A Reflection On The Halloween Of 2009 AD: Why A Benevolent Dictatorship Is The Best Form of Government
Peter Tatara - November 6, 2009
I don't want a lot of things out of life. In fact, you can count my wishes on one hand: To be turned into a vampire while still in my 20s, To be a best-selling novelist, To have a sexy robot wife with both submissive and kinky settings, and to dress up with my girlfriend as The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend for Halloween. Alas, of all my wishes, only the one about dressing up as The Venture Bros. baddies sounds possible, and upon even the faintest inspection, you come to realize you'll get better odds on a snowball's chance in hell -- or, really, any place with at least a subtropical climate.
With my real girlfriend harboring not an iota of interest in dressing up as Dr. Girlfriend, it was decided we'd don group costumes with three friends. A fine idea, no? With a month or so to go before Halloween, it was loosely agreed we'd do an Alice in Wonderland theme. We'd have Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the King and Queen of Hearts. Not all that inventive, but a classic choice. The problem arose when we realized we'd never actually made a choice. See, while the group generally thought it was a good idea, it wasn't cemented. No one took charge. Instead, in the dwindling weeks to Halloween, questions began to bubble. Should I be sweet Alice or sexy Alice? Should we wear coats over our costumes or freeze? Should we bring a Cheshire Cat into the group? Now, as demure-sounding as these questions were, they were just the start. Couldn't we be the stages of the Saturn V rocket instead? Could we all go as those Chinese lion dancers? Why can't we be the cast of How I Met Your Mother? Quickly, Alice and Wonderland was no longer a certainty. Very quickly, there was confusion and dissent. With only a week to Halloween, we had no costumes and no plans.
Now, I'll fully admit roughly 97% of the questions came from me, but not because I had any problem with Alice in Wonderland. Far be it, I loved the idea and had my costume all picked out. Instead, I was simply proffering suggestions for future Halloweens -- as well as making simple conversation. I had zero intention of actually buying a giant donut costume, painting it silver, sticking a Richard Dean Anderson action figure into my belly, and calling myself a Stargate.
And a benevolent dictator would have shot me down. A benevolent dictator would have shaken their head, shushed me up, and moved on with the next stage of the plan. Instead, wibbily wobbily democracy led us to a decision at the last minute to ditch Alice and opt for going as the cast of Doctor Who. Even then, democracy failed us. Was I Captain Jack? Or was I Owen? Or could I go as an Ood, a Dalek, or one of those Blowfish aliens? Jack as chosen and proved to be a poor choice as no one -- not a single Army Navy shop or department store or even specialty outerwear retailer -- stocks anything even partially resembling Royal Air Force greatcoats. This quickly led to a rather smashing concept of constructing a wearable cardboard TARDIS that could be broken down to fit through subway turnstiles and reassembled on the street. Only, then, the weather report said it was going to rain. And rain -- along with children, scissors, and cats -- is a mortal enemy of cardboard.
I was a guy on safari for Halloween, my girlfriend was a pirate, and the rest of the group was made up of Clark Kent, the Green Lantern, and the White Rabbit. We went to the Bronx Zoo where we saw lions, tigers, and bears -- along with lemurs, sea lions, monkeys, alligators, giraffes, camels, turtles, tapirs, and a weird cat dog only found in Madagascar. Additionally, we saw an awesome couple dressed as Waldo and Carmen Sandiego. Following the zoo, we did a fantastic dinner at Osso Bucco and wandered about Union Square counting the slutty costumes. Oh, and one Blade Runner costume totally made the night.
All in all, it was a first-rate Halloween; however, a hunter, a pirate, Clark Kent, the Green Lantern, and the White Rabbit? Come on? Waldo and Carmen Sandiego refused to talk to us, and it was clearly because we weren't a coordinated group. This is why, next year, it is proposed that I serve as benevolent dictator to assure our costume choices are timely, realistic, and in good taste. (In Halloween-speak, "good taste" means appropriate for the weather for the men and skank-tastic for the ladies.) And, looking at the macro-level, I can but only wonder how much world affairs would be improved with a strongman figure installed, replacing ineffectual representative democracies, parliaments, and whatever they do in Guam.
Fascism is fast, simple, and clean. And as long as you've got a great leader whose personal ambitions don't require the enslavement of the mass populace to build a giant ray gun to destroy some planet you've never heard of, you've got a system of government that'll get things done.
But I'm not about to get preachy, for you know -- in your heart of hearts -- a vampire novelist with a sexy robot wife would make the best leader in the globe. And he should be given unlimited power to do whatever the damn fuck he wants.
Again, I'm not here to make any grand statement. Instead, all I want is to make sure I and my friends have Halloween costumes that make sense in 2010. And as your future Halloween dictator, I make the following suggestions to the half dozen of you who'll be joining me next Pumpkin Day... Zombie gangsters, the crew of J.J. Abrams's U.S.S. Enterprise, the many faces of Nate Fillion, our favorite fish, or -- how about -- Hank, Dean, Brock, Dr. Venture, The Monarch, and Dr. Girlfriend.
Debate, discuss, and get back to me. Then your benevolent dictator will let you know The Venture Bros. wins. (Also, I'm calling The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend.)