Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Seasonal Tug-o-War

In the building that houses the State Theater, the Palomino, and Rock Bottom Brewery, this is going on.

My camera wasn't operable when it was just a row of empty planters resting on a tiered platform of painted black wood. The tiers tend to slope slightly forward, I noted, so I hope no disaster happens involving an avalanche of poinsettias.

And though my camera's resolution is super-crappy right now, on account of my tiny SD card (I can store 50 crappy photos or eight decent shots), I think this picture turned out okay. It's kind of expressive, inadvertently.

Spellcheck informs me I started to spell "inadvertantly" wrong, which means I've been misspelling it for several years. I'm grateful to learn of my errors, but I hate to think I've been embarrassing myself for several years.

This kind of seasonal thing, I think is awesome. I like flowers and plants and tiny white lights. Those are very nice-looking and frequently tasteful--I'm not going to go so far as to suggest it's hard to screw up plants and lights, because empirical study shows me this is in no way an accurate claim. But plants and lights are also a good foundation for attractive, heart-warming decorations, and they shouldn't be shunned just because of a few bad apples.

On the other hand, observe the picture below. It would be one thing if this were a regular group of carolers. And there is, in fact, an organization in the Twin Cities dedicated to Victorian recreation of carolers, down to the stitching in their costumes, and I also think this is an awesome thing. Surprising? Yeah, I surprise myself sometimes, but I do think this group is admirable.

The kids below are not associated with this group. Study their expressions: most of them don't even want to be associated with each other. This ragtag grab-bag of resentment, sullenness, and awkwardness was compelled to sing carols in front of Macy's at the Mall of America for no reason nobler than promoting Jim Carrey's animated A Christmas Carol movie. That's it, just shoddy marketing. Had these kids even practiced with each other before? I'm guessing not, based on how off-balance their sound was. Things like this detract from, not contribute to, the spirit of the season for me.

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