Carnival is here again, its ubiquitous rhythms infecting every corner of the land at this time. At Carnival the nation become schizophrenic – bad vs good, positive vs negative, flesh vs spirit. How shall we choose? Carnivals originally flourished in Catholic countries of Europe: Italy, Spain, France etc. This means there is something viscerally Catholic about Carnival.
Carnival loses its meaning when people start “playing the body” instead of “playing the mas”. Playing the body invariably ends up in vulgarity and nakedness. Then there is the issue of noise pollution and auditory damage: people, including children, on top of the “big truck” with music blasting – a noise pattern also noticeable in our Catholic primary schools Carnival “jump-up”.
This level of noise permanently damages hearing as noted by medical doctors. There is also the issue of the shallowness of many of the songs and the decline in political and social commentary. In spite of that, the Church will not condemn the Carnival. It depends on what you are looking for. Skinny Banton’s “Wrong Again” turns domestic violence on its head. Men are victims of “horning” – emotional violence – too!