Today is one of the two major opportunities for belligerent public day-drinking associated with a saint. Is it better or worse than the other one?
St. Patrick’s Day, a literal holiday, is a Christian feast day and celebration of Irish culture. Participants wear green, consume green alcohol, dye large bodies of water green, etc. Last year I unwittingly stumbled into the parade and my lunch break lengthened into an odyssey, navigating a huge swathe of Manhattan drowned in a green flood. But it seemed positive that people were, at least nominally, celebrating their roots. That a contingent of debased clowns wearing Celtics jerseys and shouting House of Pain lyrics have commandeered this heritage as an excuse to drink pints of Guinness directly out of one another’s mouths should not be held against those other people, maybe.
SantaCon, a fake holiday, began as—of all things—anti-capitalist performance art, but has now evolved into your best opportunity to get doused in vomit on public transit by someone who is really fuckin’ down with capitalism. Last year I learned a new human emotion that day, watching elderly people of color look with scorn and confusion at SantaCon participants bellowing on the subway before noon. SantaCon is a collective excuse to do bad things, grasping at your last wisps of youth. It is a way for people to take behavior that, in college, would have at least been relegated to a frat house, and enact it in the public sphere, in the light of day, in a Santa Claus costume.
Which one is more inconvenient? Which one has strayed most from its original intent? Which one endangers public property more? Which one is more likely to harbor a hate crime? Which is more ... fun to participate in? Just something to ponder today as you dodge puddles of puke and/or enjoy your whiskey.
Photo by Getty.