Emily Writes is mad as hell and not going to take it (fireworks) any more.
Guy Fawkes Night sucks. This is a fact.
As the giant hypocrite that I am, despite last week encouraging people to just not take part in Halloween if they don’t like it, I’m going to go full hog today and say we should ban Guy Fawkes so nobody can do it, even though I choose to just not do it.
Welcome to the world of having opinions. I have never been a fan of Guy Fawkes (even as a kid) because I have always had pets. There aren’t any animals that like fireworks. Having children only made me hate fireworks even more – especially having children who wake if you cough or just exist in the same room as them, or a room near them. Now that I feel like an old woman who is exhausted by almost everything, I loathe Guy Fawkes with the brilliance and firepower of a council-funded fireworks display. And here are all of my reasons why, in no particular order, because IMO they are all great reasons.
Guy Fawkes is stupid
So Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Lords. And we are meant to celebrate the fact that the King James I survived this attempt. Now, I was drunk through most of high school history so all I know about that king is that he was a drunk who had no teeth. But sure, let’s celebrate him. There’s no logical reason why we should have Guy Fawkes in New Zealand. If we were celebrating Matariki I’d be more OK with it (though still not keen on private displays) but the fact that it’s such an absolutely pointless thing is what shits me so much. We don’t even do the thing you’re meant to do – which is set “Guys” on fire. Which is weird. But still. We don’t even do the thing you’re meant to do to celebrate this dumb thing.
Fireworks are terrifying at best and dangerous at worst for animals
Speak to any veterinarian about fireworks and they’ll be able to tell you a gruesome story about animal deaths. But you know, as long as you like your stupid fireworks. My dog (RIP Otis) spent half his life terrified of fireworks. When he finally went deaf it was a blessing. He once shat himself in fear and my husband and I had to put him in the bath with calming music on to try to stop him passing out. That is not my idea of a good night.
We have no idea what our greyhound will be like this year. We spend a significant amount of time trying to keep our cat inside because so many animals are purposely injured by fireworks if they’re caught out and about. Horses maim themselves on fences, dogs run through dog doors and get impaled, cats have fireworks shot at them. One year we found the remnants of a burnt birds nest. People are horrible to animals every day of the year but Guy Fawkes just emboldens these jerks.
Guy Fawkes attracts morons
Every swinging dick with a disposable income loves fireworks. It’s a giant compensation for having a small wang for them. Look at my mighty fireworks! Look I am a big man with big bang! There’s direct correlation between being a wanker and doing huge fireworks displays in your backyard that upset everyone around you.
Fireworks are terrifying for children
We always had a rule in our house: “You wake it, you take it.” If you wake the baby after we have spent two hours getting it to sleep, you have to deal with it. Fireworks Night is always the worst night if you have non-sleeping kids. Up until last year my oldest was terrified. He now likes to watch the main displays or watch other fireworks out the window. We did “non-bang” fireworks with friends the one year we didn’t have a pet (yes, I know I’m a hypocrite). But the youngest is in that awkward age where all loud noises are terrifying. For kids with sensory issues or ASD it’s a horrendous night. When loud noises physically hurt your brain – spending up to two weeks hearing sudden loud bangs all through the night is just awful. It’s cruel.
Fireworks are bad for the environment
Plastic shit everywhere, etc.
There’s other stuff we could do instead that is better
Australian DJ and producer Flume was born on 5 November. We could all drop some Es and get fucked up while listening to shit music as an alternative to fireworks? Actor and actual witch goddess Tilda Swinton celebrates her birthday 5 November we could just spend the night being aggressively attractive in her honour. Businesswoman and philanthropist Kris Jenner has her birthday on the same day – we could have as many children as possible and market them furiously until we have so much money we can have a bathroom made of mirrors.
In 1872, on November 5, in defiance of the law, suffragist Susan B Anthony voted for the first time, and was later fined $100. Instead of celebrating Guy Fawkes we could riot in the streets over how far we still have to go for women’s equality.
All of these ideas are better than having fireworks.
Fireworks exclude people because they cost so much damn money
Even if I wanted fireworks, I can’t afford them. Which means I have two weeks of being told I’m the worst mother in the world because I won’t buy fireworks. I can’t tell them fireworks are fucking stupid because then they’ll go to kindy and tell the other kids fireworks is fucking stupid. So I explain about how we have a dog and it’s not fair on him. Heaps of families feel ridiculous pressure to get fireworks, particularly when there’s not a public display.
While I do like that there’s a Matariki Fireworks display in Wellington now instead of a Guy Fawkes Display, it does mean more pressure is put on parents to provide fireworks at home. I mean we are adults, so we can say no – and we will. But it does suck for kids to feel like they’re the only family who doesn’t get to have fireworks. Especially when your neighbour has $600 worth and you’re just sitting inside listening to it.
I am old and they’re noisy and I don’t like them
I just don’t. And I know grinches are the worst – I can’t stand miserable Christmas assholes who bleat about how much they hate secret santa, or Halloween punishers who spend all their time bitching about how kids shouldn’t ask for free food (they’re getting lollies not plates of poutine FFS just admit you don’t like kids having fun). And yet, and yet – here I am, embracing the grumpy old woman I am inside.
I want kids to have fun, think we should always create opportunities to have fun, but I can’t reconcile that with how destructive and harmful Guy Fawkes is, especially to animals. So there you go, hypocrite of the year. Ban it! And get off my lawn.
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The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.