So after all the planning, practicing, competition, jumping and jamming, Carnival 55 is history, and it’s back to business as usual.
It remains to be seen what we’ll take from the season. If nothing else, if we don’t recognise the teachable moments and capitalise on them, then we’re just rolling along, doomed to tackling the same issues repeatedly.
Take, for instance, that controversial song. I, for one, think the attempt to discuss the matter was useful. But what I also think is that we joined the discussion at the wrong point. It never ceases to amaze me the irony of Antiguan life: at once upholding complicity and punitive measures.
There seemed to have been a single focus on the controversy – censorship. Sure, we heard censorship why, but not how we had come to this point.
The song provided the opportunity for advocacy on several fronts and the jump-off point was perfect in this imperfect world. I’m not sure we capitalised on that, though. Heck, I’m not even sure we fully embraced the moment for what it was.
Collectively, we failed to recognise our power and accept responsibility for our lives. Don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about all the folks who made this the problem of the politicians.
Too many radio show callers (at least too many for my comfort) wanted to know why they hadn’t heard from the minister of this, and what was the opinion of the minister of that. One guy who apparently found his conscience since the days of the child sex ring, declared the matter was for the politicians to deal with.
Really? No wonder there is a big concern about our kids’ ability to think critically, solve problems and exercise basic common sense. If there isn’t a road map or it isn’t a matter of technology, they are lost in the woods. And now we know why.
There was very little mention these past few days of people power: the lobby on the media outlets and advertisers, a direct petition to the Carnival Development Committee, nothing.
By the way, did anybody notice how songs that couldn’t get airplay on OBSERVER were played incessantly on ZDK?
Anyway, on Friday night, my third grader asked me why there was so much discussion on the song. I didn’t even know he was cued into the debate. As it turns out, he and his dad had been listening on the way to and from camp. So I asked him his take. I wanted to see what he understood from the song, based on both the tune and the discussion. His first observation was very alpha male: “suppose it was her husband and she had locked him out of his own house?”
Well, as my pal Sam said, that was a good time to tell him that even if you’re married and this is the house that Jack built, if wifey puts the chain on the locks, bunk on someone’s couch until there can be a lawful resolution.
Meantime, what we need is a Broadcast Commission, with a clearly defined mandate, that would regulate how we treat creative expression in public spaces. The last thing we need is a knee-jerk reaction or some subjective policy. Because the next thing we’ll know is that we’ll be battening down the back door today and bawling murder about the strictures tomorrow.
Between now and then, we have to be careful about giving legs and new life to the very things we’re seeking to contain. That, after all, is the essence of counter culture.
But speaking of banning song, is it just me, or were the calypsos better, more relevant and more … everything back when certain songs and certain artistes couldn’t get airplay? Maybe we are on to something after all.
But for real, my biggest grouse with “that” song was that it was played at Children’s Carnival. But who’s surprised? As I told a colleague pre event, if “they” could play the song about “whole mouth over the hole” a few years back at the same venue, we should brace ourselves.
Speaking of Children’s Carnival, was I the only one baffled by the fact the competitors in the “majorettes” category had nary a baton to twirl? Where was I when majorette and cheerleader became synonymous? Because there were pom-poms aplenty, but no skillful baton action.
Maybe I’m just showing my age with that, and this final tidbit. Why is it that attractions like inflatable super slides, trampolines and bouncy castles are posing unfair competition for the mas’ playing youngsters? There they are crossing the stage with just their parents watching. Their peers? Too busy with the so-called rides. I know we tend to borrow from the north, but the last thing we want is to make our Carnival into theirs.
Word to the wise is sufficient. Just ask Generation Next what Children’s Carnival means to them if you don’t believe me.