Sad to see over the last few days, that in the aftermath of one of the biggest Carnivals in terms of participation, that the conversation has zeroed in on some of the worst of the worst photos – from minors engaged in the (accepted? unaccepted?) national dance to outright lewd and lascivious exposure and behaviour by numbers of masqueraders. And that these images are being used to target particular bands for the behaviours of the few in those bands.
Does this mean that our Carnival is getting worse? Well perhaps in some measure, it is definitely trending the way of Rio Carnival. But, no – contrary – it’s not the Carnival that has gotten worse – but our own personal media coverage of it that has gotten better. With smartphones and GoPros, we are finally capturing our Carnival from a first-person point of view and instantly sharing it. But instead of sharing the positive gigabytes of information with the world, we are instead using it to target each other in the one thing that can still pull us together – T&T Carnival.
In very few places in the world, do you find Christians, Muslims, Hindus, rich, poor, working class, and yes, contrary to those that turn a blind eye, members of the LGBT community, so closely intertwined in a celebration of music, dance, and happiness. In so many other corners of the world, right now, these groups are actually warring with each other in the city streets – not chipping side by side.
Granted, we do need to accept that certain boundaries of decency and laws must be upheld and maintained, but our one remaining common denominator CANNOT be destroyed. Arguments on uptown bands versus downtown ones, traditional versus bikini and beads bands, all-inclusives versus Mom and Pop type bands are ridiculous. Each deserves to be featured in their own way and own space from downtown stick-fighting to the uptown Socadrome. Our Carnival is for everyone, regardless of how, where and with whom WE, as Trinis, chose to celebrate it.
At a time when our people-powered social media has us charting stories on Buzzfeed as the best street party on Earth, with one of the best accents in the world, Trinis are instead waking up from their hangovers and Post Carnival Depression, scanning their camera rolls and sharing some seriously terrible and self-serving images. We are anti-marketing something that we need so desperately; something that isn’t exactly being marketed properly to begin with (that’s a post for another time)
Where are the photos of the colour and mixed faces of the big bands. Where are the photos of the creativity of the smaller ones? Why do we not realise that our Carnival is no longer just ours – it’s been exported to every corner of the world. And the world is tuning into our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds more than ever.
My Carnival isn’t for you – and yours may not be for me – but OUR Carnival is for everyone. Let’s hope that we can find something more positive to say in the social spaces, on the only common space we seem to have left as a society.
You bring the Johnnie, I’ll bring the Henne.
Now, here, take a wine – on someone age appropriate of course.