Pettengill Family

Message 9175 · 3 Oct 1997 09:38:12 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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M Sheffield wrote:

> We used to serve beer and red wine at comfortable temperatures; now we
> chill them to hide their flavours (or even replace them with some fizzy
> brown sugary liquid).

Shame on you :-) I like my pints at quaffable temperatures, and my red
wines similarly :-)

> We used to think of Jesus and Mary at Christmas; now only Santa Claus
> appears before us -- from October onwards.

This means nothing to the truly devout.

> We used to enjoy 3/4, 6/8, 9/8 musical signatures; now we are fed only
> 2-beat rock -- and the younger generation knows _nothing_ else.

"Are fed" ???

> There was time when apprentices had a day off to spend a happy hour or two
> with their mothers to whom a small probably home-made present would be
> brought;
> now we are required to buy expensive manufactured trivia once a year for
> mothers' day, (fathers' day, grandmothers' day, bosses' day, .... each in
> turn). Which doesn't mean we needed also buy on birthdays, anniversaries,
> and so on.

Get a grip, man! What do you mean, "required" ?

> Where does all this come from?

We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us ...

> On 1st november, perhaps not everywhere, but in southern Europe, we used to
> visit ancestors' tombs, tidy them up, trim the plants, add a flower or two;
> now we are expected to remember witches and pretend to believe in magic. Is
> that unglorious aspect of social and ecclesiastical history really a
> subject for revelry?

Lighten up. An American phrase, but apt :-)

> All right, I'm the first to look for an excuse to have a party, and I do
> believe it is up to each of us to choose the themes and styles of his
> merry-making. Freedom of choice, of course.
> But are we (Europeans) choosing? or are we merely following a foreign
> custom -- _as_ dictated_by_purely_commercial_profit-seeking_interests_?
> Why should havng fun be equated with buyng things?

Ask your compatriots! And what to you mean, "dictated" ? Is the European
so weak willed as to regard the bright store displays a "dictate" ?
If no one were interested, the offerings would fade.

> OK, I'm in France, and Halloween is competely foreign. Yet witches, black
> cats -- I hardly need to give you the list -- now appear all over town to
> entice us into buying more things we don't need.

Well, if you are talking about yourself, then fie on you for buying
things you don't need. But
that is your business alone. More likely you are talking about the
purchases of
others, in which case I would ask - who are you to say what they "need"

> I have no particular memories of halloween as a child in Britain either.
> 5th November, yes, but not halloween as a celebration.

Me too.

> At least the halloween period is short. Christmas, on the other hand. Do
> you really enjoy two months of being told to buy, buy, buy? By the time
> 25th December arrives, thank goodness it's nearly over.
> I hope this late-night message is clear enough to give you all some idea of
> why, for me, dressing up for halloween would add nothing to the pleasure of
> my favorite activity. I refuse to be told to enjoy myself.

Glad to hear it :-)

> There is also, undoubtedly, at the back of my mind, the somewhat
> embarassing memory of halloween in North Carolina, many years ago, when I
> had no idea what to expect (begging children !) and was at a loss to know
> how to react when total strangers knocked on my mobile home door. It was
> all the more awkward, as I had quite literally just run out of money
> (brutally-raised student fees, unexpectedly high cost of living, and
> bankers' incompetence -- but that's another story), and even the porch
> light was kept off to economize.
> Too tired to go on. It will undoubtedly not be night when you read this,
> but I still wish you all a pleasant nightmare-free rest.
> Yours,
> Martin in france.
> PS: If you are really looking for something to celebrate, this is the first
> anniversary of my being on-line. You been reading my uncouth incoherent
> uncalled-for remarks for a whole year.

Well, much of what you say certainly reasonates with me. But what to me
does not
is the implicit assumption that you are the arbiter of good taste; and
that the masses,
flocking to the Halloween costume stores, deserve criticism for their
ill advised
choices. No on is "forcing" anyone to do anything; but choices are
offered, and I think it a good thing - even if, as we both have seen,
many choose junk :-)

As it happens, I rather like Halloween costumes, parties, trick 'r'
treating, etc. And it doesn't have to be anything very commercial;
that's up to us. Same with other holidays or events.

Anyway, as for the very original question, I think a simple SCD costume
party would be fun. Why have rules/requirements? Let the dancers
themselves decide what (if any!) costume, and same for the food.
And if some find the idea offensive, well - they are not "required" to
come :-) Similarly, an unenthusiastic attendance will clearly signal an
unpopular idea. While the notion that a new thing has to be tried, with
the attendant risk of failure, is less popular in Europe than in the US,
it really is the only way to gauge the actual - as opposed to the
presumed - success of the proposal. So go for it! I would mark down to
presumption the various whines of "commercialism!" concerning such an
event. If the partygoers manage to enjoy themselves in costumes, all
while serving the common SCD etiquettes which welcome us all to the
dance, then I say, good luck to them - and damn what anyone else may


don pettengill (Corvallis, OR)

ps Linda expressly disclaims anything I may say !!!

> --
> M Sheffield <xxxxxx.xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx>

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