Easter, I have some criticisms. And I say this as a friend. I like you, Easter. I think you’re a decent holiday. And I know that you’ve been under some pressure.
It can’t be easy. You’ve always been a strange occasion. For starters, you’re a moveable feast, dancing around the calendar. You don’t just have a date, you have some sort of computation. Apparently, it took centuries to sort out. It has something to do with a full moon in March and you have to fall on a Sunday. That’s a lot for a holiday to deal with.
On top of that, you then have a really strange mascot. A bunny. With eggs. Did the bunny steal the eggs only to redistribute them Robin Hood style? Or, more disturbingly, did the bunny lay the eggs? You see the problem, of course. If the bunny laid the eggs, then the bunny is feeding human children its own young. At best, the human children are hunting this r-selection of bunny eggs. Either situation is a little off-putting. I mean, Halloween deals in door to door extortion but Halloween is honest about what it is. It’s about the dead and you’re supposed to be scared. But Easter? You have children gathering together to cheerfully hunt and devour the young of another species, a cute species, and you color it in pastels and never really mention what’s supposed to be happening here. That’s a little confusing. That’s the thing about you, Easter. You’re a little confusing.
But that’s what I always liked about you. You even sort of resist the “real reason for the season” sort of thinking that plagues Christmas. Like, Christmas is straightforward. Jesus was born. There you go. Birth. Nice and simple. But you, Easter? Jesus was nailed to a cross, died and then rose again. It’s horrific death followed by sublime rebirth. You even oppose the simple binaries of life and death. This is probably enough to mix up a lot of people. It probably doesn’t help that Catholics like Easter. America has never been terribly fond of its Catholics. A lot of WASPs probably prefer the bunny. Even if bunnies don’t even lay eggs and everyone knows it. Even if the bunny’s eggs are chocolate, their brown color causing an obvious association with excrement to anyone who has ever been around rabbits. That’s right, Easter, you heard me. Your little brown rabbit eggs suggest shit. On some level, you have a bunch of kids running around, gleefully eating simulated rabbit shit and even that probably seems less pagan to the WASPs than the Catholic celebrations do. That’s how confusing you are, Easter. That’s why I like you.
But I know that can’t be easy. You’re basically irreducible. You’re one thing but another, your things’ thingness somehow located in the thingness of the things they are not, unless they are, in which case its all backwards again. If you weren’t such a holy day, I suspect you would have gone like Halloween ago and resolved all of this in simple erotic display. We’d have sexy bunnies all over the place. Coprophilic, bunny-fucking festivals that would make the Marquis De Sade blush. The whole thing would be for grownups. That might be a little disappointing and sleazy, but I’d support you anyway. It would be a strange turn but not altogether unexpected. At least, it would be sleazy and sacreligious.
That, however, does not seem to be the direction that you’re taking things. Instead, you’re going somewhere else with all of this. And that’s what I can’t support.
Just look at this . . .
That’s an Easter display from my job. At some point, you’ve slipped a llama into the celebrations. Not just a llama but a cow. And a sheep. Yeah, you’ve gussied them up but that’s definitely a llama and a cow and a sheep. It was bad enough when you added chicks. At the time, I thought that was fine. It just seemed to be a part of your bestarium vocabulum. A rabbit that birthed chickens. Chickens with rabbit ears. It seemed fine. It seemed weird. It seemed like you.
But now, I see those chicks for what they were. They were the first step to clearly defining you. To reducing and regulating you. The rabbit with the eggs didn’t make sense, (whatever that’s supposed to be these days) so a chicken was introduced. But that chicken was only the gateway. To what? To this form you now seem determined to take.
Easter, you’re not a barnyard. You’re better than that.
I get it. You resist the easy calculations of the other holidays. It makes you hard to sell. You probably don’t even have a real brand. There’s no elevator pitch for Easter. People don’t even know when you are. How are they supposed to know what you are? And America, with its factory farms, too evil to even look directly at, must be nostalgic for its barnyards. You have animals. You have eggs. So do barnyards. You did the easy thing.
I understand. I get that. I really do. But I’m disappointed.
My wife tells me that all of this started some time ago. She remembers there being an Easter association with the American barnyard cartoon US Acres. I don’t remember that. I don’t even want to look it up to confirm it. I don’t have the heart to know. Because it might be true and if it is . . . A Jim Davies cartoon?
Really? Jim Fucking Davies? Of all people, him? Easter, you’re better than that.
Easter, you’re better than this.
Please act like it.