Thursday, March 24, 2011

Satan Wants You

You have to admit that as far as book titles go, Satan Wants You catches your eye.  You walk by it at the bookstore and think, "He does?"  You just got to pick it up.  I know I had to.

I got this hardcover in 1988.  Mysterious Press put it out.  Before I bought it I paged through it and saw photos of Black Sabbath; Anton Lavey; Ozzy Osbourne; The Process Church of the Final Judgment; Sammy Davis, Jr.; and John Travolta.  I kid you not on the last two.

With pictures like this, it really didn't matter how well the book was written.  Author Arthur Lyons could've been a babbling idiot for all I cared.  I just had to have a book with that title featuring a picture of Sammy Davis, Jr. with Lavey.  I mean, that should be an album cover right there. 

To be honest, I thought the book would be the typical Satanism hysteria that gripped America in the late '80s thanks to heavy metal music, Geraldo and preschools built over the gaping maw of Hell.  Chapter two is titled "The Birth of Satan" while chapter twelve is "The Call to Cthulu."  Obviously the usual suspects would be at play here.

I was pleasantly surprised.

It was a critical and unbiased look at what passed as Satanism in the culture.  It put to rest the many urban legends around Satanism, and gave a fairly decent overview of the names and faces associated with it.  It was fair.  That was unheard of in the 1980s.  Having been associated with Satanism in the Poconos in the 1980s (unfairly at first, but then I played around with it as a prank on those foolish enough to think that about me), I can state firsthand that when the charge of Satanism was tossed, common sense took a vacation.  (I remember the mother of a girlfriend of mine getting a call telling her that her daughter was dating a Satanist who killed cats or some such nonsense.  I think we were eating ice cream in the kitchen when that call came in.  Everyone knows Satanists don't eat ice cream.  They eat Lunchables.)

The book tends to go for collector's prices these days.  I haven't seen a used copy in person in quite some time, either.  I think it's one of those books people tend to hold onto.  I'm not looking to part with mine anytime soon.  With the rise in conservatism and "traditional values" (whatever the hell that means) making a comeback, it seems that a Satanism scare is just around the corner.  I'll be safe knowing that Satan won't want me.  He's already got Sarah Palin.

Mandatory FTC disclaimer:  If you click on one of my affiliate links, you'll go straight to Hell.  Actually, if you click and buy the book, I'll get a commission.  I recommend checking out the links I've done, as they are kind of funny and/or educational.

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