Let’s have a hobotomy!Posted: August 3, 2011
Today Regretsy featured a critique of what is potentially one of the most hilariously stupid public displays of ignorance that has ever been tied up in cute little raffia bow. The Depression era hobo themed wedding.
Originally featured on Etsy’s blog, this wedding has stirred up a fair amount of controversy because…well…it’s a depression era hobo themed wedding.
Allow me to explain. Sarah and Brian decided that they wanted to have what “very well may be the first hobo-themed wedding” (you know, except for the weddings of actual poor people during the depression). So they ‘entwined their boot laces’ and ‘shared a bean’ amongst all the hobo kitsch that $15,000 could buy. In the original blog post on Etsy, the couple say that they wanted to create something “unfussy, honest, beautiful, fun and, most importantly, from the heart” by dressing up as homeless people while throwing a $15,000 dollar party.
But don’t be fooled, it wasn’t all fun and games! Months of back breaking labour went into fossicking on the internet for burlap sacks, antique quilts (which were then cut up into table runners- take that, history!) and bindle bouquets. Endless hours were put into creating cutlery wind chimes, feed sack dresses and…is that a big pile of wood?
I could actually get behind this wedding if it were designed as some kind of homage to the endurance of the human spirit, even through great adversity. You know, a way to honour the joy, love and community that was celebrated by those who suffered during the Depression and drew happiness from what little they had.
But unfortunately, the inspiration behind this wedding seems to be “poverty is cute when it’s coloured by the comfortable distance afforded by time”.
Even though the couple say they wanted to get ‘back to basics’ by throwing a simple wedding, the fact that so much effort went into desperately torturing every aspect of this wedding so that it would look good in a sepia-toned photograph, suggests otherwise. Simplicity would imply not scouring the internet for ‘jug bands’ and sourcing one of a kind, feed sack overalls.
You don’t need the 1920’s to make things simple. Yes, nostalgia evokes escapism and how much ‘simpler things were back then’, but the wedding isn’t 1920’s themed. It’s 1920’s HOBO themed. It’s specifically geared towards homelessness. Because being desperately poor is apparently so adorably straight forward.
This is a desperate misunderstanding of what poverty actually means. This couple appears to think that it means that everyone sits around eating corn and swapping home-truths, or sitting back and watching the mosquitoes dance among the grass while composing a ditty on your ukulele about your childhood sweetheart. It’s definitely not about working like a dog, increased crime, broken families, suicide, disease and early death. No. It’s about harmonicas and twine.
Apparently vintage can make anything adorable, even debilitating poverty and disease.
There are so many things that could have been done to make the wedding less offensive, or at least to exhibit some element of self-awareness and civic-mindedness, instead of a dogged determination towards making poverty whimsical for the pure enjoyment of it. For example, the couple could always have asked for people not to bring gifts and instead to donate money to charities that help the homeless and poor- therefore acknowledging that poverty is an ongoing problem across the world and that the desperation and pain that accompanies it isn’t a ‘theme’, it’s a reality.
Just because you’re homeless and riding the rails, that doesn’t mean that you’re “down to earth”, it means that you’re likely going to be covered in earth because you don’t have anywhere to bathe. And yes, while ‘hobo’ is an abbreviation for ‘homeward bound’ (a fact that so caught the couple’s heart), that doesn’t speak to the idea of uniting with a loved one, it speaks to the distance and longing that so many people had to endure due to their nomadic lifestyle of constantly travelling and searching for work. It speaks to the idea of perpetually living in a state of being ‘homeward bound’ because you DON’T HAVE A HOME.
I can see where Brian and Sarah were coming from, though. I’ve never told anyone this but I have always dreamed of having a refugee themed party. Eeeeeee! Can you imagine how darling?!
I figure that I’ll get my loved ones to lie around on the lawn (that will be marked by faux mortar shell holes) as if they’re dead! Teehee! I’ll get some nice calico head scarves that have been rubbed in the dirt, we can lay barbed wire down the middle of the table and hire an artist to paint fake bullet holes on our skin!!
The food will be made to look like rations distributed by the UN and every one will have to fill out a form pretending like they’re applying for asylum! What lols! Whoever thinks up the best back story for their refugee ‘character’ wins a humanitarian visa!
Then we’ll re-enact a perilous boat journey to an unknown land while our professional photographer takes photos of our comically exaggerated expressions of terror! Ooooops- we capsized!! Whimsical photo op! So many gigglebits!
It’s going to be such a dream. Oh and it’s not going to be offensive at all because I’m setting it back in the 1940’s so as to tie in with World War Two. You know…cause I love the fashion.