Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bottom rail on top

This is an op-ed by C.W. Cannon that ran in the T-P a few years ago during the minor controversy over whether the shoebox art Krewe of 'titRex was infringing on the Rex organization's trademark.  Cannon's article appealed to the spirit of parody via "social inversion" which lies at the heart of Carnival culture in the first place.

Anyway here is a snippet.
The complication is that it's not simply "culture" we're talking about here, but "Carnival culture," a far more problematic concept.

Because the cultural concept of Carnival is to turn against, invert, or critique the broader culture in which it is enveloped. The bottom rail on top, the village fool in burlap (or blue tarp) finery.

The issue of more general cultural authenticity aside, the Zulu King in his lard-can crown was always more carnivalistically authentic than Comus, Rex, et al, in their faux jewels.

The same distinction goes for humble shoebox floats, drawn by people (the practice of the toddling 'Tit Rex krewe), versus tractor-pulled ones with people paying big bucks for the ticket.
I know last week some of the major parading organizations began making announcements about the 2015 Carnival season; celebrity guests and whatnot.  But all of that is still a long way away from now. 

The reason I bring this up, though, is only to point out that this situation right here..

.. is not an "embarrassment" as, the stupid national sports media will relentlessly put it, but is instead as true a cause for celebration as one is likely to find in New Orleans.

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