Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Halloween Iconologia

It has occurred to me that young children nowadays are given many opportunities to experience some form of costumed entertainment---as, for example, during school events, through private parties, or at that public festivity known as Halloween. During these events, the children are either themselves tricked out in some ridiculous costume or their parents expose them to the spectacle of these professional or amateur theatricals. 'Tis a known fact that for the past three of four generations children all over America---through nothing less than pure idolatrous worship---have revered a certain Michael Mouse character. Americans of all ages in fact worship at the shrine of this Cartoon Rodent; and the entire temple that represents their culture is raised upon this stone.----And by worship, I mean trade in money-bags.----Other currently popular costumes along this vein are zombies, vampires, and a character known as Sponge-Robert Square-Trousers.

I have therefore taken upon myself the responsibility of reforming these wayward children by suggesting alternative costumes that may be worn in public by all legitimate people both young and old. Now, the children thus a-costumed may sport with their friends at these Halloween festivities, and shine as model behavior for all young urchins. 

'Tis well known that some popular costumes among females are: a “Sexy Cheerleader,” a “Sailboat Cutie,” or a “Pin-Up Betty”---And in response to this wantonness and general laxity of morals, I here offer my suggestion for a first costume---

   1. Humility

This costume is suitable for all ages and economic classes. Even the poorest wight is bound to have the materials necessary for the costume somewhere in the house. To personify Humility when wearing the costume ‘tis important that you take these simple measures---that you walk barefoot, always in a humble pose, with downcast eyes and arms crossed on your breast; that you must be dressed in simple garments of white or grey, simple pattern-less sheets shall be fine; and that you must be holding some kind of a rubbery ball in your hand. You may also want to have a lamb accompanying you. Needless to say, you are to wear no other clothes over or underneath the sheets----none of your lacy undergarments.

from Cesare Ripa's Iconologia

The lamb of course is the symbol of the meek, and peaceful man, Christ. The ball symbolizes the idea that---as a ball that always bounces back and returns to you when thrown against a wall---the truly Humble person remains aware of his humility, no matter how highly placed, or with what force he may experience a change of condition.      

2. Doctrine
This costume is most appropriate for people of mature ages. To personify Doctrine while in your costume, you are to take the following steps---put on a robe of iridescent purple, and carry an open book every where you go. In your other hand, which you ought to be holding outwards as much as possible, a scepter tipped with a representation of the sun.

from Cesare Ripa's Iconologia

Only in mature age are people able to learn and understand Doctrines, be they sacred or secular. Your open book and your open arms symbolize the liberality of Doctrine, which tries to embrace all those willing to hear. The scepter with the sun represents the dominion of doctrine over the horrors of the night of ignorance, the sun being the symbol of light and truth.

3. Service

This costume is most suitable for young men who intend later in life to serve some capitalist employer. To personify Service you must wear a short white coat, one hand on your breast and a lighted candle in your other hand, and on your feet you must wear winged sandals, which you can easily construct for yourself.

from Cesare Ripa's Iconologia
Service is young because youth is the time of life when labor can best be supported. Your coat is short because there should be no hindrance in performing your true Services---white because that is the color of the purity of the true Servant’s loyalty. Your feet are winged, for good Service is performed with speed and dispatch. Your lighted candle alludes to Service’s motto “Aliis inserviendo, me consumo” (In Serving others, I consume myself).  

No comments:

Post a Comment