Got a good two feet of hair cut off my head yesterday. Whenever I walk into a hair salon with my hair down to my waist and tell 'em I want it bobbed, the stylists' eyes always bug out and they ask, "Are you sure?" Yeah, I'm sure, otherwise I wouldn't be there in the first place. The day an open heart surgeon asks a patient if he's sure he needs that quadruple bypass is the day I'll be accepting of these folks' alarm. Until then, I reserve the right to be indignant.
Reason why I love New Orleans: better prices on some things. Keep in mind I went to a fancy schmancy hair place here.
NOLA cut: ~$40
Queens, NYC cut: ~$75
I may well end up with a "shingle headache", but it's definitely worth it...in more ways than one.
Another reason to love this city: open discussion over how much revelry and satire is too much or goes too far. Dan, the little guy, and I took in the Krewe du Vieux parade this year for the first time since we returned from NYC. Main reason: friends of ours were marching with the Seeds of Decline subkrewe. Plus, we like the parade. I did hesitate at bringing the little guy, because there are some years when it is a truly raunchy spectacle, but we figured that the joy of seeing good friends outweighed warping his fragile little mind for one night (Dan and I have the other nights covered all by ourselves...). This year, it was relatively tame, plus, I got to see a NOLA blogger or (possibly) two marching along with the whole show. A good friend of ours kept going on and on about how great the giant vagina float was that she saw last year, however, which was annoying to hear after the first couple of times, largely because I had missed it and I woulda liked to see it. If anyone's got a pic, let me know...
As Jews, a good number of my friends and I have got our own troubles within our religion. Out here in New Orleans, however, the troubles amongst Catholics in this Catholic city always come out around Mardi Gras time - and almost always concerning the Krewe du Vieux parade and the insanity that is the French Quarter around this time. A truly bizarre column came out from Chris Rose about his ride as king of KdV - and though I do still enjoy reading his stuff from time to time, this one really puzzled me.
First off, he went and commented about all the religious brouhaha from inside and outside this city as though he was a long-standing krewe member rather than an invited guest of honor. Shouldn't the organizers of KdV have their true say on this one? Perhaps the best way to have dealt with the objections of the Archdiocese and of the Pennsylvania group would have been to give them no more press than they have already received; sometimes the best way to respond to such inane stuff is to just let it die on the vine.
Which brings me to the second thing - that of knowing when to leave well enough alone. The parade still rolled. Rose was having a ball on the float. People appreciated the rude, crude, and still somewhat socially unacceptable themes running through the parade. Why couldn't a simple reporting of what was seen from the king's float have sufficed?
A waaaay better critique than mine can be found here.
My suggestion, as a true outsider: dissolve the Catholic Church into Judaism. It would be the end of the pope and the beginnings of a whole new set of squabbles to add to those that already plague all the different Judaic denominations, sure. The orthodox Jews in Israel would have a field day with the Law of Return. Jewish dietary laws would be more hotly debated than ever before. However, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which usually occurs close to Mardi Gras, all of this stuff would be set aside for a day.
On Purim, we'll celebrate a beauty contest winner exerting her influence on a drunken king and saving her people in the process. Religious mores are busted within the confines of the synagogue, as people boo Haman, the big, bad enemy of the Purim story who wanted to kill all the Jews of Persia because one of them wouldn't bow down to him, and cheer on Esther, Mordechai, and even king Ahasuerus, just a tad...when he's not being laughed at, that is. I myself have heard the Torah, normally chanted with a series of "tropes"(melodic signatures accenting each word), chanted to the tune of "Yankee Doodle" on Purim. More importantly for the New Orleans area, however, is this rabbinic instruction for Purim revelers, detailed by Rabbi Irving Greenberg:
On this day, no fasting is permitted, no eulogies are given, no penitential prayers are recited. The Rabbis were so determined to make this point that they instructed people to drink - at least to the stage when they could no longer tell the difference between blessed Mordechai and accursed Haman. (Those who can't tell the difference all year long are excused on Purim).
Wouldn't that be something? All of New Orleans being Jewish? Parades with satirical themes all over the place - themes that bust some righteous halakhic bubbles? And secular ones, too?
Wait, it's already being done...
Mass conversion to Judaism would never work around here, anyhow. These people love their shellfish too much to give it up.