Submitted by Pachamama
We are working with a few ideas.
The people who seem to know, like to consider a culture as the beliefs, enactments, values, mores, stories and maybe traditions of a people. We always talk about the dead-endedness of the political and economic cultures in the Caribbean but it is also difficult to measure any higher level of vibrancy in any other aspects of the general ‘culture’. This is true from Trinidad to Barbados, as we will argue, if we are permitted to use Carnival and Crop Over as metrics.
The project to create a new Caribbean identity is no more visible in Jamaica than it is in St. Lucia and it is doubtful how festivals contribute. The radio call-in programs seemed to have served their purpose of absorbing critical public expression, as a release valve, like these festivals, but not much more. The market share of church attendees maybe more and more consolidating into a business organizational revivalist camp. They take their orders from elsewhere. In all this, it is difficult to reconcile the visionary, even hopeful, articulations by eminent Caribbean statesmen/women of yesterday, people like CLR James, Lloyd Best, the Great George Lamming, William Demas, Derrick Walcott, Rex Nettleford, Michael Manley and others, with what is happening today. Thankfully, none of these could have sung the praises of the queen and accept a knighthood.
Maybe it is a function of age but none of the carnival festivals in the Caribbean hold any particular excitement any more, seem chronically staid, represent a ‘monotony of a sameness’ year after year, unable to transform themselves far less their societies, but pass for the most popular cultural expressions still. And we seem not to be able to break out of this downward spiral. Disconnected from the visions which our leading sons and daughters held for us. We can no longer see the wisdom of writing another social commentary, as a calypsonian.