The Challenge: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
How does that make you feel? The twist is to read it aloud, listening for your unique voice throughout the piece.
Note: I couldn’t come up with anything from my REAL life, so I had to be creative. Hopefully.
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I am writing today to protest the closing of the Annual Bumbershoot Festival. I’ve been attending this event for the past forty years and I think I can speak for others who say – what the firetruck?
I started attending the Festival when I was a wee lassie, tagging along with my Great Aunt Mildred who frequently won ribbons for “Most Delightful Bumbershoot,” “Most Congenial Bumbershoot,” and the coveted “Va Va Voom” award.
It was the Va Va Voom award ribbons hanging from her mantle that first got me interested in the art of the Bumbershoot. Aunt Mildred lent me books and monographs on the history of Bumbershooting, along with the cultural criticism penned by none other than Camile Paglia herself! If anyone could disect the cultural significance of the Bumbershoot, Ms. Paglia could do it. From the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the Postmodern heroes like Foucault, Paglia’s deconstruction of Bumbershooting entranced me.
I’ll never forget attending my first Bumbershoot Festival. Wasn’t it peculiar that among all the various Bumbershoots, it was the violet-hued “Bumbershootist” that attracted me and years later, in graduate school, I wrote my master’s thesis on this particular Bumbershoot. I attach a copy of my thesis which is titled: “The Violet Bumbershootist: A Critical Examination of the Psycholinguistic Etiology of a Cultural Artifact from the Middle Ages to Modernity”. I know – I felt the thesis wrote itself.
You folks put on a great Festival year after year. I especially enjoyed the skits performed by the leading Bumbershoot authorities in their alter egos “The Vainglorious Variety of Bumbling Bumbers”. What a stitch these guys and gals were! I would laugh so hard, my tears would start.
Now I only cry.
I know that in recent years, the attendance has been down. It is hard to interest the youth in the traditions. They have such short attention spans, what with Facebook, Twitter and Video Games.
Which is why I have been diligently attempting to interest several videogame companies in my idea for a first person shooter game called “Red Bumber” which would involve our hero (or heroine – I’m not going to be accused of being sexist, here, nosireebob!) initially going into the caves of France and with a sense of the majestic, finding the original cave paintings of the Bumbershoot. From there, like the history books tell us, he (or she) will cross the Fjords of Norway and the Steppes of Russia, discovering and cultivating the infinite variety of Bumbershoots and meeting the challenges as they arise. At various points, he (or she!) would fight the “Boss Bumble” a fearsome creature that seeks to destroy all the Bumbershoots left on the earth.
I think the game would go a long way in interesting young people in the ancient craft of Bumbershooting. I know I might have been interested earlier had there been some rock lyrics written and sung by, well, who else but The Beatles (who I have on good authority were very clandestine Bumbershooters . . . until that bitch Yoko Ono broke up the blokes.)
Right now, we could sure use the musical stylings of Sir Paul McCartney!
Lastly, if it is about money, I would encourage the organization consider corporate sponsors. Off the top of my head, I would think both Slurpee and Oscar Meyer Weiners (or perhaps Hebrew National) would be proud to be official sponsors of the yearly Festival, as their products are so tied to the Bumbershoot. If not them, then perhaps John Deere Tractors? I mean, the possibilities are endless!
So I hope you will reconsider. The Bumbershoot Festival is both cultural landmark and yearly pilgrimage for many of us not-so-secret Bumbershooters.
May the Bumbershoot Always Pffffft!