Cinco in a College TownPosted: May 5, 2014
Of all the cultural events collegiate America might ever have appropriated, Cinco de Mayo is probably the one that gets under my skin the fastest. Originally a remembrance of the Battle of Puebla and a celebration of Mexican pride, it has recently, on college campuses and in college-y areas like the one where I live, degenerated into an excuse to wear politically incorrect headgear and not give a damn about how the hispanic Americans around you might feel about things.
If that made you go “holy shit,” then we had the same reaction! We’re reaction buddies! Hi, friend!
I also had a reaction this weekend while watching college kids in Somerville getting blasted while wearing enormously stupid sequined sombreros and screaming “DRINKO DE MAAAAYOOOOOO!”
Clearly, this whole culturally insensitive mess is just an excuse to drink on a weekday, but does that make it strictly right? Allow me, if you please, to do a quick, public thought experiment. (It is, after all, a blog.) How would a red-blooded American hick like me, originating in a military family and only now gaining control of my tear ducts as I think of our rousing national anthem, feel if space aliens from Alpha Centuri were to randomly decide that the Fourth of July was a great excuse to barcrawl in sequined pink tricorn hats and togas made from the American Flag, all the while calling it “Fourth of Whiskey?”
My writer’s imagination fails me. Luckily, there’s Google. Look, a space alien!
Experiment results: I’m offended! Hooray!
I propose an alternate holiday for collegiate celebratory purposes. Academic administrators, back me up! We’ll need all your support to turn students away from racist Cinco de Mayo celebrations and toward less offensive behavior. After all, if college students will use any excuse to drink and dress funny at odd times, then we may be able to feed them some festive options that don’t offend anyone’s cultural sensibilities. See if any of these ring your bell:
1. FIVE. This holiday celebrates the number five (5). Isn’t five (5) great? All of its multiples end in either 0 or 5. It’s a useful number for hands. To celebrate, people wear finger puppets, walk arm in arm five abreast on sidewalks, drink in multiples of five, and up-top total strangers for the entire obnoxious day. Five. (5)
2. Say “Motherfuckers” on YouTube Day. Participants get extremely drunk and break the great social taboo they have had to observe all throughout their lives: they get to scream the word “MOTHERFUCKERS” at the world through the medium of YouTube. Not only will this relieve stress, but participants will learn real-world lessons about social media and alcoholic spirits.
3. Artisinal Soda Day. This takes place on a random weekend in May, and it’s strictly for bartenders who have a problem with kids using fake IDs and acting like assholes in front of their establishments. In summary, all of the beer in the joint is secretly replaced with either high-end soda pop, (stuff like Reed’s Butterscotch Beer,) or non-alcoholic beverages. Then everyone gets to watch as the inexperienced young customers behave as if they’re drunk despite having had no booze whatsoever that night.
4. May Day. Anyone who mixes up the terms “can I” and “may I” has to do ten push-ups while wearing a party hat. I don’t actually think this one will fly, I just think it would be cool.
5. We Admit There’s Something Wrong With Undergraduate College When Students Will Take Pretty Much Any Excuse to Throw A Public Party Regardless Of How Well They’ve Thought Things Through Day. Also known as “We Might Have Lost The Point Of Investment In Education Somewhere In This Bar Day,” this day is typified by serious discussions about whether or not undergraduate education is more useful to students than, say, a year to blow off all the steam they built up during high school.