Friday, February 16, 2007

The Mardi Gras Madness Begins

Mardi Gras in Louisiana is a special time. It is 'special' in a sense of a deeply, magically and mysteriously different time. One of the subtle sub-themes of Mardi Gras is the theme of illusion and reversal. It is OK to make stuff up and act it out like it is real. It is fine to ask the richest person in town to beg like a pauper. This is Mardi Gras.

A wise man I know has a whole bunch of papers and talks about the logical reversals that characterise traditional Mardi Gras. However, this is a set of traditions that can be taken too far. Descartes, in his first Meditation remarks,

"But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapours as to cause them pertinaciously to assert that they are monarchs when they are in the greatest poverty; or clothed [in gold] and purple when destitute of any covering; or that their head is made of clay, their body of glass, or that they are gourds? I should certainly be not less insane than they, were I to regulate my procedure according to examples so extravagant."

Two of the colors of Mardi Gras are gold and purples. The third color is green. Some folks, in their desire to join in the spirit of the time, will invent any kind of story, to be in the Mardi Gras spirit. However, when this happens on blogs, which exist outside the world of Les Mardi Gras, then this just amounts to falsification, illusion and an indulgence in wishful thinking. You cannot really have Mardi Gras in Brooklyn. Les Fou Follets cannot survive that far North. The falsehoods of true Mardi Gras are a prescribed illusion. They all end on Ash Wednesday. However, presenting falsehood in the blog world, is not so prescribed.

So, I will only be an occasional visitor to the blog world until Mardi Gras is done. My world will be full of pageants, parades and masques. I know these for what they really are. The blog world does not (or should not) co-mingle with this world, or at least should only co-mingle with the lightest of touch. The blog world is a static space that records what is written and lacks the embodiment of the festival. The great danger arises when people cannot correctly distinguish, or delineate the two domains.

At Mardi Gras, wish fulfillment is paramount, even if the wish itself is a sham. (Who really needs another string of plastic beads?). However, like the people who believe they have heads of clay, or who think that they are gourds, there can be too much wish fulfillment, too much illusion. I believe in keeping these worlds appropriately separated. Mardi Gras only happens in certain, special places. That is where it must stay. In the blog world, beware the illusionists. With such illusions, although the intent may be blameless, the effects can be pernicious and mislead.

So I will cry to the Indians, who are my neighbours and friends, "Où est le capitaine ? Où peut je laisser le bon roulement de temps?", then I will eat Gumbo with Creoles on Mardi Gras Day. "C'est une bonne manière de passer un bon temps."

The CP


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