April 1, 2015
April Fool’s Day lore is that it came into being as a way of mocking those who celebrated the new designation of January 1 as the official start of the New Year, but there are tales of days set aside for days of mischief and “hilarity” dedicated to the goddess Hilaria in Roman times, as well. Modern explanations for the holiday is that it served as a kind of safety valve that eased the general stress of life in a society that had rigid class structures. On those given days, slaves, for example, could mock and deceive their masters without penalty. It was probably very useful, in those days, but I always thought the day, as currently practiced, idiotic. My sense of humor is a little above The Three Stooges level.
I’m sure that it is statements like that which cause my reputation, among many, as a snob. It is a reputation with which I won’t disagree. I am all for ‘inclusion’, but one must have personal standards. If you spit on the floor, pick your nose in public, or engage in any other social faux pas I consider inappropriate, you’ll have to be included elsewhere than my company. You have every right to BE, of course, except on my guest list.
I’m not good at tolerating people I consider idiots, either (Tea Party and Creationists take note). You’re entitled to your ideas, but you are not entitled to my respect for them. This is not to say that I don’t tolerate any personal expression of political or religious ideas, than my own, but I will not be silent about my own. We can, civilly, disagree, but if you preach to me, I’ll preach back.
I grew up in a time of great social repression, when you were considered unpatriotic if you held political and/or religious ideas that were different from the majority. People’s lives were ruined because they were of a different stripe of social behavior, or owned a different idea. Alan Turning, the Nazi code breaker, vilified and chemically castrated because he was homosexual, and denied the right to work at job in which he excelled, is an extreme example of a life being destroyed by mob mentality, but there were many more, less well-known.
In America, we had a Congressional committee, an arm of the Conservative mob, investigating un-American activities that destroyed the lives and right to work of many, including American artists, particularly those artists whose public face was a necessary part of their art. Writers could write under other names (at less their market value), but performers like Paul Robson, Sam Jaffe, Lee Grant and Larry Parks among others, had careers and marriages and lives destroyed because they supported liberal ideas. Ronald Reagan, then head of the Screen Actors Guild, served as stoolie to the committee. Advocating social change, or foreign policy criticism, in the Conservative agenda, was un-American.
All that said, I know I fit the criteria of idiot, or possess other social liability in other eyes. Your loss and nobody’s perfect! April Fool!