The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

The Halloween Meta-Costume Consideration

with one comment

Bo Ledman and I talk about all kinds of crazy stuff when we ride bikes, which we do every week during the summer.  While most of our talk revolves around books and films and insights we have into both, there are times when we get so far out in the nether regions of our minds that we’re left thinking how the hell did we get on that topic?  The Halloween Meta-Costume consideration is one such topic.

One day in the middle of a ride we got to talking about the Halloween party Bo hosts each year and the costumes people have worn (it’s worth mentioning that a lot of people only know Bo’s brothers by the costumes they have worn, so we refer to them as Duff Man or Hulk Hogan or Snakes on a Dude).  Somehow, this got all post-modern.  Allow me to tell you for a moment, though, that Post-Modernism is a frequent topic of discussion on our rides.  In addition to spending an untold amount of time planning his spooktacular celebration, Bo is also studying for a master’s degree in English Literature, which explains his interest in and knowledge of Post-Modernism.  As for me, I’ve picked up enough about the movement here and there over the course of my teaching career to keep up with the conversation.

Anyhow, subjective reality is one of the tenets of Post-Modernism.  Dig a bit deeper into that and post-modern films, and you come across the notion of layers of subjective reality, like when an actor plays a character who is playing a character (so the actor isn’t playing the reality of the character, he is playing the reality of the character his character is playing).  An excellent example of this is Tropic Thunder, in which the actors are playing actors who are all playing characters in a fake film.  So Ben Stiller is playing the actor Tug Speedman, who is playing the character Four Leaf Tayback.  Robert Downey Jr. is playing Kirk Lazarus, who is playing Lincoln Osiris.  Anyhow, we started to think about the idea of wearing a costume of someone wearing a costume.  You would be wearing two costumes, and that second costume has to be “organic” to the character embodied in the first costume.  So you couldn’t simply dress up as a nurse who dresses up as a nun.  Both costumes have to be recognizable in their own right and make sense in the world of the first character–so the examples above from Tropic Thunder wouldn’t qualify (nor would Tony Clifton) since you would only be getting the second character in the series.  It’s perplexing.  The most immediate example we came up with was dressing up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  You are dressed up as a wolf, but that wolf has dressed up as a sheep.  It’s based on an idiom, but it works according to the rules of the game.

"Hehe... I'm pretty good at this game..."

When I say “the most immediate example we came up with,” I also mean that it was the only example we came up with for well over two years.  Then, last summer, I was looking up something online about hermit crabs, and Bingo!  Those dudes will take on all kinds of things for a shell.  They mostly use shells from sea snails, but they will also use stones or driftwood or conchs, or presumably anything they can find that will give them some protection and room to grow.  They’ll even “change costumes” when they outgrow one.  So they are putting on a costume.  You’d have to dress as a hermit crab who then has dressed himself like a sea snail or a piece of wood or whatever he’s using.  It’s complex stuff.

"I'm pretty good at this game, too!"

And then just the other day I thought of another one:  The Big Bad Wolf dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.  You have your first costume (a wolf, again), and that character has dressed up in a costume (grandmother).

"I rule at this game!"

I don’t know what it is about Canis lupus that makes him such a good example of this, so if someone can explain that, I’m all ears.

Also, if anybody can come up with more examples that would fit into the guidelines of The Halloween Meta-Costume Consideration, Bo and I would love to hear them.  Bonus points and prizes for you if you dress up in both costumes this Halloween and send pictures.

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Written by seeker70

October 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. How about a reflection of a mirror in a mirror?
    Or Yog-Sothoth masquerading as a human being.


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