Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
There are pumpkinhead references going back to their Holy Book, which, in the Abu Ibn Rex Humbard translation I’m using here, describes an “orange avenger … [with] triangle eyes and crooked grin.”
Charles Shultz knew the old Levantine myth and brazenly conflated Jacko Piefruit ( G.P.’s original name in Bedouin) with Santa Claus in order to confuse Christian children and lead them astray. He has succeeded with two entire generations of us so far — to the point that Col. Oliver North and other well-known Fox homeland security experts now consider it inevitable that all of us in Christendom will blow ourselves and each other up, probably in 2012, when all the Mayan hell is supposed to break loose in addition.
In the Shultz/Van Pelt version, G.P. rises from the pumpkin patch just before midnight on Halloween to bring trick-or-treat goodies to children all over the world. Except of course those children with cholera in Haiti. What good would Tootsie Rolls and bite-size Baby Ruths do them? It would be almost like taunting. And as Bro. Pat Robertson has pointed out, those children aren’t eligible for holiday treats, either Halloween or Christmas, because of their elders’ dalliance 200 years ago with voodoo. Or maybe their dalliance with France, I can’t remember exactly. If it sucks, France is involved one way or another, you can be sure of that.
Anyhow, this Great Pumpkin tale might seem just another heathen salvo in the liberal War on Christmas, but I sense something more sinister. Not John Carpenter sinister, but maybe Franklin Graham or Bill O’Horse’s-ass sinister. You know, stupid sinister. Or just stupid. Stupid rules just now, whether it’s sinister or not.
The stupid faux sinister position is that the Great Pumpkin tale doesn’t so much pull down and desanctify Santa Claus and therefore Christmas and therefore Christianity as it does supplant the symbolic embodiment of the Christmas Spirit with a Muslim-rooted imposter. So in the subconsci of the little children, Jesus doesn’t get the credit for all those stocking gifts and chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Mohammed does. Sponsor credit doesn’t go to Coca-Cola and Budweiser; it goes to what? Goat-cheese? And instead of the real God being at the back of it all, Allah is. So they’re snatching our best-ever holiday youth-brainwashing opportunity right from under our noses, like a Mission Impossible stunt. Our own youth!
They’re always up to this kind of devilment, which is why there had to be Crusades.
There’s more evidence — well, not really evidence, except in the stupid faux sinister view, which is not very evidentiarily discriminating, which is to say, willing to accept just about anything that anybody says or has ever said or is alleged to have said, as evidence, as long as it conforms to the operative predetermined balderdash premise — of this Muslim terrorist/Halloween connection with each layer of the onion that you peel off. Harry Potter is bound to figure into it somehow.
I was just thinking of the fine old Halloween-mischief tradition of tumping over outhouses, as another example. The Muslim tie-in there is a subtle one. Not much sophisticated artistic festoonery went into the carpentry of your classic outhouse, but here in the Southland your higher-class privy usually had a crescent moon cut into the door. This was mainly an identification device, meant to save strangers the rude awakening, sometimes traumatic, of entering the structure unimpelled, thinking it might be the fowl coop or the smokehouse. You didn’t want to go in there if you didn’t have to.
We meant no offense with our outhouse crescents, but our resident Muslims – what few there were – took it nonetheless. What would our reaction have been, they asked, if they’d taken to cutting crosses into their outhouse doors, presuming that some of them somewhere even had outhouses? They had a point, though some of their hotheads stretched the point by proposing stuffing their carved outhouse-door crosses with miniature green cruciform Gumbys, just to teach us a lesson. In the end, though, they only licensed some of their toughs to go out and tump Dixie outhouses in protest, and by coincidence their biggest night of outhouse tumping was one new-moon Halloween around the end of the 19th Century.
Our second favorite Halloween stunt in this bailiwick — setting fire to a paper bag filled with excrement and throwing it onto an arthritic geezer’s porch — I can’t rightly attribute to the Muslims. Glenn Beck probably can — probably has — but I can’t. The bona fide terrorist, seeing no point in such juvenile delinquency, would simply behead the geezer, blow him up, blow his own self up, and blow up all the black cats, window soapers, masked urchins, and lurking getcha goblins, as a shortcut to making time with the 40 hereafter sporting gals. Or not, depending on commitment.
Not your regular old Halloween column, you have to give it that.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.