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Carnival, St. Patrick's Day and similar festivities as a safety valve

Humanity does not consist of quiet, reasonable WAISers. The Romans sought social peace by feeding the people "panem et circenses". Soccer is the modern version of circuses. John Heelan argues that carnival-like events serve similarly as safety valves: "As carnival is sanctioned and even implicitly encouraged by the contemporary hegemony as a controlled safety valve for the populace of a repressed society, it is a "stealth" form of political/ecclesiastical control".

John quotes Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and his World: "All... forms of carnival were linked externally to the feasts of the Church. The official feasts of the Middle Ages, whether ecclesiastical, feudal or sponsored by the state, did not lead the people out of the existing world order and created no second life. On the contrary, they sanctioned the existing pattern of things and reinforced it..... Carnival celebrated temporary liberation from the prevailing truth and from the established order; it marked the suspension of all hierarchical rank, privileges, norms and prohibitions....."

"John also quotes David D. Gilmore Carnival & Culture- sex, symbol and status in Spain: "The idea has special utility in rural Spain, where carnival is above all a license for the expression of powerful feelings and impulses normally kept in check by a repressive moral code"

My comment: Wars serve a similar purpose. WAISer Maxine Thomas says that for this reason Humanity will self-destruct. The terminal carnival. Humanity ends with a bang, not a whimper.

Ronald Hilton - 3/16/02