‘Has Anyone Seen My Tutu?’
When the Hummers march, the satire flies. So skip the Mummers this year. When it comes to New Year’s fun, Philly has nothing on Middletown.
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But in 2010, even with an economic collapse affecting virtually all Americans, the personal foibles of celebrities still dominated the parade. More than one Tiger-themed entrant marched, but it was Octomom who seemed to inspire the most acerbic wit.
Mike Wipf, his family and their friends rolled their Octomom down the street on a gurney as Mike’s wife, Penny, lay in delivery. As mock babies flew like fly balls from her loins, assistants ran through the streets to catch them. As the parade rolled on, other creatures replaced the babies—snakes, lizards, teddy bears. Even Mickey and Minnie Mouse made appearances as Octo offspring.
If satire is a measure of a society’s political and social health, the country in general, and Middletown in particular, would seem to be in the pink.
Pundits link satire to emotion rather than intellect. Dean Walsh, founder of the Web-based “Daily Satire,” has written, “Satire can do things that more serious media such as journalists and commentators, philosophy or politics cannot do. This is partly because what good jokes do is to capture a feeling…
“Satire can also be really great at bursting bubbles. Some ideas can seem really beautiful, but they can also have fatal flaws. Arguing against an idea that people want to be true can be very hard, and you might seem a bit nasty for even trying. But humor can point out the paradox or idiocy in something and burst the bubble in an instant.”
Octomom’s desire to add eight mouths to an existing brood or Tiger’s fall from the pinnacle of celebrity could lead to dreary judgments and condemnations by the public. That seems more limiting than the humor injected by the Hummers. By laughing at the fallen, we laugh at ourselves. After all, Octomom and Tiger are part of our common fabric.
All of that may be too philosophical for someone in a top hat parading on inline skates. The Hummers Parade inspires a simpler joy. “It’s the spontaneity of something not existing the night before,” Schreppler says. “And then there it is, in a kind of organized chaos, the next day—and in front of some impressive crowds, too.”
He recalls a New Year’s Day when police estimated the crowd at up to 20,000. “I know people who’ve driven up from Baltimore and now come every year,” Schreppler says. “Others have sent me clippings from the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times that have mentioned the Hummers.”
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