Editorial Pages


AND IF ANYONE OBJECTS TO THIS UNION: “Reform and PC, sitting in a tree:”
The question is quickly moving from “Will they or won’t they” to “Who gets to wear the pants?” Trevor Siwak provides his perspective on how this right-wing tryst will alter the nature of the parties involved. Reformers beware!

THE FACE YOU DESERVE – Phrenology, shmenology. Is there any truth to the notion that your face reveals all?

LECTURES AND EVENTS – What non-campus based students are really missing.

Am I the only one who remembers when Halloween was Halloween?

Here we are again, back to my favorite time of the year. Well: sort of.

In theory, I love Halloween. In practice, the holiday is becoming increasingly disappointing.

First, I’d like to ask all the parents out there, what the hell is with the costumes? This is Halloween, right? All Hallows Eve? The spookiest night of the year? Black cats, graveyards, walking dead: sound familiar?

So, how does The Little Mermaid fit into this? I admit, that each year Disney swells into an increasingly ominous corporate monstrosity, capable of crushing small businesses with its bare hands and wrenching hard-earned dollars from the fists of unwary consumers like plucking candy from the chubby fingers of a babe. Anything that large and self serving has a real fear-causing potential. Microsoft who?

But The Little Mermaid? Pocahontas? Aladdin? They don’t even budge the needle on the creepy meter.

It’s not like little girls don’t have opportunities all year round to play dress-up and pretend to be princesses, mermaids, and other saccharine Disney-approved icons. But Halloween has always been that one night a year people would shun all that was cutesy, benign, whimsical, and sweet. If human beings are well rounded individuals, and our spectrum of holidays is to reflect at least some of the diversity of the human spirit, then Halloween is the day we explore our dark places, and revel in everything that is a little scary, a little creepy, and a lot of fun.

I would argue that an old-fashioned ghoulish Halloween is more important for children today than historically, when the haunts and goblins of All Hallows represented the plagues of the time. By embracing the things that caused fear, children and adults alike learned to gain control over the things that menaced them. How are we exorcizing our demons now?

What could be more menacing for children today, especially girls, than crass commercialism and the beauty ideal. Little girls battle endlessly with the perception that they must be pretty and sexy in order to be valued. I don’t have to go into the very real and harrowing effects this pressure can have on a developing child, because it’s been well documented. What makes it more difficult, is that children have fewer and fewer escapes. There was a time when young children didn’t worry about their weight or how pretty they were. That was a concern for teenagers and adults. Now, children barely out of diapers are beginning to stress out over how they appear.

There was a time when Halloween was about reveling in everything that is ugly, beastly, awkward and strange. These things are a part of all of us, and to embrace those parts is to be free. Today, little girls primp and preen to be as pretty as possible, making Halloween just one more night of worry over psychical appearance and sexuality. Halloween is now yet another night to shun imperfections, and I think it is a terrible loss. What experiences do children have these days that encourage the expression of differences or the celebration of strangeness? What about the creativity that used to go into Halloween? Children today want to look ‘exactly’ like characters in film. It’s like their creative cortexes have gone to mush.

Where have all the little witches, skeletons, ghouls and goblins gone? And when did all the gore dripping, slime slewing movie monsters morph into the pretty, teeny-bopper slashers of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer? And what is the world coming to when The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is remade starring that cute big-toothed girl from Seventh Heaven? RIP Barbara Steele, the new scream queens are giggling teens. And we wonder why people are unable to confront the realities behind the TV news:

I know not everyone is a horror freak like I am year-round, but it sure was nice to have one night a year when people dropped their denial and confronted a little of the dark side. Death and decay don’t have to be morbid subjects, but rather a part of the natural cycle of life! Our ancestors knew that, and Halloween is just one example of that knowledge. It’s no coincidence that in ancient religions, gods of death were worshipped with equal reverence to those who gave life. We’re losing touch with the fact that no matter how much technology we have, we are all still magnificent machines of blood, sinew and bone. And you know, as kids we loved learning about that stuff!

I cringe with worry and yawn with boredom when I see princess after princess mounting my front porch, asking for candy [they would never want a trick, not these gleaming little ones, oh no!]. They gape with dread at my jack-o-lanterns, which are the only ones on the block that are actually carved to look like – well – jack-o-lanterns! Everyone else, it seems is busy whittling landscapes and cartoon cells into the surfaces of their gourds.

I’m thinking of establishing a graded treat system, where kids with really scary costumes get more candy than those in frills and lace. Little ghouls and goblins would take home sacks of candy. The Little Mermaid? Maybe a small, sugar-free gumball, so she doesn’t ruin her figure or stain her pretty dress.

My second idea is to really go all out and scare the pants off of everyone with a truly ghoulish display – but now days, I’d probably get arrested for having unsettled people. No, I’ll have to grit my teeth and resist the urge to chase off the little Disney-robot barrage, screaming “get off my lawn, you cutesy little sugar puffs!”

In a day and age when kids are listening to Enrique Eglasias instead of Led Zepplin, and driving around in compact hatchback station wagons is now cool [you can call them compact SUV’s if you like, but I remember when my mom wanted one for running around for groceries in the 80s], I’m almost hoping that somewhere out there, there is a kid with enough fire left in him to give my house the egg and TP treatment. Just don’t hit my car 🙂

I think I’ll save my graveyard display for Christmas, mwuhahaha:


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