being pestered by an "intellect" (they should
          have never gotten through your screening) you have to quickly learn to
          manage  information   more  effectively.    Don't   worry.    Managing
          information is easier than  it seems.  Newscasters do it  every night.
          First, Adopt  an attitude of  "ask me  anything", then  make sure  you
          don't have  any answers and  don't know where  to get them.   Create a
          vacuum!  Yes,  nature abhors a vacuum but it  is your strongest weapon
          in the war for ignorance.  Second is the wild  goose chase, atried and
          true method of dealing  with anyone who persists in  asking questions.
          Send a troublesome individual  on a few of these.   Tire them out, and
          they will go away sooner or later.  When they leave,  the stage is set
          for you to shake your head solemnly and expound at length on how they
          were not  ready to  learn what you  had to  offer.   This act is  very
          impressive to newcomers.

            Reassure your followers that they don't have to keep up on current
          thoughts in  and  about the  craft.   After  all,  books and  magazine
          subscriptions are expensive.  Imply that they will learn all that they
          need from you by hinting at the "secrets of the craft" that yet  await
          them.  If they are adamant about reading, call their attention only to
          those items that reinforce your point of view (you need all the backup
          you can get).  The Xian  (as in Xmas)  fundamentalists have  developed
          this  sort of information management  into an art  form.  "Information
          Management  is next  to  Godilness". I'm  sure  Mr. Falwell  has  that
          embroidered on a  pillow slip somewhere.  You might  want to write him
          for a needlepoint kit.


          ON TO DISCUSSION...
              Discussion  with other groups must be limited. If they don't share
          your point of view, all contact with them should be eliminated.  After
          all,  your immature followers do mature and  fanatics mellow out.  The
          free exchange of  differing ideas has  a justifiablely bad  reputation
          for expanding an individuals craft  viewpoint.  And THAT is deadly  to
          the sacred position of High Poop-di Ha.

            There is an effective means of terminating troublesome contacts with
          other groups, while  at the same time confirming your  position as the
          center  of attention.    It  is  the  practice of  the  "Fine  Art  of
          Self-Righteous Indignation"!   The  premier example  of  this was  the
          medieval  Church.   When it  met with  a conflicting  view, such  as a
          scholar pointing out that the Church was rewriting history or physics,
          the Church  would denounce him  as a "minion  of Satan".   Usually the
          scholar was hauled off and put to the
          Question.   What's  the truth,  more  or less,  compared to  the  self
          Indignation of God's Chosen....right?
              Remember, you haveto slam the door tightly on any new ideas!  This
          takes  dramatic  measures.   You  don't  want conflicting  information
          coming  in, and  you certainly  don't want  your s/h/e/e/p/  followers
          wandering off.

              Pick a public occasion and  invade a circle or burst into  a study
          group.   Most importantly, make sure your  group is around you.  After
          all, the  coming performance  is really  for them.   Rant,  pound your
          breast, whatever you need to  do, to get across the idea of YOU as the
          poor, persecuted victim.   Make this  crystal clear to your  group and
          they will stick to you like you were dipped in crazy glue.   If anyone
          in your group  has ever had a course in group dynamics, send them on a
          wild  goose chase that evening.  They might  tumble to what you are up
          to, and besides they are probably asking too many questions anyway.

              When  facing the  m/i/n/i/o/n/s/o/f/S/a/t/a/n/ opposing  group, be
          personally  offensive  if  you  can.    Call  them  picky,  heretical,
          egotistical, perverse, etc.   Anything you can get away  with (wailing
          in  the background is a nice touch).   To keep your group successfully
          insulated  from  differing  ideas,  you  have  to  clearly  label  the
          opposition  in the  minds of  your followers.  People just  LOVE tags!
          Now, this next point is important, so listen up!  You must make it 
          clear that you  want no further contact with the  opposing group.  Try
          to  affect a tone  in your voice  that conveys "this  is a regrettable
          decision but it just  has to be", like the tone  Billy Graham takes on
          when he talks about sinners.  This gives you a twofold  bonus.  First,
          it gets the  word to "them" in no uncertain terms and, second, it gets
          the word to your people that it would not be wise for anyone who wants
          to remain a part  of your group to have  any contact with "those"  you
          have just judged unacceptable.  This sort of frontal assault generally
          alienates both groups as well as every individual  in them. There will
          be no information exchange, no open discussion and very little growth.
          But what do you care, you're safe.


            One warning though; If for any reason you think the other group will
          simply  laugh   at  your  overacting,  don't   chance  a  face-to-face
          confrontation.  Keep the  performance within your own  group.  If  you
          have been a good information manager that should be effective enough.

            Although you are one of the last "High Poop-di-Ha's of the Infinite 
          Invisibility"  in the craft, you belong to an ancient society that can
          be traced through  most of the world's major religions.  You exemplify
          rigidity, closed-mindedness  and religious  manipulation.  You  have a
          lot to  be self-righteous about!   In order to pervent  your kind from
          dying out completely, you have to remember to stringently restrict the
          information flow to your group and terminate all open discussions with
          outsiders  holding differing  views.  If  you take to  heart these few
          pointers  you won't  go the  way of  the Great  Auk and  the Passenger



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