I told yall this was going to be irregular, but holy shit...
In my heart of hearts, I was really hoping that Through The Looking Glass would be a one-off. I don't want to be hurtling toward hell in a handbasket at a breakneck pace. There was only one other topic on deck (DJs who complain about the crap music they themselves play- oh it's coming). And then yesterday I learned that the public schools in my hometown of Alameda, CA have banned Halloween costumes.
The silver lining was the resulting Facebook conversation where the broadest coalition of late-30 year old people across every spectrum of whatever agreed that this was really not cool. One of my old classmates on the dark side who I can still handle threw out the comment "liberalism at it's finest." I thought about that for awhile, nodded silently, and considered cutting my hair and buying a DON'T TREAD ON ME flag. Through The Looking Glass.
Apparently this has been going on for about five years. Give ya one guess why! I'll also give you one guess as to if this is a cause or an effect of the other phenomenon of Halloween 2013, people crossing the lines with the racial shit. No really, I'm extremely curious (the POV that people have been doing that forever so what's the big whoop would also be more than accepted).
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that a large majority of us have dressed up as something stupid, borderline insensitive, or blatantly and intentionally inappropriate (bless your hearts) for Halloween. I have. In 1992 I was a freshman in college getting dragged out to a frat party and had to come up with a costume at the last minute. Unfortunately it wasn't until a few months later that I was bequeathed one of those ridiculous Air Jordan 1 one-piece jumpsuits that would probably get me $10,000 on eBay today were I able to find it. That thing was a party in and of itself. So I made the brilliant decision of pulling my Raiders hat down extra low, leaving the belt at home, putting my pager on my parka and going as a "thug."
Now I was conscious enough to know that wasn't the best idea. I'm kinda not white, I'm half white and half Armenian, but in this context... I'm white. Ain't nobody dressing up as an early 20th Century semi-professional Turkish militiaman on Halloween. There was a bit of a meta concept to it too though. In 1992, being that white, having a pager and listening to Too $hort was more than enough for the overwhelming majority of white people to think you're hilarious. Hanging out in Oakland up through September of that year, I was not aware of that. Please believe I caught on real quick after moving to Davis, CA. So if I may use the worst reference possible, there was a bit of a "Say goodnight to the bad guy!" thing going on there. I promise to never quote that film again.
Naturally, as we were leaving for the party, because this is EXACTLY how the world should work, I shared the elevator down with one of the six black people within a 75 mile radius. He asked me what I was. I told him.
I don't remember what his exact reaction was (there were no words). I do remember that it was not threatening in any way. And that was all it took to make me feel like a jackass. I was already feeling like a jackass for wearing my own clothes and calling myself a "thug" for Halloween, but now I felt like an even bigger jackass.
But you know what, I'm pretty sure that as far as white people being jackasses goes, that barely registers. If Halloween is a seething pit of resentment in the minority community, then you people have done such a good job of keeping it a secret that you can just go ahead and jump off The Revolution tomorrow, because we have no clue whatsoever. Everybody gets a little bit of a pass on Halloween- racially, the acknowledged lines are blackface and tragic figures. Once you try to get finer than that, you're fucked, and then you're in Alameda. If you really want to get philosophical about it, sure, dressing up as an Indian- excuse me, NATIVE AMERICAN, on Halloween is kinda not cool- for adults. It's adorable as all hell for little kids. If you did not want to be an Indian for Halloween when you were five years old, you're either super lame, a racist who didn't think Indians were totally awesome, or some kind of goddamn foreigner. The kid who wants to be the cowboy is the asshole.
Feathers, face paint and sweet leather vests, as cool as they are, have nothing on the illest ethnic costume of them all though... WE HAVE A SECURITY BREACH! OH NO, HE JUST KILLED THE GUARDS AND MADE HIS WAY TO THE ROOF! LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU! IT'S... the ninja. The ninja is Japanese. Period. But I triple fucking dog dare you to tell me that dressing up as a ninja for Halloween is a byproduct of anything other than ninjas being the coolest shit ever. I never got to dress up as a ninja for Halloween, because my parents are sane jerks. And I'm still bitter about it. Anybody who denies spoiled rotten elementary school children the right to dress up as ninjas for Halloween needs to culturally appropriate a shuriken in their retina.
Halloween at school makes the whole nine months worthwhile. If Edison School had taken our costume parade around the block off the table, I would have dropped out and started a motorcycle gang before fifth grade. If you're going to ban costumes because fucking adults can't deal with it, let's just ban childhood altogether. Why should those Bangladeshi bastards have a monopoly on the soccer ball-stitching racket? We have plenty of small-handed AMERICAN kids that can do the job! Besides, I need the economy to pick up so I can afford something better than a cardboard casket. Because banning Halloween costumes is Through The Looking Glass, and we all gonna die.