Archive for February, 2009

Carnival by remote

In Port of Spain this Wednesday morning, on the way to work — or to church for the ritual signature of ashes — there is this hung-over, morning-after feeling, and though the drums are silent you can still imagine, as if imprinted on the air itself, the sounds of revelry that, for these past weeks, have so seduced so many.

And here, in the White Mountains of Arizona unreal is the feeling of experiencing our Trinidad Carnival from so far away, through a stream of pictures emailed by Dexter to my Flickr photostream, almost in real time, inevitably creating an impression of Carnival sanitized, clinical almost, jpegged and modulated and understandably devoid of the din and the sun and the sweat and that galvanizing sense of sweet danger that seem, always, to be hovering thrillingly just round the corner.

Those welcome pictures gave me a different fix on the celebration, for sure. I had never gone to one of those competitions for children, for instance: Kiddies’ Carnival shows, and his pictures paraded toddlers and slightly older kids, fully togged-out in this initiation into the Carnival cycle.

Many of them, thus introduced, will continue, as they grow older, to be mini kings and queens and potentates until they graduate, as most of them will, into grown-up bands. Eventually, they will also introduce their own children into the mystique of Mas’.

But the pictures triggered memories; although, towards the end, one didn’t venture into town to be part of the giddy confusion, but preferred to view it all from the comfort in front the TV.

Today many will find reasons to eschew work and will head, instead, for Maracas and Mayaro, to let sun and sea steam off much of the Carnival spirit, and others will return from hideouts “down the islands.” More stubborn types will continue to hang out in Barbados, stretching their interlude for the week, before returning to a sobered Trinidad.

Th last time Janice and I chipped behind a band was years ago, resplendently daubed in blue, thanks to a coat of Vaseline and Keen’s Oxford Blue, and laughingly portraying Doom and Gloom.

We would certainly have been more appropriately accoutered for this year, what with the Trinidad government having to step in to bail out hitherto successful business undertakings.

But, even today, in th blue mood now prevailing at home, it would have been something to be nestled in the throng, chipping the light fntastic that is our Carnival.


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The emperor’s clothes

Stultifiers are after Obama’s hide because he left his jacket at home and didn’t bring it to the office. He is, the saying goes, “disrespecting the Oval Office” by turning up to work without a jacket.

It would seem that, clad in a jacket, a wearer might do a number of things and, thus girded, is rendered immune from any act the unthinking might consider disrespectful.

He might, for instance, embrace the fudged facts and declare war on a country that did nothing to the U.S. But, by wearing a jacket, he is absolved from any taint of disrespect for the office or country or, for that matter, civilized behavior.

He might be a party¬† to “enhanced interrogation,” decline to vote for education for military personnel, not vote for additional health care for children, not agree that women should get equal pay for equal work, fiddle with the Constitution without so much as a by your leave from his charges — he might pull any of these stunts but, protected by his talismanic jacket, be not seen as disrespecting the Oval Office.

But it could just be that, even enrobed in his jacket, the emperor was, in the end, basically wearing no clothes.

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