Donald Duck comics were banned from
Finland because he doesn't
An old law in Bellingham, Washington, made it illegal for a
take more than 3 steps backwards while dancing.
The Trivialization of Good and Evil
In Western culture, which has spread to much of the rest of the world,
we celebrate certain days in remembrance of major developments of the
past. It is noteworthy to look at two of these prominent
holidays—Halloween and Easter—and see that they are like bookends on
the spectrum of the cultural response to good and evil. And almost right
in the middle are Christmas, a celebration at the end of the year, and
New Years Day, a celebration of the beginning of the year, a celebration
that goes back to the celebration of a new cosmic or world age.
Halloween, literally "All Hallows Evening" or "Holy Evening",
sometimes called "fright night" is currently the United States' second most
popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating. These decorations
run along the lines of witches,
spiders, mummies, zombies, and vampires,
tombstones and gargoyles, all of which are associated with evil, peril,
and death. It is often considered to be the most fun holiday,
being celebrated with
parties and balls, special candy, food and drink, and special games and other
party activities such as
bobbing for apples. Costume parties are popular, sometimes with
elaborate costumes and masks, sometimes of macabre grotesquery. It is generally
thought of as a night of revelry, with some of the very worst of human behavior implied
by the extortion
for treats during "trick or treat" visits, and the vandalism.
By some it is seen as an excuse to "let loose" and to run wild.
Because of all this it is the time of greatest demand for police and emergency
In some cultures Halloween is
focused on the return of the dead, and observances make supplication to
the good and evil spirits. Ultimately, Halloween as a holiday harks back to the
same terrible catastrophe that inaugurated the Jewish Passover,
All Saints Day,
and Day of the Dead. The latter description is
self-explanatory, while the former relates to the idiea of the survivors
being the righteous or "saints".
The Easter holiday as observed in the West is now a
Christianized festival and holiday celebrating the
resurrection of Jesus Christ
on the third day after
his crucifixion at
Calvary. Unlike Halloween, the spirit cultivated at the Easter holiday
is more one of sober reflections than revelry; it is focused on
ostensibly good and
wholesome things, and it is at least
superficially pointed toward the beginning of life rather than death.
Like Halloween, the roots of the holiday go back to the
same development that spawned the Passover, and in some cultures the
word for the holiday reflects the derivation from the Passover.
Etymologically, the word has its original roots in "Ishtar", the star of
Venus. This is reflected in the connection of the Easter holiday to Eos,
the goddess of dawn, Venus, the goddess of heaven, and various fertility
goddesses associated with the planet Venus.
Similar to Halloween, the original holiday Easter was
celebrated with special activities, some of which reflect the goddess of
fertility theme. Of course, hunting for brightly colored eggs hidden by the Easter bunny
is one of these.
The bottom line is that in our celebration of these two
holidays we indulge in the trivialization of both good and evil. For Halloween we do it by focusing
on unreal, exaggerated, or fictional evils—ghostly dead souls returning, witches, devils, demons and evil spirits, ghouls,
zombies, etc., all of which have nothing to do with the REAL evil
experienced under the human condition. And for Easter we do it by
a more somber focus on superficial or temporary surface virtue—cleaning up and
dressing up in our finest clothing, going to a church service, paying
our once or twice a year respects to Christ, thinking
good thoughts about God's sacrifice, and praying, all of which have
nothing to do with real virtue or the real issues that face us under the
Noteworthy is that most people neither know nor care
about the cause or instigation of these holidays and their original
meaning. Of course, one common thing these holidays share is candy, lot's
of candy! What fun we can have with a sugar high while we trivialize good
and evil in our state of denial!