August 29, 2008

The Indignities of Youth

Der Spiegel has an interesting story on the El Colacho festival in the Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia. Dating back to 1620, the festival features a feat designed to drive evil away from the town: Baby jumping!

Or more properly, leaping over babies.

But let's get the order of events right. First, a parade gathers and focuses all the resident evil in Castrillo de Murcia's church. (It just does, okay?)

Men dressed as devils (and they’re well-dressed devils, too) take it from there. A number of them are outfitted as the diabolical figure known as El Colacho. (Definition, anyone?) Dressed in a bright yellow and red outfit, they flee the church, bound over the babies, and then keep going. This metaphorically removes all evil from both the infants and the town. One miraculous side-effect of all this is that the babies are instantly potty-trained.

Speaking of “diaper dandies,” 20-year old Andrew Simon represented Oregon as the youngest of its 59 delegate at the Democratic Convention. (Full disclosure: Andrew is a former student.) In addition to lending his considerable intellect to the proceedings, Mr. Simon was charged with holding up the right rally sign at the right time. As he wrote, “No! No! Hold up the ‘Strong Middle Class’ signs! The ‘Securing Our Future’ signs were for the last speaker!

Yeesh, the indignities meted out to the young.

Andrew was also sideswiped in a piece by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist in the process. The Willamette Week's Nigel Jaquiss had a feature article that took a jaundiced view of the relationship between Oregon's delegates and corporate donors. I guess it was just as well that Jaquiss doled out only a few words on Andrew at the end of the piece. Nonetheless, someone in layout ran a half-page closeup of Mr. Simon, that photogenic devil.

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