Tuesday, October 30, 2007

64; Halloween

So it would seem apropriate to write a column about the holiday I am about to vigorously celebrate. Most of the campus is in a post-Halloween mentality, since the party was held on Saturday, but I resist. Halloween is on Wednesday? So be it. I shall celebrate on Wednesday.

My concern, however, is the topicality of these columns. Upon review nearly all of them have to do with specific events. Rarely do I write about things which I can recycle at any time. Perhaps that's why I kept the pet column up so long.

The pet column was my attempt to write on a subject that had nothing to do with the weather, politics, holidays or Bennington-specific information. It's intent was to be broadly applicable and identifiable.

This lead, inevitably, to a severe backlash in response. Some critiqued my pretentious writing, assuming I was not using hyperbole when I stated that "Cat people are what's wrong with the world." For the record all of my columns ever have always used hyperbole.

Then came accusations that I hate cats. No, I do not. I merely made the point that cats are dumb, equally so to dogs. Perhaps slightly less. But perhaps slightly more. Point is: they get stuck in paper bags. Not a bright animal.

From which it does not follow that I hate them. I am capable of liking dumb things. Examples: Slinkies. Democrats. Pet rocks.

Maybe it would be better to keep away from universal topics and instead write solely about current events. Like the upcoming holiday which is my favorite day of the year.

Halloween is the one thing New England has going for it. When I was growing up I would read books on Halloween. They always took place in this creepy place, with pumpkins and dead leaves and large orange moons. The houses were old and spooky and the trees and plants were different. When I was older I realized these were depictions of New England, aparently a real place, and not a mythic creepy land I had assumed was just the setting used for Halloween stories.

New England may not be real. As one of my professors said, "Vermont is a mythical place built on a foundation of granola." I wonder if this mythicality doesn't extend to the rest of the states. Only on Halloween do I get a sense of the New England I mythologized as a child, and so doing just perpetuate the stereotype those books taught me. All the same there is something special about that holiday, and celebrating it out here. Kind of like Chinese New Year in San Francisco. Some holidays are associated with places. And since the spooky night is my favorite I'm glad to be out here for it.

Birthdays are just dumb luck survival celebrations accompanied by presents. Christmas is a fictionalized guilt-ladden goodness knows what anymore. Increasingly I identify with Charlie Brown rather than Linus as I used to. On a bad day Ebenezer Scrooge. Christmas is as phony as the sentiment of the cards that accompany it.

But what am I doing talking about Christmas? Its almost Halloween! Let's get ready to scare people and dress up and eat sugar! And when that's over we can take out the Thanksgiving decorations.


Ross said...

Okay - first off - brilliant column. Secondly - I've noticed on my travels that the rest of the world does not do holidays the way America does them. They start getting ready for Christmas far, far too early because they don't have proper halloween and thanksgiving celebrations. All three of those holidays are such a part of my mentality for a proper calendar - I don't know how people get through their year without celebrating them...

(Okay - I understand not doing Thanksgiving, since that's an American thing, and at least some people celebrate Guy Fawkes in Nov., but how do you live without proper halloween celebrations???)

Ross said...

That was from me.