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Thursday, November 7, 2013

THE PHANTOM


THE PHANTOM
 
Halloween costumes are in the news lately.  One reveler dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim, complete with running outfit, number, blood and bruises.  She was instantly chastised by millions as her insensitivity went viral. 

Some other numbnutz slapped on blackface and portrayed the murdered Trayvon Martin.  Offensive…yeah, I think so.

In the UK two college girls won a prize for their costumes depicting the twin towers being blown up by terrorist attacks. 

The world is outraged by these idiots.

There are now calls to ban specific costumes.  There are calls to discipline these numbskulls.  Stupid kids have been insensitive, something has to be done!  These kids need to be taught a lesson.  They need to be pariahs.  Their lives need to be ruined because they dared to make light of tragedies.

Of course if it were not for Facebook, twitter, email, and the internet no more than twenty or thirty people would ever have known about these costumes.  The people who actually saw these get-ups would have told them “Dude that is just wrong” but in general no one would have known about these costumes.  No one would have been angered; no one would have been hurt by this insensitivity because no one close to the actual tragedy being portrayed would have seen or been aware of their stupidity.

If you wear a witches’ outfit on Halloween are you offending the Salem relatives of Abigail Somebody?  Dress up like “The Grimm Reaper” and someone should be offended.  I’ve seen people dress as the Boston Strangler…how chilling to anyone who is related to any similar criminal act.

I’m not defending, or advocating these insensitive costumes, but I am just saying calm down.  It’s Halloween.  People dress up as all different things.  Some can be offensive to all; all can be offensive to some.  Don’t blame the costume wearers, blame the internet.  Those kids never intended for their offensive dress up to be seen by people who could be offended. Bad taste?  Absolutely.  A capitol offense? Hardly.

Years ago, before the internet, before Facebook, before Twitter and Pinterest, my son’s good friend got in trouble for a costume that was considered in bad taste.  This friend, I’ll call him Ralph, wore a sheet over his body with only holes cut out over the eyes so he could see.

Ralph was one of the nicest kids in the school.  He was an average student and an above average athlete.  He had many friends and no enemies.  He went to church every week.  He was the all-American boy, always a smile, always polite, never a bad word for anyone.

When he showed up to school in his costume he was almost immediately dragged into the Principals office.  He was berated and sent home.  The school administration was horrified that Ralph would come to school as a Ku Klux Clan member.

Ralph was bewildered.  Ralph had never heard of the Ku Klux Clan.  That organization was in the South.  They had not been seriously active in Ralph’s lifetime.  They had not been on the news, they were ancient history to most, and they were non-existent to Ralph.

“What is a clansman?  I’m a phantom.  You know like in the comics.  Woo Woo, I’m a phantom.  I don’t understand all the fuss.”

The phantom costume was in bad taste.  Many students in school, particularly the black students might have been upset by the outfit, and sending Ralph home to change into something more appropriate was the right thing to do.

Still, no students in school were offended.  The black kids were not offended.  It was a phantom, not a clansman.  This was Ralph; no one would think he could be mean or racist.  He was a phantom.

Beyond being sent home, nothing else was made of the incident.  Ralph was embarrassed, and all of the students thought it was funny.  The very idea of Ralph being racist and trying to hurt was silly.  It remains today simply a funny story.

I have to think however, that if there was an internet, if there was Facebook and twitter, would Ralph’s phantom costume have been plastered around the world?  Would Ralph’s life have been turned upside down because sensitive people would have miss-interpreted his motives and his character?

Relax world…it’s a Phantom!

14 comments:

  1. I just hate it when people sweat the small stuff. FFS just ignore them - then it wont be nearly as much fun wearing offensive costumes.

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  2. i wish more 'good stuff' would go viral. :)

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  3. I agree. More good stuff should go viral. Everyone likes a train wreck though.

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  4. It's a crazy world we live in. To me, it seems people purposely look for reasons to think someone's been insensitive or unpolitically correct. Like, they have no lives and nothing to keep them busy. Please, there's plenty to do in this world besides picking fights. But then, we're a world full of bullies, aren't we?

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  5. Years ago Mrs. C. and I were invited to a costume party. We didn't have money to buy costumes or time to make them, so I came up with the idea of putting paper bags over our faces. with holes cut for the eyes. With a felt marker I wrote: O.J. Simpson Juror. This was back during the first sequestered trial. We won a prize back then but today this would probably be considered in bad taste.

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  6. In one sentence you used the name Ray, and some black kids were upset. It was his alter boy robe, a white mask and brand new white shoes. He walked around all morning. It revealing his identity. It was hilarious.

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  7. Too bad , a "Phantom" of all things is considered a KKK costume ? People should get education before jumping to conclusions.

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  8. There have been people doing stupid things in bad taste long before any of us was born. There will be the same long after we're gone.

    Yes, okay, someone dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim. Yes, bad taste, offensive and stupid. But they didn't actually kill anyone, did they? As a New Englander I was offended, for about 30 seconds. I've moved on.

    Like you said Joe, it's Halloween. Lighten up.

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  9. Seems like each generation has thinner and thinner skin. Before long, they're going to be skinless, all exposed nerves, no protective layer. That's what comes of the Everyone's a Winner, All Get a Trophy, It's Somebody Else's Fault brand of child-rearing.

    Back in my day, by cracky, we had skin like sandpaper. Tough as nails. Somebody hurt your feelings? Take a few seconds to snivel to Mommy, then Daddy tells you to get over it or get even. Only people who achieved something remarkable got awards. If you wanted one, you worked harder.

    We survived. There were not nearly as many lawsuits over poor judgement and perceived slights.

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  10. The Klan have pointed hat things ... a sheet with holes is a ghost.. plain and simple

    I can't see that happening at all. you sure you got that story straight.

    Here in the SOUTH ... if soeone wore a sheet with the pointed hat? they would be arrested ... back then and now.

    This made me want to google a bit about this terrorist group ... interesting ... here's an excerpt ~ from this website

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan/the-ku-klux-klan-0

    "Between four million and seven million men and women belonged to the Klan in this era. It was active in every state. It...."

    You see the latest about eliminating gay apparel and inserting fun apparel????

    where was that... on FB... had a very beautiful gay sweater and the kid was told ... fun ... it's a FUN sweater.. HAHAaaaaa

    jeeeeeeeezus

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  11. For our first Halloween in LA when I was a kid our family was fresh from Australia and we didn't know much about Halloween so my sister dressed as a witch and I was a ghost - my costume was a sheet with eye holes. All these years since I never considered that might have been taken as anything other than a ghost costume.

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  12. Much ado about nothing. If you don't like it, don't look, or turn around and walk off. Big Whoop!

    S

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  13. I'm not into Halloween,which saves me from another politically correct thing to think or care about.

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