Monday, March 21, 2011

Costume notes

Quick jumble of unrelated thoughts about Purim costumes...
  1. The costume of the year was Spiderman in a neck brace. Last year, it was Tiger Woods with a golf club broken over his head. 
  2. I saw too many people in black-face this year. Is that racist? I'm not sure, and can argue it both ways.
  3. What about going ghetto-fab? Even if you're not in black-face is it racist to wear do-rags, bling, and fake gold teeth? Such portrayals invoke stereotypical images of black people, don't they? Would we accept it if a black person dressed like a hasid for Halloween? Why not? 
  4. You can say the same about corn-seed costumes. Plenty of people dress like rednecks, with mullet wigs and straw hats. Is is appropriate to suggest that poor white people are deserving of ridicule? Again, I can argue the point both ways.
  5. Its not uncommon to see M.O people dress up like Hasidim. What, if anything, should we make of that? Most of these depictions are intended as mockery, I think, though a myth persists in some Hasidic circles that M.Os who dress like Hasidim have a secret wish to actually be Hasidim. This sort of amateur analysis crumbles immediately on examination and says more about the speaker's insecurity then it does about the person who is wearing the costume. Still, if its discriminatory for a white person to wear black face, why isn't it discriminatory for an M.O Jew to wear a shtriemel and parade around like a buffoon?

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