Halloween

Link post

Leonard Co­hen on his po­etic voice:

“As I grew older, I un­der­stood that in­struc­tions came with this voice. What were these in­struc­tions? The in­struc­tions were never to lament ca­su­ally. And if one is to ex­press the great in­evitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict con­fines of dig­nity and beauty.”

This is ap­par­ently ex­actly the op­po­site of how most peo­ple in the Amer­i­can world feel at this time of year. The great in­evitable defeat should be ex­pressed with elec­tron­i­cally jeer­ing plas­tic skele­tons, hu­morous fake corpses, faux-threat­en­ing grave­stones, and—let’s not for­get the vi­o­lence and dis­ease re­spon­si­ble for so many deaths—gen­er­ous fake blood, vomit, and slime. The cel­e­bra­tion should be not only frivolous and ugly to the max, but re­ally go hard on min­i­miz­ing dig­nity! Don’t just dress as a fun ugly corpse, make it a sex­u­ally de­praved fun ugly corpse!

Isn’t this just a bit weird? For in­stance, how is this good?

I’ve heard a cou­ple of times some­thing like: “Hal­loween is nice be­cause it is re­bel­lious, and a re­lief from all that se­ri­ous­ness. Peo­ple usu­ally treat these things with sa­cred­ness and somber­ness, and it’s a lot to deal with.”

If that’s what it is, would it also be cool if we in­cor­po­rated more sec­ond-rate stand up com­edy rou­tines and pranks into funer­als? Or had more fun smal­l­pox themed par­ties?

I don’t think peo­ple do ac­tu­ally con­tend with death or hor­ror in a more com­fortable way via Hal­loween, for the most part. My guess is that they ba­si­cally don’t think about the con­tent of what they are do­ing, and just get used to hunt­ing for bar­gain plas­tic corpse ba­bies to put on their lawns, and laugh­ing with each other about how re­al­is­tic and grue­some they are. Which seems more like de­sen­si­ti­za­tion than com­ing to terms with a thing. Which I doubt is a good kind of re­lief from se­ri­ous­ness.

Also, if we are go­ing to have a change of mood break around the po­ten­tial hor­rors of life, the al­ter­nate feel­ings and pur­poses Hal­loween sug­gests just don’t seem very good. ‘Trick or treat?’ Cheap mal­ice or cheap he­do­nism? Quick, find a huge mound of junk food, I for­got be­cause I’m very com­pet­i­tive about drunk­enly parad­ing my but­tocks in a way that makes me seem clever..

I’m ob­vi­ously miss­ing some­thing, and I don’t ac­tu­ally blame any­one much within rea­son for get­ting into the holi­days of their cul­ture, but come on cul­ture, what is this?