Friday, February 1, 2008


We're celebrating Carnival down here in Mexico. No, I should say that Carnival is being celebrated down here in Mexico. Last year I was foolish enough to live half a block from the parade route and there was nothing pleasant about it. There were two giant stages set up within a block of my house with some very large speakers blasting dance music and the occasional exclamations of the parade commentators. The outcome was a noise that is probably pumped into cells in Gitmo as a form of torture. I mean enhanced interrogation technique. I would have admitted to anything to make it stop, and it went on for a week. 
I don't get parades. And from the few times I wandered over to see what the big fuss and noise was about I believe no one else understands them, either. Sure, there were beautiful women on floats dancing provocatively. I get that, but most of the people were getting excited only when the beautiful girls threw free samples of whatever product their float was advertising. And while many of these floats were from beer companies, it wasn't free beer being given away. People were getting into a frenzy for candy and coca-colas. This kind of excitement has mass-hysteria written all over it. 
Later, when at least some of the children have been carted off to bed, the serious drinking sets in. I'd seen plenty of people more than drunk enough at 11 in the morning, but 12 hours later everyone has caught up with them. It has become obvious that most of the people are not seasoned drinkers, and some of them have inevitably gotten sick or become creative with the idea of what a toilet is. Others are doing the angry drunk thing, only menacingly and in large groups. There's more noise as bands only a block away from each other try to drown out the sound of the next stage, and some of the intoxicated are somehow dancing to both sounds at once. It's just not my cup of tea. 
As bad as I make it sound, people genuinely love Carnival and they're out there right now screaming at the girls on the floats going by. And as much as floats that are little more than billboards seem to cheapen whatever this is all supposed to be about (getting excess out of one's system before Lent), a group in Rio has tried to really outdo itself. They tried to enter a float depicting bodies of naked Holocaust victims. Granted, the theme this year is "shock," but who in their right mind says, "Hmm, I really need to make something for the parade and if its going to be a really good celebration its got to have something to do with the Holocaust and being naked!"? From the Guardian (UK):

"If we had people dancing on top of dead bodies that would indeed be disrespectful,"

No comments: