From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! ~ Scottish Saying

There’s a really scary day coming up on the calendar, one that can stand our hair on end and make our blood run cold. That’s right, Harvey Weinstein is scheduled to be released from sex therapy. Also, Amazon will soon announce the location of its second headquarters, and if it’s Pittsburgh, anyone standing between a politician and a microphone is likely to be trampled to death in the ensuing stampede to take credit.

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And, oh yeah, Halloween is right around the corner. It used to be a simple, fun holiday but now, unfortunately, it’s another thing that certain people have gotten up in arms about. Does everything have to be political? Yes. Yes it does.

So apparently, if you dress up like a cowboy, that’s okay, but if you dress up like an indian, that’s “cultural appropriation”. You hear stuff like this on college campuses, but you almost never hear it from actual Indians. Not that actual indians can’t be found on college campuses, it’s just that they’re, you know, studying or something.

You can’t be a hobo because that might upset the homeless, and you can’t be a fireman, you have to be a fire person. How about a butcher? You might offend vegans. A baker? Don’t you care about the gluten intolerant? Okay then, a candlestick maker? Aren’t candles made from tallow? Do you know where tallow comes from, you heartless monster?

As you can see, there’s now a whole range of hurt feelings you need to negotiate. Here’s a quiz to test your sensitivity to political correctness for the witching hour:

1. What’s the least politically controversial Halloween costume I can get away with?
A) Plain old ghost – a sheet with two eye holes;
B) Ghost, but with a sheet of varied colors to promote “inclusion” in the spirit world;
C) Headless horseman;
D) Headless horse-person on trans-gender horse

2. What are the appropriate accessories for a costume depicting a borough councilman?
A) Boxing gloves
B) Leisure suit with optional gravy stain
C) Burlap sack with large dollar sign – oh, wait that’s the borough manager costume
D) Garbage bag full of opponents’ yard signs

3) Is it OK to dress a small child as a rocket with a conical nose-cone hat?
A) Only if he does not already resemble North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un
B) Only if he is not wearing a sign that says “Little Rocket Man” which might offend the         vertically challenged
C) Only if he’s not sporting the “modified-Moe” haircut favored by the little rocket man.

4) Are there any groups you won’t get sued for dressing up as?
A) The Pitt Panthers – they’ll take any attention they can get.
B) The Irish. They won’t complain or act insulted but they have these clubs they call               shillelaghs . . .
C) The Knights of Columbus. Careful, some of them carry swords
D) The Italians. They won’t gripe about cultural appropriation, but you want to watch              out for the bacio della morte especially if someone starts calling you “Fredo,”

5) My daughter wants to dress as a Disney character, but “Cosmopolitan” magazine has editorialized against it. Which character should I look out for?
A) “Moana” would signal cultural appropriation, unless you’re, like, Polynesian;
B) “Elsa” could be problematic as all the snow might signal white privilege
C) “Ariel” might be offensive to the non-aquatic;
D) “Goofy” might be insensitive to Cosmopolitan editors.

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