As I sit in my liberal arts college dorm room wondering if my Charles Manson costume tonight should be adorned with an “X” on my forehead or perhaps a smiley face, I think to myself, “Am I actually going to get away with this?” Now, being in the one of the nation’s foremost bastions of morally bankrupt hipsters – Boston – I’ll probably be fine. Who apart from Roman Polanski is actually going to be offended at seeing a blonde Manson with a pathetic inmate shirt walking in to their party? Probably no one. It’s pretty tame compared to the other costume ideas I had including but not limited to a transgender Indian, a guitar player full Dia De Los Muertos makeup, or anything other than the safest most neutral character that I already look the closest to so as not to be condemned for cultural appropriation. God forbid!
If you haven’t had the phrase “cultural apparition” rammed in to your psyche yet, consider yourself lucky and just know that it’s basically the phrase neo-facist progressives have invented that refers to people critiquing, adopting, endorsing, or enjoying something they wouldn’t traditionally be associated with. This is usually claimed on the grounds of the most insubstantial and insignificant quality of said person; their skin color. For example.. Are you a white kid whom finds joy and release in rap music? Too bad. You’re not black, you don’t get it, and you aren’t allowed to genuinely be a part of rap culture.
I’ve always loved Halloween. It’s always been my favorite holiday, and for the first couple decades of my life I’d have told you it was because I liked dressing up scary and building a haunted house in my garage, but this year I really realized why I loved Halloween and what it really means to me. In the age of hyper sensitivity, mass banning of anything that might rub someone (even just one person) the wrong way, and cultural war on nearly everything traditional, Halloween remains the one day of the year where everyone gets a pass to take the elitist stick out of their butt and cut loose. Not in the sense of cutting loose where you can drink and make a fool of yourself. We’re pretty good at doing that the other 364 days of the year. Rather, we get a little bit more wiggle room to cut loose and do things others might deem “offensive” or as I’d put it; commit “thought crimes” from here to Transylvania. But every year and without fail we find that the fun – yet slightly dangerous physically and figuratively – tradition of October 31st get chipped and chipped away evermore by liberals, progressives, hipsters, and (trigger warning) intellectual pussies. Yes, like Christmas, there is a war on Halloween.
Yes, the notion of not wearing an Indian costume has always been considered taboo, at least in my lifetime since 1995, but now even that’s on steroids. Now we have the University of Texas now telling its students outright to not wear anything resembling cowboys and indians or anything else that might “appropriate another culture or experience”. It doesn’t stop there, no. Now Halloween decorations…DECORATIONS-FOR-HALLOWEEN (in other words: THINGS MEANT TO LOOK SCARY) are being shut down, censored, and all around banned for our own safety. What do I mean? The other day I was in Home Depot shopping around for some equipment where I later had a nice jaunt through the seasonal section. They had the usual plastic skeletons and goofy animatronics, but I saw the now infamous “Scary Peeper Creeper” decoration before it was banned no more than a week later. My first thought was “Oh man they’re really going for it this year…” I would have bought it had it not been for the $30 price tag and my already tight college budget. But what really bothered me was the little voice I had in my head telling me to buy it because theres no way it was be around much longer. Sure enough, reportedly, ONE…count ‘em ONE person complained about the window decoration claiming it trivialized rape culture and must be taken off the shelves because it’s too dangerous. The mom in the article said she didn’t see the humor in it. Logically she could have saw it and said to herself, “That’s not funny therefore I’m not going to buy it”, but naturally she took the authoritarian approach and thought, “That’s not funny therefore no one should be allowed to buy it.”
I never thought I would be writing about issues in America with the words “ban”, “banning”, and “banned” used so much, but here I am. This, fundamentally is why I refer to progressives as neo-facists. Nowadays the frame has shifted so much that people who would have never considered themselves right-leaning before are now aligned with conservatism just for agreeing with freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Halloween isn’t about candy and decorations. As with any holiday, it’s about freedom of expression. The campaign to censor or ban Halloween and the practice thereof in the name of sensitivity, or what some deem as “proper”, is something reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany, modern day Saudi Arabia, or authoritarian olde England. I know many today don’t know a lick about US history except for how offensive we have been, but ya’ll gotta know that separating from olde England has kind of been the idea all along.
The message to classmates and countrymen of mine I’m trying to get across is this: don’t be afraid of scary costumes, jokes you don’t find funny, or dangerous opinions. Images, jokes, and opinions are not going to hurt you. These things are not violent. Words are not violent, but censorship is. Censorship cannot function without violence and coercion because somewhere down the line, someone won’t agree with it, but they will be forced to either by the state or an upside down society.
This October, be dangerous, be scary, and be free. If you don’t like it, nut up or don’t go out (and probably not have fun). By all means be safe and take care of yourself. Call the police if a clown pulls an actual knife on you on your walk home. Don’t call the police if you simply see someone wearing a clown mask. Believe it or not he hasn’t actually done anything except do something that maybe you don’t like. Welcome to the western world, where we pride ourselves on having the freedom to do things that might make someone else uncomfortable as long as we don’t impede on anyone else’s right to do the same.