“The word is world!” Orson shouted at her.
“I said world!” she shouted back.
“Speak as though you came from New York,” he told her.
“I did come from New York. How does one from New York speak?”
“Not the way you speak!”
“Why should I talk like someone special?”
“Because you are.”
“Yes, but I don’t want you to be conscious of it.”
—Orson Welles and Eartha Kitt, in rehearsal for Time Runs
Across many cultures, many times, humans ritually combine in groups to consume vast quantities of intoxicants, commonly entering states of inebriation so pronounced and prolonged that they often, later, bring new meaning to such phrases as “I did WHAT?” or “how do you mean, there are ‘charges’?”
This is particularly true of American humans, marooned as they are in a nation where people have been awash in intoxicants since the Founding.
Various “reasons” are summoned to engage in these bacchanalian rites. In America, these “reasons” can range from viewing the spectacle of identically-dressed young men furiously battling over balls, to honoring a calendar passage like a birthday, or genuflecting before a totem like the clover.
In recent years, humans in New York City have increasingly combined to decide that the advent of the Christmas season is reason enough to dress up like a Santa person, or one of his assistants or associates, consume vast quantities, and then pour out onto the streets to wantonly hump and heave upon them.
These humans call themselves SantaCon, and maintain that: “We do not pout. We do not cry. We are Jolly.”
It is further asserted that “SantaCon is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.”
Finally, “Santa does not accept corporate sponsorship or speak to the press.”
As can be seen here, it is evident that, as is true of so many things, SantaCon has inevitably spread, like bedbugs or bad writing, from out of New York, and into the larger World.
This year, the world’s very first 2012 iteration of SantaCon shall commence, today, December 13, in some place called Macomb, Illinois. Over the next week or so, the event shall ride a giant tsunami of hormones and liquor through such international hot-spots as Modesto, California and Boise, Idaho. As well as wee sleepy hamlets like London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Vienna. The SantaCons in locales such as San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale feature a pronounced nakedness component, something absent in the fests in, say, Winnipeg, Buffalo, or Oslo. At least among those who want to continue to live.
Ur-iterations of this event seem to include the 1994 “Santarchy” of Suicide Club in San Francisco, and a 2005 anti-commercialization shindig in Auckland, New Zealand, one that boiled over into “such criminal acts as looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards.” Novelist Chuck Palahniuk, meanwhile, several times penned mention of a “Santa Rampage,” which subsequently got loose from out of his books, and poured out onto the pavement.
Dispatches from the 2011 Manhattan SantaCon may be found beyond the “furthur.” Know that as the 2012 version convulses the planet, I will feel it my Duty to first Monitor the madness, and then Report it.
Because it occurs in America, the Manhattan SantaCon is basically a pub crawl, “a holiday ritual that takes costumed revelers on a boozy tour of the city’s pubs.”
The thing begins at 10:00 a.m., in both Battery Park and on the Brooklyn Bridge. It ends when the last straggling survivors either stumble home, or are put in the pokey.
Over the course of the day, the revelers tipped their glasses and their fuzzy caps at the South Street Seaport, caroled at the New York Public Library, gathered in City Hall Park and fanned out to watering holes around the borough.
While Santa was the most popular outfit, the partiers also donned reindeer, elf and dreidel costumes as they packed the streets and subways, singing carols and spreading holiday cheer.
Various assorted nonplussed non-revelers complained in this way:
[T]he NYPD devoted more resources to Occupy Wall Street than to SantaCon, and [locals] asked police for a better response at the neighborhood’s next expected pub-crawl on St. Patrick’s Day.
“The mayor put so much power on Occupy Wall Street, he had Downtown under lock and key—but he forgot about Santa,” said Ann DeFalco, a member of Community Board 1′s Seaport/Civic Center Committee, at a meeting Monday night.
Residents said they saw unruly Santas buying six-packs of bottled beer on Fulton Street, then standing in the middle of the street drinking them and shattering the empty glass bottles on the ground.
The event was described as something truly strange and terrifying in the lead to this piece:
Thousands of drunken Santas terrorized Lower Manhattan when they flooded into the neighborhood for SantaCon earlier this month, openly flouting public drinking and urination laws, locals say.
Angry residents attended Community Board 1′s Monday night meeting to complain about the latest incarnation of the annual pub crawl, whose participants have been allowed to grow more rowdy every year, they say.
“There was public urination, people vomiting all over the place, open containers and no police,” said John Fratta, chairman of the Seaport/Civic Center Committee[.]