#71 Santacon 2011
There’s a phenomenon in psychology called ‘de-individuation’. Essentially, this is when, if you’re in a large crowd of similarly-dressed people, you lose your personal sense of identity and even your morality, and become part of a faceless, surging, id-driven mob.
Santacon is like the world carnival of de-individuation.
if you weren’t already scarred by it a couple of weeks ago: it’s is the dubious concept of gathering in central London, dressed as Father Christmas, and then walking around, hoping nothing appalling happens.
Dress enough people up like the same thing – monks, soldiers, Beaker from the Muppets – and it becomes scary. There’s just something a bit fascist about it. And there’s something eerie about seeing a mob form without any point to it. Particularly in 2011, when we’ve become accustomed to the mathematics of mass protest, seeing hundreds and thousands gather to make a point, or stand up to The Man, or just steal things from Aldi. This rings particularly true for the redshirted Santa stormtroopers, faces hidden by sinister beards, clutching cans of Special Brew, laughing in my city – laughing! Out loud! Some of them might even have talked to people to who they had not previously been introduced. Anarchy!And the implied incitement to violence doesn’t stop with the attendees themselves. In this context, dressing up as Santa just makes everybody that much more punchable.
The Santacon website’s very sweet, urging all participants to be nice and avoid trouble – but they might as well be asking lemmings to adopt an exciting new no-cliffs policy. I mean, we didn’t actually see anyone getting into trouble, not with our actual eyes, but it must have happened. Must have. Oh God. We’re terrible people.
So, in summary, bah humbug, throw away the key, nobody have fun at Christmas again, okay? Cheers.