Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Somehow it seems fitting that Halloween--the festival of phony fear--has become the American holiday par excellence.
We Americans positively love the cheap thrill of feigning fear of things that we don't really find menacing: goblins, ghosts, witches--of course--but also illegal immigrants, homosexuals, socialists, environmentalists, etc. On Halloween, our fake terror inspires a lot of festive trompe l'oeil (faux spooks and vampires). The rest of the year, our phony fears justify mostly sly clins d'oeil (winks). Be afraid, be very afraid (wink, wink).
Why all this counterfeit horror about spurious menaces? Well, it gives us good vibes. It allows us to feel victimized but in complete safety, security and passivity. Thus, we can hate the "bad" guys, blaming them for all the world's ills--and simultaneously exonerate ourselves from any responsibility for anything unpleasant. And the best part of this Halloweenie Hysteria is that it requires us to take absolutely no action and make absolutely no changes in our cozy "family-values" routines.
On Halloween, all mischief emanates from witches, vampires and ghosts. The other 364 days of the year, all evil is occasioned by Mexicans, fags, wealth redistributing socialists, tree huggers and Islamic mosque builders.
What's that you say? You dare to suggest that America has other, more serious problems to ponder? Problems that really exist? Problems that (gasp!) can be solved only by doing things and spending money?
A dwindling middle class? Loss of manufacturing and jobs? Increasing poverty and an obscene gap between the wealthy and the poor? Untrammeled power of big corporations? Inadequate and unaffordable health care?
Tut, tut and pshaw. You're a real party pooper, aren't you?, fussing and whining and wringing your hands like Cassandra in a fit of nattering negativism. Calm down and take a pill. And trust me: you'll feel a lot better if you just stick to happy Halloween fears. Ghosts. Fags in speedos. Mexican nannies with funny accents.
Now get out there and do what proper Americans do: work yourself into some good old-fashioned phony hysteria! For example, think about Adam Lambert seducing Anderson Cooper! Yikes.
What's that? You don't know who "those people" are??
Oh dear, oh dear. Now YOU frighten me.
Like, I'm totally boo who?!