Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me... (What Carnival is REALLY About)
A very peeved letter writer to one of the daily newspapers said indignantly that she paid 'good money' to prance on the savannah stage and like many of her fellow masqueraders in the mas band Tribe she was outraged, enraged and upset at being denied that singular highlight of the carnival. Accepted as THE place to 'get on bad' and to wave to those in the stands and watching on television at home, the savannah stage became famous due to the all day television broadcast of the Parade of the Bands and had become a fixture of the carnival to many; for those who could not be there in person for one reason or another, the pleasure of watching the different bands portray their mas was quite the treat and one that was looked forward to with eager anticipation. Now no longer the spectacle of creativity and artistic expression it used to be, the carnival itself as been reduced to nothing more than a 'look at me' fest and the Parade of the Bands has become one of the first casualties of this new order as not many are interested in the soft core porn that the Parade of the Bands has become.
There is a new style of graphic joke on the social network sites that basically goes (in different variations on the theme) - “What the world thinks I do, What my friends think I do, What my parents thinks I do, What I think I do and What I really do.” Put to that simple test, Trinidad Carnival comes away perceived by outsiders, spectators and masqueraders alike as an orgy of flesh and an opportunity for free sexual indulgence, a mass of almost nude bodies writhing to music simulating if not engaging in lewd sex acts in public. While the masqueraders themselves may want to believe that that is not what carnival is about, their own behavior over the two days makes that belief a lie. In an attempt to imitate art, life and culture in T&T seems to have perverted itself and in trying to become something else, may have succeeded all too well; the business model of Tribe and the other new 'Rio' styled bands seems to be built on encouraging excess for profit.
In years gone by of the most fun things to do as the band made its way along the parade route was to race ahead and climb up on anything high that you could find and let the band pass you by, up there in all your splendor, gracing the world and those below with your magnificence. It may seem like a waste to spend thirty million to provide a stage for a display no one really cares to see anymore or to support a competition that no longer seems valid, but in defense of it, for many of the masqueraders it's more than worth it, even if it's only somewhere high up that's easy to climb.
Posted by Phillip Edward Alexander at 4:10 AM