Crowley for President
While the national political media was distracted this week by a non-newsworthy semi-declaration of intent from Newt Gingrich, I was chasing down a more significant development: a rapidly escalating feud between two actual declared candidates for US president.
UPDATED: It happened! Watch archived video of the Vermin Supreme vs. Aleister Crowley debate here
I can now report that the two have agreed in principle to a debate, and have asked me to moderate it.
Details still remain to be worked out, but the logistics may be difficult: one of the candidates is primarily interested in discussing dental health, while the other is a deceased Englishman.
The ill will began when the campaign website of the late occultist Aleister Crowley made note of write-in vote totals from the 2008 presidential election. "These numbers are very encouraging," the Crowley post concluded. "We feel confident that in 2012, Aleister Crowley can easily beat all these write-in candidates for U.S. President."
Those were fighting words to another (live, American) write-in candidate, Vermin Supreme, who quickly submitted a comment challenging Crowley to a debate. When the comment was not posted, Supreme took the dispute public, accusing Crowley on Facebook of being "chicken."
(Supreme, a perennial candidate who got 43 votes in 2008, denies my suggestion that the timing of his challenge was intended to steal media attention from Gingrich. He writes: "As to the timing, you will have to ask AC2012. I simply responded to their taunt, immediately, from my bustling war room.")
Supreme is also claiming a copyright violation of his campaign slogan, "Vote what thou wilt." Crowley's campaign uses a similar phrase: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." This is the motto of the Thelema religion, which Crowley founded; I believe Crowley lifted it from the 16th-century writings of Rabelais, but that's really for a copyright court to determine.
I contacted Crowley's campaign, which responded by email, accepting the debate challenge and inviting me to moderate. The email explained that "Combat stimulates the virile or creative energy; and, like love, of which it is one form, excites the mind to an orgasm which enables it to transcend its rational dullness."
Supreme has approved me as moderator, and I am pleased to accept the invitation.
There does seem to be one significant stumbling block in the negotiations. Mr. Supreme insists on debating Mr. Crowley's re-animated corpse, but Crowley's campaign says that "Crowley's promise is only to re-animate if he is elected," and are offering a representative to debate via email.
Disputes of this sort over debate logistics are common, and some compromise may yet be reached. Details, if and when available, will be posted at thePhoenix.com.