Friday, January 25, 2008

"The bottom line in the road"

For years now, most "Trinidad" Carnival costumes have been made in China and shipped complete to Trinidad in the very cardboard box you're handed when you reach the mas point of sale. (You can't in conscience call these retail outlets "mas camps".) All the bands do is write your name in felt pen on the box and hand it to you-and if we could read Chinese characters, they wouldn't do even that, but would just take your cash. And if there's more than TT$20 worth of merchandise in your hands after the handover-including the firetrucking cardboard box-the bandleaders are robbing themselves, just robbing themselves!...

In that context, there really need be no debate about whether Carnival should be moved since it is all but irrelevant to itself and could take place on any day of the year. Or none. People foolish enough to believe Carnival still has anything to do with harnessing a people's creativity and releasing their love for life and one another are few and can safely be dismissed, like the Rights Action Group smelter protestors who will walk and whine from the NEC HQ to Pranz Gardens tomorrow. (Call Priya 328-4153.)

Trinidad is no longer the Land of the Hummingbird but the Land of the Cash Cow.... In the new Trinidad Carnival, the only thing that need be considered is not the bottom in the road but the bottom line in the road; and the empty chanting that has replaced Trinidadian music is the plainest illustration of that.

-- B.C. comes in swinging.

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