The Chaps, aware as we are of a long cultural heritage, were impressed to see this account of a recent protest. The organizers’ call was “Get in the streets with us! March with us. Bring pots, pans, drums, whistles anything noisey!” Among many other responses, this one was recorded in Tucson, Arizona, protesting an appearance by Steve Bannon.
Yes, the Chaps’ interest was piqued partly by the topic and the person protested, but significantly by the style of the protest — specifically, a community using cacophonous noise and chanting to show its disapproval of unacceptable behavior, and to shame someone for it. (Note the actual cries of “Shame!”)
Whether they realized it or not, the protestors were continuing a very long and honored tradition. This type of popular protest goes by many names, and goes back a long way. “Charivari” seems to be the oldest recorded name.
The origin of the word charivari is likely from the Vulgar Latin caribaria, plural of caribarium, already referring to the custom of rattling kitchenware with an iron rod, itself probably from the Greek καρηβαρία (karēbaría), literally “heaviness in the head” but also used to mean “headache”, from κάρα “head” and βαρύς “heavy”.
In England it was often termed “rough music,” or “Skimmington ride,” and in the United States, “Shivaree.”
[A] folk custom in which the community gives a noisy, discordant mock serenade, frequently with pounding on pots and pans, also known as rough music. The loud, public ritual evolved to a form of social coercion, for instance, to force an as-yet-unmarried couple to wed… To “ride such a person skimmington” involved exposing them or their effigy to ridicule on a cart, or on the back of a horse or donkey. Some accounts describe the participants as carrying ladles and spoons with which to beat each other, at least in the case of skimmingtons prompted by marital discord.
It is even possible the “Skimmington Ride” developed into the great old American custom of “Running out of town on a rail.” After all …
During a rough music performance, the victim could be displayed upon a pole or donkey… Charivari was sometimes called “riding the ‘stang“, when the target was a man who had been subject to scolding, beating, or other abuse from his wife. The man was made to “ride the ‘stang”, which meant that he was placed backwards on a horse, mule or ladder and paraded through town to be mocked, while people banged pots and pans.
… and here’s the purported US version, from George Clooney’s “O Brother Where Art Thou”:
Pretty close, we’d say. And how happy the Chaps are to see such an appropriate revival of the old customs.
One last side note — or, as the Chaps like to say, “And Another Thing…”
So the great tradition of robust British satire — often scabrous, scatological, and even vicious, and including Monty Python and Spitting Image, even through to the Chaps themselves — owes its existence to a Middle Ages form of folk protest. A proud and venerable heritage indeed.
I guess that’s why they pay you the big bucks Sherlock
Well, yes, there is that – but then it is a bit different, specifically …
President Trump’s sad and crazy Afghanistan adventurism
Even this Chap, no historian he, knows that throughout history, rulers under threat at home have declared war abroad.
Great Movie – Wag The Dog. Doesn’t it seem so quaint and ‘pre history’ that a movie, although baked in satire, was all about the US going to war to cover up a sex scandal (I seem to recall that there was this chap Clinton that inspired it … but that’s another thing altogether.) Reminder, it is only twenty years ago that the movie was released.
But here is the thing. The ‘dossier’ which we started talking about a year ago … was published by Buzzfeed in January … and provided a source of such relentless humor as ‘even his showers are golden’ – was the subject just yesterday of a 10 hour session between the CEO of the company that did the work and Senate Judicuary investigators. The showers bit bearly got a mention – because it contains far, far worse stuff.
We’re going to war you say …. ?
… cough – may I continue?
Sorry. Yes. Do.
… wanders away … stage left … muttering to self.
But this one flies in the face not just of sanity …