So I was driving past the bell tower in the city yesterday and I noticed they’ve put a big gold star on top like it’s a freakish glass and metal Christmas tree. Which, okay, fine. I’m cool with that. But given the scale of the tower the star is huge. Naturally, I started to ponder how they got it up there. Some kind of winch?
Rick: Crane, maybe.
Me: Seems like a lot of effort to go to. But I guess if you had the crane out already for putting up the other decorations…
And then I started to frown. Because I’d started thinking about the decorations instead of just vaguely muttering, Oh. Pretty.
The city puts them up every year. They’re mostly the same but sometimes they design new stuff. Lights and sparklies and whatever.
And here’s the thing. Sometimes I get into arguments about what governments decide to spend money on. A lot of the time these arguments are with myself while others look on with confusion and, at times, a bit of awe (at how nuts I am). Because the ruthless part of me says, Why on earth does the government give writing grants and things like that? That’s so impractical and wasteful when they could be spending it on useful, important things like schools and hospitals. But then, I am a writer and I am appropriately grateful for the fact that apparently some part of my government is trying to back the arts. Plus, I know the arguments about the value of culture and society morale and… I get it, okay? Sometimes the fluffy, fruity things are just as worthwhile as the practical things.
But Christmas decorations? I’m not sure that qualifies. I mean, for one thing, why Christmas? There are lots of holidays. If they wanted to randomly choose one to celebrate couldn’t they pick one that was a little more inclusive? If they’re trying to inspire warm fuzzy feelings in people there have to better ways than by openly, lavishly celebrating a holiday that only part of their populace is into.
And by that point I was glaring up at the star and muttering, Uncool, man.
Me: I am judging the city of Perth.
Rick: I think you’d have to judge a lot of cities.
Me: Fine. I’m judging the municipal authorities of most of the western world.
And then Rick laughed at me. Because he does that. But you guys’ll be honest with me, right? Tell me, does this whole Christmas-decorating-the-city thing seem kinda hinky to you?