Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Flag Day Parade and Some Less Depressing Things

OK, picking up where I left off with Flag Day: There really isn't much more to tell besides what I saw on TV. I saw the rest of the fautasi races on the TV that was running in the background while I was working, and um, a boat won. A fast one. Full of Samoans. From a village around here somewhere. Yeah. You know which one I'm talking about.

After that, KVZK-TV switched to coverage of the Flag Day Parade, which is sort of like the Christmas Parade back in Mooresville, but celebrating Flag Day instead of Christmas, with a lot more marching and dancing instead of floats, and with most of the floats groups of people representing government departments instead of local independent businesses, because that's who the main employers here are. I didn't watch most of it, because it was just on in the background while I was working, and as soon as one of my Samoan coworkers asked me "Are you really watching that?" I knew that it wasn't a big deal to anyone who wasn't already there and realized that I no longer had any reason to watch. Also, she told me that the last fautasi race ended a few hours ago.

But what I saw was...awkward at best. The parade looked like it was going around the track at one of the high school football stadiums. The cameras were mostly situated around the home grandstands, with the Governor and his wife sitting front and center. Each governmental department went by or did a brief show based on there theme, which lead to some really awkward things like a Department of Agriculture show.

At one point, I turned back to the TV and saw the unun-watchable. (That is, there are things that you cannot "un-see" no matter how hard you try. This was one of those things.) A large group was doing a big song-and-dance number about domestic abuse. A line of about ten men sat in chairs, chugged beers in unison, spun around, and pretended to smack their wives, who fell back in agony, all in a perfectly synced chorus line.




Obviously, they were trying to raise awareness of the very serious and important issue of domestic abuse that probably goes on all the time here. They just decided to do it via an awkward dance number in the middle of a happy, celebratory parade with lots of little kids watching. I was originally going to describe such an astounding display of accidental bad taste as "indescribable." Then I remembered a quote from, of all people, Harry Shearer, on the notorious unreleased Jerry Lewis holocaust film The Day the Clown Cried that described this pretty well:

"The closest I can come to describing the effect is if you flew down to Tijuana and suddenly saw a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz. You'd just think, 'My God, wait a minute! It's not funny (or in this case, entertaining), and it's not good, and somebody's trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly held feeling."

I realize now that not everyone is going to think this was as messed-up as I did, but oh well.

After this, the Sunshine Happiness Parade did a tribute to the territory's war dead, complete with a cardboard tombstone, mourners dressed in black placing flowers, and someone playing "Taps" on a really cheap keyboard that sounded like the one I had when I was about six that ran on four AA batteries. But I still don't think this was as bad as the domestic abuse thing.

Then they went back to things like people parading by in nurses' uniforms and waving cheerily at the onlookers. Then came the part where someone asked me why I was watching. For the record, the war memorial thing was probably done by the Veterans and Military Affairs Office, and the domestic abuse thing could have been done by any of at least three different governmental departments on this list.

So that's all for Flag Day 2009. But of course, just for me. That sort of thing is the staple of KVZK's daytime programming that will most likely continue to run for decades, if not longer.

But more importantly, the next day, a Saturday, I had to come back to the office to finish up a project. While the DVD was burning, I drove my car over to Fagasā Bay (yes, I figured out how to type all those special characters) and took some great pictures. I actually thought it was Massacre Bay, but it wasn't. So forget I ever said that.

The view from the top of the mountain road. I took a lot more when I went up there a different time (but turned around due to my gas light coming on). I'll post those to Facebook at some point. Or maybe even here sometime.

Ah yes, THESE kids. I have a couple dozen pictures of them because they kept yelling "One more! One more!" Pretty soon I was just pretending to take them as I drove by. It was a lot less entertaining after a local girl told me that those kids were drunk.

There are actually quite a bit more that I'd like to post, but I'm hella tired and I haven't quite figured out this "real world sleep schedule" thing yet, so I'ma gonna sleep now.

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