• Daniel Ethan Finneran

"PC" Halloween

All Hallows Eve is upon us again. And with it, true as the moon that illumes the trick-or-treater’s trail, the Political Correctness Police haunt the air. They stand always at the ready, armed with their cudgels and their sanctimony, to beat back the night’s onslaught of impropriety and insensitivity. You mustn’t offend, lest you find yourself on the receiving end…of a well-deserved bludgeon. You shan’t encroach, or you’ll find yourself reproached…for trespassing decorum’s decree. As you choose your frightful façade, if only once on this October night, do consider a few things. Take note, and don’t dare let your vigilance lapse. If you do, you risk committing a most indefensible crime, for which you’ll be rightly removed from our insufferable, politically-correct society.


Only a select few costumes will do—nothing with an air of the ethnic, nor a whiff of the non-white. A German can’t be Gaston, for he belongs entirely to the French. Nor can an Argentinian dress as Napoleon, intrepidly crossing the Alps. The Italian boy might have claimed Bonaparte, if only Corsica hadn’t been lost. But worry not, young ragazzo, for your great nation’s Renaissance offers Halloween garb galore, but only those born within your borders should it adorn.


Jafar and Saladin are unacceptable, unless you prove Arabia housed your ancestry. Scouring further East, to dress as Genghis Khan is perhaps more permissible; genetic analyses have revealed his seed succeeds in nearly 0.5% of Earth’s male population. So long as you can prove his as your patrilineage, Temüjin, or the Great Khan you shall be. Attila the Hun, however, was less philoprogenitive; unless you can trace your lineage back to the fifth century’s sanguinary Hungarian steppes, his likeness remains strictly out of reach.

Young ladies face similarly constraining costume proscriptions from the “PC” police. A melanin measurement is required before she can don Moana’s leis, the latest pretty Polynesian princess to make a splash since Lilo and Stitch (I know, Lilo wasn’t royalty—she herself was a lay…person that is, entangled with an extraterrestrial beast—but, nevertheless, both she and her Moana successor are of Asian-Pacific descent). In fact, the empurpled response to Disney’s Moana costume last season was so overwhelmingly that the company removed it from its stores. All this to appease the cultural misappropriation screams.


At least Elsa and Anna remain in play, so long as the girl is from Finland, Denmark, or Norway. And an Anglo-Saxon lass with skin akin to that of her Nordic neighbors can dress as Merida from Brave, but only if her epidermis looks like Edinburgh. She’ll be saddened to know she can’t play Pocahontas for the night. Her skin disallows it, but such are life’s congenital inconveniences that set us upon our plights. She’d have better luck switching sexes to be the Powhatan princess’s inamoratos: the movie’s John Smith or history’s John Rolfe. In fact, she’d be applauded for her du jour jump in gender.


You must tread carefully this Halloween, but not for reasons you might suspect. No longer is it razor blades or tampered candy bars about which you must be circumspect. Now, you mustn’t step on sensitivities or spoil society’s fragile semiotics. Most countenances won’t be countenanced, and for the spirit of the holiday, that’s a shame. What’s so wrong about a white girl’s adulation for an ethnic heroine? Or a little boy’s prostration to a prince whose appearance is different than his? Neither are accepted, and Halloween is made the worse. Less and less is it the holiday we once knew. The Jack-O-Lantern has stepped aside, replaced by the arbiter elegantiarum. This is the ghastliest, most eldritch thing of all.

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