Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 11.1

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. The Halloween article interested me at first, but it turned out to be quite disappointing. In short I don’t buy any of the explanations offered.
    1 The pink map shows Australia as a pink country, where candy purchase peaks in October, so the whole premise is perhaps questionable.
    2 I am very much a post Vietnam Smash US Imperialist, but that never stopped me going to a good Halloween party when offered an invitation. I don’t think that factor stops many of us from enthusiastically enjoying other aspects of US culture either. (That’s why we all say “like” every second word – cos we all watched “Clueless”.)
    3 In Singapore in the early sixties, I do not recall Halloween being a big thing at all, so I question that factoid as well.
    4 If anybody thinks cultural ties with England stopped or reduced in any way post Federation in 1900, they are dreaming. We were all proudly British Empire even into the Fifties and Sixties, and England was the major cultural influence.
    5 Leaning towards the US started with the fall of Singapore in 1941 and the Battle of the Coral Sea, when America saved our ass. (With, as I have said before, a little bit of help from, like, pretty much the whole rest of the world. But we remain grateful.).
    Enthusiasm for the US as the great beacon of freedom probably peaked with Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, followed by our entry into the Vietnam war when it really was “All the Way with LBJ”. I was there in Canberra when LBJ landed and the crowd was even more enthusiastic than for a royal visit. How things did change over the next 5 years.
    6 But still, you would think that a bit of American culture might have leaked back home with returning soldiers from that very alliance. Not so. The major cultural changes in the seventies came from the post WW2 migrants from Europe, particularly the Greeks and Italians, and after that from Vietnamese and other Asians.
    7 If Halloween was such a big thing with the Irish, we had a huge influx of Irish immigrants way back in the 19th century, just like the US. You would think Halloween might have come with them. Not so.
    8 I can report that Halloween was pretty much off the radar in Oz until perhaps the 80s or 90s when a few kids stated Trick or Treating and there were a few Halloween parties – gradually increasing until today, but slowly.
    9 My theory about lack of Halloween observance is that Xmas is such a huge big deal here that nothing else has any chance to gain a major toehold in the months from November until about February.
    So yeah, big wall of text, thanks Criticaldragon for a thought provoking link!

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