Missing Mardi Gras

Last night, we spent the evening helping a friend of ours celebrate the finalization of her divorce, and we have the subsequent headaches to prove it. While we were at this fine unnamed establishment, the announcer on the radio mentioned that at some live event this coming Tuesday, they would be celebrating both Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, which I found quite amusing, to say the least.

Of the various religious holidays on offer during the year, Mardi Gras is the only one I really have an affinity for, mostly because I wholeheartedly approve of the attitude behind it. For those who don't know, the idea behind Mardi Gras is that it's the last day of debauchery before you have to straighten up and be good for the 40 days of Lent. Of course, for a debauched atheist like me, Lent is just the next 40 days on the calendar, so I'm just into Mardi Gras because it's a bigger party than usual.

But there's something heartening about the fact that, at least at some point in the Church's history, the powers-that-were recognized that it was, well, unnatural to deny oneself the pleasures of life, and that if one were to do that for forty days, well, then one should spend at least the first seven in recovery from the bodacious party you had going into it. If repentance will take 40 days, might as well have a whole lot to repent for, no?

There are two groups who have ruined a lot of what I love about Mardi Gras in recent years, and since I won't be anywhere near New Orleans for it this year, I'm going to vent a little about them. The first is the Girls Gone Wild crowd and everyone like them. Believe it or not, Mardi Gras wasn't always a get-your-grope-on fratboy festival. Yeah, there was nudity, and yeah, there was a chance that you might get to see some public sex acts when you hit an alley or two, but it was nothing like what is has become. It was basically a chance for a lot of repressed people--generally because they were putting on a show for the folks back home--to get out and get a little dirty for once. And the GGW crew (along with all their copycats) really changed the feel by removing the consequence-free atmosphere from the party. So those guys can go to hell.

But the other group is even worse--they're the people who want to make Mardi Gras a family-friendly occasion, who want to make it a child-safe environment. Sorry, but if you're one of these people, then you need to read that section on the purpose of Mardi Gras again, and then find a babysitter for your little rugrats, because kids have already gotten their dirty little fingers on every other damned holiday, and there's no way they're ruining this one for me. Mardi Gras is supposed to be about public drunkenness, and nudity (for all sexes), and licentiousness. It's about doing stuff that makes you feel like you ought to repent for forty days, dammit, and you can't do that sort of stuff around kids.

Mardi Gras is next week, and while I may be in Florida, I'm going to be doing my best to make sure that the New Orleans spirit is alive and well down here. If you have kids, best lock them in their rooms, because it's liable to get a little ugly. Laissez les bon temps roulez, y'all.

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