Thursday , 21 October 2021

Not Only Do Halloween Costumes Cross the Line, But Conversations About Them Do

Megyn Kelly, pictured, was fired last week after she commented about blackface used in Halloween costumes.

Pro-Line should throw up a gambling line next Halloween on the over/under amount of controversies surrounding Halloween costumes, what’s allowed and what’s not allowed, so I can bet the over and win some money.

The biggest controversy of the week is costume related. Actually, it’s a conversation about costumes.

The recent NBC exile, Megan Kelly, has not been the Princess Diana Sawyertype character the network had hoped since she left Fox News.

Her ratings have been meh. Her style perhaps a little too abrasive for NBC. Her personality generally disliked.

Well, that all came to a head a week ago. She guillotined herself in one of the great displays of irony in recent TV memory when discussing controversial Halloween costumes.

“There’s definitely going to be offense caused on Halloween,” Kelly said.

How foreboding.

Picture the scene: It’s the usual vapid daytime talk show set. A roundtable with esteemed news-y type guests. All the political vigour of The View, except the twist comes in a conservative package.

Roughly four minutes into the conversation, just after discussing the faux-pas of a dressing like a cowboy, or in a sexy Handmaid’s Tale costume, or even (and this one’s a little disturbing) Anne Frank, fellow panelist and NBC colleague Jacob Soboroff said:

“Freedom of expression is a beautiful thing, so is freedom of speech. That’s part of why I love living in the United States of America. If you’re going to dress like an idiot, act like an idiot, and actually dress and be racist, then someone should say something to somebody. But you should still be able to dress like a moron,” he said.

That’s when Kelly extended the point too far. As Soboroff finished his point, she said:

“But what is racist? Because, truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween, like, back when I was a kid that was OK as long as it was like a character,” Kelly said.

Soboroff almost cuts her off to say, “If someone feels it was offensive to them, then they should say it, and that’s fair game. And you should be able to take it if you’re going to dress up like that.”

“Yeah,” Kelly said. “You got to be able to take it.”

Then Melissa Rivers, Joan Rivers daughter, you know the same comedienne who was joking about Adele eating fried chicken up until her death, chimed in about the lack of politeness and manners in society today.

The levels of irony just within this thirty second clip is incredible.

Within days Kelly apologized, but the damage was done. Show gone. Al Roker and fellow colleagues disgusted. Her old high-school perturbed by the comment.

Her phrase on its own is of course harsh-sounding, and worse in print.

But it wasn’t as if Kelly’s purpose was to steer this topic of controversial Halloween costumes to a debate about the ugly history of blackface in culture, or engineer it back into practice.

If I had to guess, she was talking more about changing your skin complexion as part of a costume, not doing something overtly racist like blackface as part of a costume.

Would I recommend blackface as an amenity to your costume? Nope, I can’t say I would.

Should she have said what she did? Probably not.

But the spirit of the discussion about what should pass or shouldn’t pass as a Halloween costume is still murky, making the rules of Halloween more vague, racial or not.

One thing that is true is Kelly found out that blackface is entirely off-limits for a Halloween costume in literally millions of ways.

Unfortunately for me and you, no sportsbook like Pro-Line would dare venture into such a frivolous venture like allowing gambling on controversy, especially when tied to Halloween. They know like us that Halloween, a day meant for fun and light-hearted play, is going to cause offense nowadays: both when it’s justified and in all the grey areas that just haven’t been fleshed out.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.