Little Shops of Horror

Once again, lushes and reprobates, we arrive at that cold-yet-colourful time of year, when ghouls, trolls, and hobgoblins emerge from the underworld to plague the psyches of those all-too-ready to shriek, shudder, and squirm at their presence. And once again, on the run-up to this night of nefariousness known as Halloween, a collage of cosplayers came out embracing the exotic an esoteric, much to the chagrin of the “social justice” warriors railing against “cultural appropriation” in an ironic and unwitting ode to George Wallace – “SEGREGATION NOW, SEGREGATION TOMORROW, SEGREGATION FOREVER!”


Though less ethnically-charged, the run-up to fright-night festivities on this side of the pond proved no less of a killjoy-magnet. September saw something of a stink kicked up over a series of costumes marketed under the monikers “Mental Patient” and “Psycho Ward”, supposedly a grave offense to those struggling with the stigma of mental disorders, despite the overwhelming majority of them not traipsing around in boilersuits, straitjackets, or a state of bloodied necrosis.


The nonsensical moral panic reached its apex with arm-twisted apologies by talking heads from both Tesco and Asda, the retailers of said regalia, with the latter store even coughing up a huge contrition fee (euphemistically known as a “donation”) for the mental health charity Mind.

However, all that noise proved a mere prelude to the shitstorm that ensued when Amazon put a zombie costume of the posthumously-disgraced Jimmy Savile up for sale on its site. Again, charities and pressure groups lead the outpouring that gushed into a “deluge of complaints”, drowning Amazon’s desire to market the mock-up; unsurprisingly, a considerable number of folk took more than a bit of umbrage to the alleged child-abuser being made into a Halloween party piece.


Personally, I fail to see anything out of place here; anything, that is, beyond the copious whinging over this and the other supposedly “inappropriate” Halloween costumes.

Far from signalling any concerns of decency, all this harumphing and hectoring over Hallowear does a good job of showing up a society shuddering at the sight of its own shadow. With the threat of vampires, werewolves, and the like sanitised and contained by time and celluloid, Modern Man seeks more formidable fiends to bedevil himself with, and what better bane than the spectre of the sex predator, seeking up exemplars of childhood and adolescent “innocence” to defile and devour? Certainly a more tangible threat than some (de)fanged fictional “fright”, whose threat level bursts into sparkles under the stark light of clarity.

By getting enraged over cartoonish psychos the maddened crowd pretty much bring their own simmering psychoses screaming into the spotlight. Whenever I see members of the general public frothing over this moral panic or that, I wonder if they wouldn’t be more at home in a straitjacket, pounding a padded cell as part of their Pavlovian psychodrama.

Perhaps excluding the “paedos” and “psychos” from store shelves is one way for these fractured fretters to avoid facing the constitution and consequences of their (re)actions. A thought, at least…


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One Response to Little Shops of Horror

  1. STLICTX says:

    Disregarding what someone says because they have mental issues-socially acceptable!
    Refusing to hire anyone acting different from the norm-good business practices!
    Locking people up because they want to harm themselves even if they present no risk to others-so socially acceptable that even suggesting something different will get you yelled down.
    Forcibly injecting brain damaging drugs into mental patients-acceptable!

    Yet wearing a funny costume is somehow damaging and encourages stigma? The Nazis Against the Mentally Ill and their odd… creed… strike again.

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