Yesterday I walked past a shop with a sign in its window, “Buy your complete Halloween outfit here!” & realised I was almost insane with boredom. Everything we have as a society–everything we do–is completely fucking spineless & irrelevant. It’s a “world” with no connection to the world, held in place by the biggest military deployment the world has ever seen so that 35 year old kidults can wear plastic witches’ hats on a Saturday night. People say: science fiction is over because reality caught up with it. I say: by the same token, fantasy is over because three whole generations are living in one. When are we going to grow up ? When is someone even going to suggest that ?
Trapped in habit. You can find genuine creativity or will to life in concentration camps, working for the Empire. You can’t find it elsewhere, because it is not tolerated in its wildlife forms. But why isn’t it tolerated? This is a civilization that hunts wolves out of habit rather than fear. I don’t know the answer, and I’m afraid to find out. I can only describe my losses.
The imposition of cliche categories, the institutional delusion that you need to acknowledge the past before taking steps into the future = the best high-security prison for hamsters in a wheel ever made. I know this, too, from personal experience.
Could it be? Is it in the genes? to be able to breath inside dull archetypes, not even howling to get out? Our formal education is not only mimicry but pallid mimicry. What does it take to thrive in this environment?
Rather than Jesus or the State, I’m waiting for the next ice age to solve all the world’s problems, including my personal frustrations.
So what would adults do on Halloween? Simply not celebrate it, or engage it in less of a boil-in-a-bag, “Costume Day” fashion? Should it be a day to let down our defenses against or fears and acknowledge our vulnerabilities? Should it be a day to give candy to children? Should it be a day to scowl at revelers in off-the-rack iconography?
As for our disentangling our governments’ military entanglements, I’m open to any suggestions. I’m in a production of Marat/Sade right now, and it’s got me fretting about the possibilities of real engagement, given the overwhelming tidal draw of violence and entropy.
Amen, Mr Harrison. Amen.
There are ghouls on my green, and skeletons, and pirates and little witches . It’s Halloween, trick or treaters are looking for candy. Be lighter, be softer…
After reading this I dutifully threw my tegeus-Cromis costume (with unnamed plastic sword) in the trash and then answered a knock at the front door. A small child dressed as Spiderman, the parent dressed as a pirate. I gave the kid a tiny chocolate bar and punched the parent in the face yelling: Grow up mother-fucker! After slamming the door I chalked up one point for the grown-ups.
After spending a couple of hours on the tube with them last night: a world of yes.
Well, we are stuck with each other – and what would make things more relevant, rather than intemperately superfluous? Your fellow man is your only measure; we either let live in her pleasure zones or we start laying down the law; an alternative is to dive moss-ward, and get in with the Gaia-throb, shorn of the awareness-drowning, beer-downing hairless simian. Or wait for self-editing artificial minds whose expansiveness of intellect will make us look like dogs and seals in the emotional intelligence stakes.
I don’t fundamentally disagree with the reaction: given less than half a chance, a bunch of effing twats is what the vastness of humanity represents, 24/7. We might withdraw military forces from all over the world and subvert capitalism, and such idiocy as Halloween will still prevail; it ain’t the system and and it ain’t the jackboot. When you have freed a nation from the burden of occupation, what will you say when culturally and socially, like any other, it starts p*ss*ng about? I would say, let’s be high-minded, let’s lambast the morally eviscerated and asocial middle class, poor scorn on the underclass, rubbish the sateity of the decent working class, and ridicule the cufflinked gentry. Let’s do this soberly, sporting high-necked collars, dressed in grey serge and serviceable shoes. Personally, until I have grown up myself, I won’t be able to forgo such soci0-political fantasies.
When I were a lad All Hallows meant nothing more than an excuse to dig out some Machen or M R James and attempt to unnerve myself while the wind howled outside the sash-cord windows.
The crass commercialism of the season had, thankfully, not yet stowed away to cross the Atlantic.
It is noteworthy that trick or treat has now almost totally superceded the bonfire custom of Penny for the Guy, a more static and, arguably, creative way for the urchins to obtain coin in old Albion.
The kidult concept is interesting – 40 year olds knocking on doors and running away anyone?
Hi Duke. I think the first stop for me would be not being able to buy anything. You make your rags & tatters out of, well… rags & tatters; you write a new verse for your Albion song in your generation. A celebration is what you make, not what you buy. If you make it yourself, it comes up out of the landscape it was made in. Fuck anything else. There are plenty of reasons to feel contempt for the kidults, but one of the most powerful is that they buy the cossie off the rack: when you do that, you take the pitifully leached ideologies that come with it.
Interesting Duke mentions the vanishing Penny for the Guy tradition. I remember dragging a Guy up to the local Sainsbury’s back in the seventies – though, being lower-middle-class liberal do-gooders, my parents insisted that I collect for Oxfam rather than personal gain. Not that half the punters believed this.
What ever happened to Guy Fawkes masks? Also displaced by trick-or-treat, I suppose. The ones we used to get from Woolworths were made of compressed paper, much like egg boxes. I remember the smell of them, and the distinctive taste when they’d gone a bit soggy round the mouth from condensed breath. I even remember – shock horror – making our own masks one year. Ah, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!
Couldn’t agree more. As one of six guys that carry the Jack in the Green at Hastings every May, I appreciate that primal energy.
Ostensibly just a frame of wood covered in leaves that we make anew each year, there is always a tear in my eye when we lead it down the hill to be slain at the end of the day.
Powerful and disturbing to see children, and plenty of adults, clamouring for leaves and debris to take away – the look of joy and wonder in their eyes when you hand them a piece of torn leaf.
You can’t buy that in orange and black plastic.
I always knew it was all over with anything Jack-in-the-Green related the day I heard one music journo wag opine that the people really writing the authentic music of the folk were the Pet Shop Boys.
Can I please have the woods back, like, *now*?
I too am frustrated with our whole ‘calendar’ system. We had better wake, or spiral to our doom. By wake, I mean what? I don’t know…who’s sleeping? With every Christmas we get deeper in the snow of oblivion. Can’t somebody make a metric calendar or SOMETHING?
While initially I thought you were taking yourself/everything far too seriously with this post, I’ve since come round a bit. Maybe it’s my neighborhood, where I watch mid twenties fashionable types skateboard past housing projects on a daily basis. Or maybe it’s the new movie everyone’s going to see that attempts to recreate what it’s like to be a ten year old. It’s a serious question why people my age fetishize childhood. Unfortunately, children are a bit more interested in ‘serious questions’ than we are. I’m not really sure, though, if making your rags and tatters out of rags and tatters makes much of a difference. If you have fuck all to say, you have fuck all to say, doesn’t matter if you sew it yourself.
What’s Jack-in-the-Green? Down here, we’ve always known that Halloween occurs because we get a lot of American TV (we’re all Americans, now, in Australia). But I don’t remember celebrating it when I was a kid. Sometimes on 31 October, a hopeful family of children come in costume to my middle-suburban home and knock on the door and I’m so startled that I rummage through the fridge for something kid-like to give them. But mostly we’re all just gearing up for the heat of the bushfire season (which arrived a week ago). Yay, global warming! So, I don’t get that bored/spineless/irrelevant feeling from ‘religious holidays’ – I get it looking at the boring/spineless/irrelevant/hypocritical politicians that run this country (cf, the Oceanic Viking-refugee stand0ff in Indonesia). And that’s every single night on the TV – not just Halloween.