Dec 1, Pocahontas, mon amour GASP

This is a confession and a plea for attenuating circumstances surrounding the crime of political incorrectness and cultural appropriation. Given the riot over Halloween costumes at Yale, I will in the best Marxist tradition of autocritique, admit that I once dressed up as a pilgrim when the weighty issue of Halloween was considered a minor but interesting exercise in developing a child’s imagination. The cultural crime occurred when I was 8 over Thanksgiving, and the Nuremburg black masses of the era had me and my class trot out on stage wearing Johnnie Pilgrim costumes or – dare I even mention it – crowned in Iroquois glory. And, above was another glory, named “Old” smiling down on us on the stage. Equal number of pilgrims, equal number of Native Americans with one different from all the others because she had a single feather strapped into a single headband instead of the full roosterish exuberance of Woolworthian conceptualization. Still, she (it was never me, alas) with the one single feather – let’s make it a virginal white– held the power of life and death over a Johnnie Pilgrim chief captured by the Iroquois. The stage lights dimmed, the teacher backstage hit the tape recorder button disgorging the soft beating of death drums, and it was as if a sign of “GASP” was lowered so that the parents in the auditorium could GASP and GASP they very audibly did. Lo and behold! We pilgrims beat our brow. Who will save our handsome Johnnie Smith from being roasted now? Floodlight splashed on White Feather and Johnnie tied, gagged and sprawled on the floor wiggled and writhed next to a large black paper carton pot surrounded on left and on right by paper carton flames. GASP again, Big Chief crowned and war painted raised the knife, but White Feather suddenly threw herself between the knife (paper carton, rest assured) and her father Big Chief, and Love saved all. GASP again. And think oh righteous minded millenial… isn’t imitation the sincerest form of admiration?1

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