Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Welcome to Night Vale & Left-Handed Paths

A long while back I talked about Welcome to Night Vale’s Strex Corp and the Smiling God, and how the Smiling God could potentially be a critique of Christianity, Prosperity Gospel doctrine, and religious colonialism. But now I am venturing into very different territory. Is Night Vale, with all its darker rituals, beliefs, and morality, representative of left-handed paths?

When the Strex Corp storyline started in Welcome to Night Vale, I was struck by what I saw as criticism of Christianity. The Smiling God was seemingly all about light and love, but was actually something powerful that could potentially destroy everyone. On top of this, Strex Corp was using the beliefs of the Smiling God to take over and practically enslave everyone, while claiming that the people of Night Vale would be happy if they just listened to them and fell in line with their beliefs. Night Vale, on the other hand, often seemed to follow a religious path that was darker and would be viewed as taboo in our culture. While Desert Bluffs and Strex Corp emphasized light, Night Vale emphasizes darkness. And I started to wonder if Night Vale could represent left-handed paths.

(Brief disclaimer: I was raised Christian, so my knowledge of left-handed paths largely comes from the research I have done on the topic. If I have said anything that is incorrect, especially if you follow a left-handed path, please let me know. I am always excited to learn new things.)

Spoilers up to Episode 49 of Welcome to Night Vale.

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Imagination Forced to Life: My Experience of the Welcome To Night Vale Live Show

welcome-to-nightvale-podcastWelcome To Night Vale can surely be classified as a worldwide phenomenon. For a few weeks in October and November, Cecil and the crew have been touring Europe with a live performance of “The Librarian.” A couple of weeks ago, I was one of the lucky ones who got to see the show in Copenhagen. Seeing Cecil and others in the flesh was amazing, but also weird. I don’t know what I expected, but seeing the actors on the black empty stage made it difficult to see Night Vale the way I usually do while listening to the podcast, and I left the theater feeling slightly underwhelmed.

I tried to keep this focused on the general experience so as to avoid plot spoilers, but a few vague points sneaked through. Also, trigger warning for unreality. Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: This summer vacation story is better than yours.

So I’m a pretty big fan of Welcome To Night Vale just in general. It’s pretty great. And one of the things I love about it is that, even though it’s already more diverse than most media, it isn’t afraid to continue adding in more intersectional diversity. I guess they figure haters gonna hate.

And Night Vale fanfiction is no stranger to this philosophy—the fanfic I’ve found has suggested such additions to canon as Carlos being trans*, Cecil being nonbinary, and the faceless woman who lives in your house being Old Woman Josie’s girlfriend from high school.

How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4 is a gem among stories of this sort, and besides being intersectionally awesome, has got superb writing to boot.

by cactuartamer on tumblr

fanart for this story by cactuartamer on tumblr

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