Giving the natural world a greater presence in our streets... |
What is meant by "No Pets"?
Check out this email discussion...
Just a thought...
For the No Pets rule, wouldn't it be more accurate to say "we don't have any real non-human animals in the procession..."
John D., Shelton WA
Thanks for the thought John...
As you can imagine, we have had lots of comments about our rules, serious and humorous, and some with all sorts of justifications for skipping around the obvious intent.
The "No Pets" rule is no exception. It seems simple enough, but years ago, we migrated from "No Pets" to "No Live Animals" because folks would bring in snakes and ferrets etc, saying they weren't really pets. The explanation: "They are still wild because if you released them into nature they would survive." From "No Live Animals" we then migrated to "No Live Pets" because we got pinched for the fact that because humans are animals too, human participation contradicts the "No Live Animals" rule, and thus: "I can show up with my dog if humans get to show up too." And so it goes...
To be honest, as a community, we have really done excellent with all of this Even so, the latest outcome of the "No Live Pets" declaration, is that we are now getting an influx of "furries," (store bought, full body cartoonish costumes of Goofy, blue foxes, green bears, etc.) that are typically seen in standard parades. It is interesting to note that the manufactured costumes that people wear are sometimes very emblematic of a personal cause, sometimes they are worn as avatars, and for others, the costumes are really like pets to the wearer, as I was bemused to discover. So for the later folks, when I asked if simply saying "No Pets" was a little clearer in suggesting that they save their costumes for a real parade - not the Procession, they did respond favorably. To be honest, one of the reason it works out well for everyone, is because there are lots of parades where furries can participate and be right in stride.
Understandably, furries are not the critical affront on the sensibilities of the Procession such as groups advertising their organization. But nor is it the intent behind the Procession to mascot the natural world with obvious commercial products. As I always politely point out... the intent of the Procession is to elevate the dignity of the human spirit by enhancing our cultural connection to the natural world through the languages of art, music and dance. I do ask those with
furries if their costumes are reflective of such languages, but what I am really asking is for folks to look around and ask themselves if they are there for the intent of the Procession, or just to be in their own carnival. No one is ever asked to leave, but folks do appreciate where I am coming from and that is all that I ask. People can make their own choices from there.
As it is, we may be heading full circle and back to simply saying "No Pets" and leave it at that.
I suppose we could declare "Only human animals are allowed" but that, when you think of might start showing up, is a whole other can of worms!
Come on down to the Community Art Studio sometime,
-Eli Sterling, Director
Thanks for taking the time to send such a thoughtful response. By the way, I like the three simple rules - they all make sense, and I agree with your sentiments about the "furries" - the Disney-like costumes looked out of place to me as well.
I'm assuming you are among the original instigators of this event. I moved to the Olympia area 15 years ago, so I just missed the very first Procession, but I've only missed it twice since then.
The goals of promoting community participation, individual creativity and awareness of the natural world have all been realized in a beautiful way. It is a multi-sensory delight that just seems to get better each year. My thanks to you and the other organizers. I'm not sure that just any town could pull this off - I think Olympia has something special going, and the Procession is the best example of what is so endearing about this community.
John D., Shelton WA