Every day in the leadup to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Jihee Junn rains on your parade.
Parades are awful, ban all parades. Santa Parade, Pride Parade – there’s no such thing as a good parade. Ever watched a sitcom? Ever watched an episode of The Simpsons or Bob’s Burgers? The cast of Friends get locked out of their apartment because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Bart gets accidentally drunk during a St Patrick’s Day Parade, forcing Springfield to reinforce prohibition. Nothing good ever happens.
In essence, parades are highly visible, public pedestals for groups of people to announce that they exist, so it’s no surprise that they’ve become lightning rods for hot topic issues in New Zealand over the last few weeks. Rogue comments about employing women as Santa have marred this year’s Auckland Santa Parade indelibly, while Auckland Pride Parade’s decision to ban police officers from marching in uniform has sparked a slew of corporate sponsors to quit in a fit of indignation. Meanwhile, shit hit the fan in Taranaki when a Lions Club turned up to its local Christmas parade in blackface, and there’s trouble brewing in Nelson as well: somebody wants to march in the Santa Parade flying the Confederate flag.
I have few opinions about any of these kerfuffles (blackface is terrible, though – don’t do that). But what this menagerie of fury has really highlighted is the futility of parades full stop. I propose we put an end to all the pointless arguing and ban them all. Because a parade is like a musical, or maybe a play: it’s a stage on which people perform. But instead of staying put, it just moves from one point to another. And instead of having a narrative, it’s just a bunch of people in naff costumes walking and/or dancing at a moderate-to-fast pace.
Standing in the street pressed next to hundreds of other warm, sticky and unfamiliar bodies trying to catch a glimpse of some corporate sponsored float certainly isn’t my idea of a good time. Roads get closed off, taxes get spent, and poor kids get hauled to very crowded spaces against their own will. Even Formula 1 racing isn’t as dull as a parade – at least you get to see the cars more than once.
Read the Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar in full here
Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us hire more journalists and do more investigations. Or get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel when you contribute $80 or more over a year.
The Spinoff Daily gets you all the days' best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.