We’ve reached that inevitable point in the middle of the summer months that dooms all bloggers. That is, the stretch of time where there is just nothing to write about. No movie or sports news—we are still waiting for a little bit of both. Because of that, I thought it was about time to finally set pen to paper on an idea I have had for a new television show, one that would combine history with the single item we can all find common ground on: food! There are an endless amount of documentaries on all time periods in history (though that number has been shrinking in recent years due to a mass-encroachment from mindless “reality”-based shows), but how many of them ever take the time to go into detail on the food consumed in whatever particular time period they are focusing on? The only one that comes to mind is one of my favorites, The Naked Archaeologist, hosted by Simcha Jacobovici, which I love for its simplistic, down-to-earth approach to archaeology, making it fun, interesting, and easy to learn for everyone. The reason why the show is titled as such is because he peels back the layers, so to speak, making the archaeology “naked”. Many times his shows will include little tidbits on food and lifestyles, which I always found fascinating. I think it is a topic that could do very well as a show of its own, because if there is one thing that can humanize a group of people who have been dead for hundreds or thousands of years, it would be details about, and demonstrations of how to cook the food they ate.
Well, less than two hours after I expressed my affection for Halloween, I now have to express my anger. Over the last few years, we have seen a growing number of schools across the country banning students from wearing costumes on Halloween, and some even going so far as to ban mention of the day all together. Most recently, a public school district in Springfield, Illinois has been added to the list, because administration cites the costumes as being “disruptive”. While that very well may be their reason, most likely, the reasons from other schools are a lot more political. Before we go blaming the liberal left for being too politically correct, let me just point out that if anyone would want to ban children from celebrating this holiday in school, it would actually be the religious right, because Halloween began as a pagan holiday, and there are still many sects of Christianity that believe the celebration of it today is evil, unholy and godless. Gee, such strong words for little kids going around asking for candy, I know, but this is the world we live in. Either the left is trying to destroy Christmas, or the right is trying to destroy Halloween, it all amounts to the uneasy world that the children of this generation are growing up in.
Both sides to the story are asinine, and I believe that people of all faiths should be able to express their feelings on the day of their major holiday. As I wrote about last winter, when I tackled the political correctness of the
Christmas Holiday Season, do people really get upset, or do they just have too much time on their hands? What would happen if the horror of a Jewish person saying “Happy Hanukkah” to a Christian would ensue, or vice versa? Would both people suddenly spontaneously combust? We are seeing it with Halloween now, where people who do not care to partake in such a fun holiday are upset by seeing those who do. Basically, it’s like, “If I can’t have any fun, neither will you.” When I was in elementary school, I distinctly remember a girl in our class who was a Jehovah’s Witness. She was not allowed to wear a costume or eat any of the candy/food we had during our party. But she was not nasty about it, and she actually enjoyed looking at the costumes worn by the other children. She did not seem too upset at all—she had her religious convictions, and was perfectly fine with seeing those who differ from her celebrate the holiday. I gather her parents were fine with it too, because otherwise they would have kept their child out of school that day, because there was never any real work given out to begin with.
But no, now it has to eclipse that. Saying that costumes disrupt schoolwork is not a good enough excuse. Halloween is only one single day out of the entire year. What that amounts to is 179 other days for children to work in school. Maybe they can have the teachers plan “fun” work that day, involving the holiday and how it has transformed from the pagan, Celtic feast of Samhain to what we all know and love today. Heck, maybe they will even learn something and not even know it. There are plenty of documentaries and activities to do on that one day that would make everybody happy.
Throughout my life, the celebration of this day has transformed right before my very eyes. When I was in elementary school, the wearing of costumes was encouraged, and we even had contests throughout the day. Then, when I got to 5th grade, our district shifted schools around, and my new school became K through 6th. The principal specifically told us that we 5th and 6th graders should not wear costumes, because it was something for the younger children only, and we should show “maturity”. That pissed off our parents some, because we were still only 10 or 11 at that time. When I moved on to middle school, costumes were once again encouraged, and the same in high school, where many of the teachers put us students to shame with the extravagant costumes they came in with. There was little or no work that day, and it was actually a fun time to be in school. While I cannot say what my former schools are doing now, except for that episode I experienced while in 5th and 6th grade, Halloween was generally a positive day, and if it fell on the weekend, we would just dress up on the nearest Friday.
Halloween is yet another holiday being destroyed by politics. I am not going to lay the final blame on a particular party or ideology here. The two sides continuously ruin the lives of adults, but now they are ruining the lives of the kids. The world is terrible enough as it is, so do we need to keep going that extra step? One day out of the year, people are allowed to dress funny and have fun at work or school. It is a tradition that has been around for generations, and it is one that needs to stay in place. This holiday is a part of our American culture, and it is time more people stood up to protect it.
Last night as I was watching a History Channel special titled, The Real Story of Christmas, and saw how the holiday changed over the years (mostly negatively), I began to wonder about some of America’s oldest traditions in storytelling, such as Santa Claus and Frostie the Snowman. Being the cynical person that I am, always quick to point out how easily people overreact to the smallest matter, and in today’s world, where everything we create and advertise is driven by political correctness, I pointed out that a lot of the famous pictures of Santa that we recognize today consisted of him smoking a pipe (Pall Mall cigarettes even went so far as to use the jolly old elf to market their brand in the 1920′s) and of course, you cannot complete the Frostie the Snowman rhyme without saying, “…with a corncob pipe and a button nose.”
So there we had two staples of Christmastime promoting tobacco use. I thought it was pretty funny and was almost amazed that the lyrics of Frostie had not yet been changed because the youth of America may see his pipe as a sign that it is okay for them to smoke, thus creating an entire generation of little children addicted to pipe tobacco. As for Santa’s pipe, cartoons drawn of him today seem to omit the tool that he always use to light up after he sat down from a long, tiring journey of spanning the world to drop presents off to little children.
Political correctness has gone way too far in this country, and to write about that would require enough space fitting of a doctorate thesis, but I just hate the fact that everything is “Happy Holidays” now. You can’t say the word Christmas, or even Hanukkah or Kwanzaa for that matter, because you may offend someone who does not celebrate that holiday. Where this mentality came from, I have no idea. I’ve said “Merry Christmas” to Jewish people, and maybe you’ll be surprised to find out that they did not punch me in the face for doing so. Furthermore, Jewish people have said “Happy Hanukkah” to me, and that just gets me so angry that I want to say it in return to them.
Nevertheless, last night I decided to post on Facebook what I was thinking about Frostie: “How long before politically correct America lambasts Frostie the Snowman for having a corncob pipe, because it promotes tobacco use in children?”
I expected a few laughs, but nowhere near the twenty comments this simple status received. It was hilarious what people wanted to change about Frostie in order to fit him into today’s society. I enjoyed what my friends had to say so much, that I doctored up this Photoshop to get the idea across at how silly being politically correct is.
Warning: If you are allergic to snow, do not click to enlarge. I can’t afford to have a lawsuit from the ACLU on my hands.
Isn’t this world we live in today great? I would like to know where it all started to go downhill for the
Christmas Holiday season. Watching that documentary last night, and seeing clips of people’s home movies of Christmas morning from the 1950′s and 60′s almost made me sad, because life (and the toys children were receiving) were so much more simple back then, and everyone made due with what they had, and had a lot of fun doing so as well. Today, I look at children and see mostly spoiled brats, who don’t deserve nearly a quarter of what expensive, electronic gifts they receive. So I’ll propose the question to you again, and feel free to leave a comment or send me an email: Just where did it all go wrong?
This is Volume 1 of what I hope will be an ongoing series. As more ideas arise, I will jot them down. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to me. One more thing: lost in all of this was how much I thoroughly enjoyed watching that History Channel special. Hats off to them, because for the first time since the late 1990′s, they have redone all of their holiday shows, including ones on the origins of Halloween and Thanksgiving. The old ones, hosted by Harry Smith, were excellent, and I have them saved on DVD, but for a general history lesson, these new one needed to be made. I highly recommend giving it a view.
It’s fitting that the last Rangers home game before Halloween ended the way it did. The team that made it their mantra to improve home ice play this season now falls to 1-3-1 on Madison Square Garden ice. But once again, the Rangers got a good showing from their offense, only to have their defense act out a script written by Wes Craven.
In a game where Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head, the Rangers defenseman in front of him could not help but stand by like spectators as Erik Cole plopped one into the net on the powerplay for the game winning goal with just under four minutes remaining in the third period. Tonight’s game was a microcosm of an already young season—the team that was supposed to have all defense and goaltending is showing all offense and no defense, while leaving their abused star goaltender hung out to dry. Lundqvist was run repeatedly, with no toughness to derail any of it. He also made save after save, some making me feel pains in my groin after watching him stretch. Where there was a rebound, there was a Hurricane to collect it, not a Blueshirt to swipe it away.
The Hurricanes got on the board first in the opening frame, when Tuomo Ruutu lifted the puck over the pad of an outstretched Lundqvist off a brilliant pass by Anton Babchuk. This came after Lundqvist made multiple marquee stops, including one on that very play whose rebound was allowed to be shot in. On the other end of the rink, Cam Ward himself was excellent in goal. The final score would not be indicative to how these goaltenders played.
Carolina would score their second of the game less that a minute into the second period, by Jeff Skinner. Trailing 2-0, the Rangers would then hunker down and respond to tie the score. Ryan Callahan scored a little more than three minutes later on assists from Anisimov and Rozsival on the powerplay. With eight minutes remaining, Marc Staal would tie the game after he was hit with a great pass from Christensen. Frolov would get a secondary on the play, the only few seconds he bothered to show up tonight, except when he was robbed blind by Ward midway through the first.
But less than a minute after the Rangers tied the score, Skinner would strike again on a mini breakaway. The Rangers would show some resilience, though, as two minutes later Brandon Dubinsky added his fifth of the year. He now leads the team in goals and points and has been the team’s best forward in Gaborik’s absence. The Rangers also hit two posts, one in the first and one in the second.
With the game tied at three heading into the third, the sloppy defense continued. With less than six minutes to go, a penalty would cost the Rangers a goal again. With Boyle off for boarding, Erik Cole would park himself in the crease and net the game winner, sending the Rangers home with another disappointing loss.
On a good note, Henrik Lundqvist had a stellar night in net and the line of Fedotenko, Avery, and Boyle, “The FAB Three” continued to be very rugged and created chances. Michal Rozsival also had a strong game and Erik Christensen finally looked comfortable in the lineup. But all of this is small consolation for a team that has so many little things wrong with it, that it is hard to pin-point—every night it appears to be something new.
Steve Eminger also took another bad penalty tonight , giving reason after reason as to why he should not be on this team, or at least having priority playing time while the youngster Sauer sits.
The Rangers will now head up to Toronto tomorrow night where they will face the Maple Leafs for a third time this season. Tortorella may have been considering playing Biron in that game, but with the way this defense has been, if the Rangers want to have any chance at all to win, they will have to play Lundqvist.