cultural criticism | photography | place & space

May Day! May Day!

I always loved attending the annual May Day parade and festival in South Minneapolis. The giant puppets are awesome; the event is dramatic, colorful, and festive; and it appealed to my latent pagan heartbeat. More than this, it celebrates spring. The importance of this idea in Minnesota should be clear to you when you realize that spring is being celebrated in May!

Well spring is around the corner, but this year I seriously doubt that I will be attending the May Day parade. You see, my paradigm is undergoing radical clarification. This is important because more than anything stated above, May Day is political - very political. Last year, I also learned how fundamentally hypocritical many of the themes presented there are. A few points that illustrate this are:

  • Women marching to protest the slaughter of children in third world countries due to capitalism, war, and disease juxtaposed with a militant feminism which has promoted the slaughter of some 40 million children in America since 1973 and exports this to third world countries by way of the United Nations.
  • Promoting peace and tolerance while at the same time singling out specific groups and individuals for demonization, revile, and hatred.
  • Decrying hate crimes while parading Catholic bishops in effigy as targets to hate and ridicule.
  • Promoting a more powerful United Nations as a means of increasing freedom, without explaining how surrendering more control to additional layers of bureaucracy on a global level will ever ensure freedom to individuals.
  • Demonizing the media as a global propaganda machine while calling for global mass education programs. I guess that one man's propaganda is another man's education.

Given current world events, I can only surmise the impending spin at May Day 2003, and I am certain that it will be ever so more vulgar. Still I am curious, and a non-participatory attendance may be possible if I dust off and utilize my training as an anthropologist - if only for the puppets.

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