Thursday, February 01, 2007
# Posted 6:20 AM by Patrick Belton
Whenever I hear the word multiculturalism, I reach for my dictionary. When that's no help, I go to my library and the web, and find there such a total confusion of woolly definitions that I conclude the term is now virtually useless. The critics of multiculturalism say we need a stronger sense of shared Britishness. I agree - and constructing heated arguments around abstract isms of uncertain meaning is a deeply un-British activity. Let us, instead, say what we mean and mean what we say. Call a spade a spade, rather than attacking it as a manifestation of the dangerous ideology of gardentoolism.(3) opinions -- Add your opinion
Straw men are actually intended to be scary critters, descended from the Celtic wicker man, of which a remnant was burned at the last night of medieval English fairs in market towns. (Guy Fawkes, the original Guy, perhaps took his place in our - chillingly anti-Catholic - hearts.) The stiffy in the middle of all the naked people at Burning Man is a more modern relic.
Well, to continue the digression and at the risk of posting far too much to Oxblog, I attended many of these as a child (see link to Zozobra at bottom), which has the feel of a combo of religious and secular tradition. I can tell you, for young boys who invariably like to blow things up and light things on fire, this was spectacular (see picture at bottom):Post a Comment
"But he doesn’t remain placid long. As the hour of doom nears, Zozobra’s arms slowly begin to move and he emits the first menacing growl. He begins waving his arms more ominously at the crowd and the threatening growls increase.
When the flames at the base begin to roar, the red-clad figure of the Fire Spirit springs into view. He dances wildly up and down the steps at the base of the angry giant and takes a pair of red flares and threatens the flailing monster.
Old Man Gloom’s growls become agonizing screams as the Fire Spirit hurls the flares at him. Zozobra roars, his eyes glow with red flares, smoke pours out of his twisted mouth and rockets burst overhead as the fiery finish signals the beginning of a centuries-old celebration - Fiesta de Santa Fe - and everyone is free from suffering and woe which might dampen the spirits of Fiesta. Or at least they’re free until the classical mornings after which follows the festivities. Then they may wonder if Old Man Gloom doesn’t have a day or two of revenge, himself"