Happy Hallow Day and the Case of Cultural Appropriation.

I love homestar Runner.  And sometimes, when you love something, you need to call it to task.

Happy Hallow-day, just generally isn’t the high point in their Halloween oeuvre.  I think as an audience, we’re as disappointed by the day-timiness as the characters are. And also, there are minimal easter eggs in the original flash version.  Watch below

I take problem with the ending.  After all episode trying to find the missing Halloween night, they succeed only to be disrupted by the coming of morning.  Feeling slightly defeated, the characters give us a consolation prize, shouting “happy day of the dead!”

Dia De Los Muertos is awesome.  It’s hardly a consolation prize.  I’m very afraid that in white America, Dia De Los Muertos is seen as a kinda quirky Mexican back-up Halloween.  And indeed, there are a lot of skulls, and sweets.

But whereas Halloween, as celebrated now by white America,[1] is a celebration of the scary and macabre for the sake of whimsy, Dia De Los Muertos lays claims to much more serious underpinnings beneath the garish ofrendas y calavaras de azúcar.  Dia De Los Muertos has become the catch all phrase for a series of festivals extending from 31 de Octubre a 2 de Noviembre, but technically Dia De Los Muertos isn’t even the day after Halloween.  It’s the 2nd.  November first is actually El Dia de los Inocentes, in which dead children are memorialized.  So that’s awkward for the Brothers Chap.

calaveras de azucar

Dia De Los Muertos proper is una celabracíon, but it’s still centered around dead relatives.  While ya’ll white folks are watching Zombie movies in anticipation of the return of the dead, dead Mexicans are in fact returning, to be loved and celebrated by the loved ones while they eat some pan dulce.

It comes down to issue of cultural appropriation.  And while Strong Bad does wear a luchador mask, we really have no other reason to believe that any of the residents of Free Country, USA are Mexicano o Mexicana. Celebrating with other cultures can be a fantastic unifying force, it should be played to the most sensitive common denominator, with all its deep significance kept firmly in place.

Celebrating Day of the Dead as a back up, while ignoring the people of the culture it is from, that’s just low.

[1] I’m extremely disinterested in the history of All Hallow’s Eve and Samhain in this context.


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