Attention horror

This being the Era of Unrelenting Umbrage, almost every Halloween costume you can imagine can and will offend someone. Repeat: “almost.” Not all:

Most Halloween costumes are actively upsetting to someone or another. My costume this year is Drowned Titanic Passenger. That’s in hella bad taste. I’ve seen costumes at parties which would freak one or other of my friends out — and badly — because of their triggers and phobias. But when you look over [Julia] Serano’s three reasons, actually they do not make sense in these cases. Upsetting and troubling, yes, but they are not bringing offence and disrespect to an important group in society; they are not appropriative. My costume doesn’t erase the original tragedy — it’s not rewriting what happened or being inaccurate. It’s not making any money. And it’s not demeaning to deceased passengers either. Finally — there isn’t a large group of people who will be harmed in the real world as a result of my dressing up. The passengers are all dead; as are their relatives; and the Titanic sinking has very little to do with present-day issues (in contrast, I would have a problem with a Jack The Ripper/Ripper victim costume, because sex workers are still disadvantaged, and intermittently murdered, in our society).

Despite this bit of innovation, it’s a whole holiday full of potential active upset:

Halloween is just not a great day for sensitive people. Isn’t that awful? A fun day like that, can’t help but shut out a whole lot of people.

Still, if the trend holds up, in twenty years every kid with a bucket, from Glasgow to the Galápagos, will be done up as R2-D2, simply because the only controversial aspect of the little vacuum-cleaneresque droid is that he (do droids have gender? Besides C-3PO, I mean) puts coins in George Lucas’ overstuffed pockets.


  1. Nicole »

    13 October 2013 · 2:58 pm

    I think it’s a distressing comment on society that people feel the need to take the offense of the world into account when choosing a frickin’ Halloween costume. Perpetually offended and aggrieved is no way to go through life.

  2. fillyjonk »

    13 October 2013 · 5:32 pm

    I am a sensitive person in some ways, but I cannot see taking umbrage at a costume. I might be mildly discomfited if one of my students chose, for example, to dress up as an unflattering caricature of me, but I wouldn’t SAY anything.

    I WAS going to wear a glow-stick headband (bunny ears formed out of the glow sticks), but as our Dean chose that day to tour the department, I might not, now. Can’t look un-serious in front of the Dean.

  3. McGehee »

    13 October 2013 · 7:29 pm

    I think it’s a distressing comment on society that people feel the need to take the offense of the world into account when choosing a frickin’ Halloween costume.

    Depends on how one takes it into account.

    <evil, maniacal cackle>

    Which, by the way, one of the costumes I’m considering is Evil, Maniacal Cankle. (Thank you, auto-correct, for thr wonderful idea.)

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  5. Lynn »

    14 October 2013 · 1:09 pm

    If we can’t be offensive on Halloween then someone needs to invent a holiday specifically for the purpose of offending as many people as possible.

  6. fillyjonk »

    14 October 2013 · 2:51 pm

    I propose we call that Umbrage Day.

    Just because I like the word “umbrage.”

  7. Nicole »

    14 October 2013 · 6:19 pm

    I love the idea of Umbrage Day.

  8. Lynn »

    14 October 2013 · 6:31 pm

    Umbrage Day would be perfect. There are so many people who would have no idea what it means. Now we only need to set a date, preferably on the anniversary of some particularly notable historic umbrage.

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