Damp squibs and pumpkins

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits
www.sunlive.co.nz

It's that time of the year again, when we once again make effigies of some guy, tie him to a stake and set fire to him, while letting off a large amount of gunpowder-fuelled fireworks.

And that's just the protests against the new coalition government.

Now we all know the real fun starts with Guy Fawkes' night, but in order to get there we're required to bow down to one of America's favourite holidays, Halloween.

We're not really sure why we celebrate Halloween here, since it's essentially a product of American popular culture, but it's probably something to do with our ANZUS alliance and some agreement that when Americans do stuff that involves the security and peaceful co-existence of the Western world, such as carve scary faces in pumpkins and indulge in weird street-trading with confectionary, we also think it's a good idea.

Although not all American traditions have been embraced with the same alacrity here.

The whole concept of invading other countries hasn't grasped Kiwis with the same enthusiasm.

Meaningless celebrations

Here at RR headquarters we worry that, should aliens visit the planet, they will not understand the reasons, or the differences, between Guy Fawkes, Halloween, Fathers' Day, Mothers' Day, Red Nose Day, Waitangi Day and Doris Day.

To visitors from another galaxy, it could appear as if we have a load of haphazard and pointless rituals, meaningless days for celebrating historically insignificant events that many people take little appreciation of, except when it scores them a day off.

We all know that is not the case, and our treasured days of remembrance are all highly important and revered, except Election Day.

And contrary to popular belief, it's really Election Day, not Halloween, when the mindless zombies arise from the underworld and plot to take over the world and eat our brains. How else do you explain Winston Peters?

Blow stuff up

So we've taken up the responsibility to explain to our alien readership, who make up quite a few per cent of our online statistics, just how all of these celebratory days fit together.

First of all, we have Guy Fawkes' night, which celebrates something very close to our hearts: The joy of blowing the daylights out of letterboxes, frightening cats, old ladies, and generally behaving like juvenile pyromaniac idiots for an evening. Some even manage to drag this behaviour out for several months of the year and find it necessary to let off their fireworks at other inappropriate times – such as whenever other people are soundly asleep in the sanctity of their own homes.

It astounds us the law requires shooters to have a firearms licence and conform to a code of conduct, while Guy Fawkes proponents can freely blow up vast caches of gunpowder in public places and burn down entire forests at will.

Fright night

Halloween is also gaining momentum here, to the great delight of the importers of cheap Asian-manufactured fancy dress costumes and shareholders of The Warehouse, which for a week is transformed into ‘The Scarehouse'. (To The Warehouse marketing people: You can use that next year if you like). To the outsider, Halloween might appear like a senseless and expensive ritual with no real meaning in the modern world.

However, it makes some sense when you see how much enjoyment people can glean from pretending to be scared by what they know is actually other people dressed up like scary things.

I mean, you really haven't lived until you've survived the imagery of Harvey Weinstein strolling out of his bathroom in just a towel and shouting “trick or treat” at every woman within a one-mile radius.

Again, it's a day that defies logic. We try to hammer home the message to our children to never talk to strangers, don't eat gut-rot that will ruin your teeth, don't wander the streets at night, don't take candy from strangers and don't put anything your mouth if
you don't know where it's been – then one night a year, we encourage them to do exactly that.

As we approached deadline, newsroom resident Jim Bunny piped up with the following gripe:

Parting shot

Phil Twyford's told Aucklanders they'll be hit with a new fuel tax which'll contribute to their transport infrastructure.

Clogged motorways are their problem, but they want everyone else to pay for them.

But we should be worried about those threatening to flee Auckland. Guess where they'll be headed?

They'll need to double-lane Karangahake Gorge to accommodate the refugees. Close the road at the bottom of the Bombays and direct the malcontents to Hamilton.

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