Of course I remembered that today is f??rste mai, the first of May: labour day. I admired the flags as I walked into town, strident iambic verses drumming through my head in the place of the marching bands of labour days long gone: Stryk kristenkorset av ditt flagg og heis det rent og r??dt! I’d completely forgotten, though, that of course the shop where I was planning to buy a new summer dress was closed. It’s labour day. You don’t work on labour day. Unless you still have blog reviews and blog redesigns to grade. I only have seven left now.

The walk home was lovely, though. I even did some stickering.

I know you aren't into war and everything but don't you get excited when we win a battle or bomb a target or anything? A good target? No. No thrill? Do you have any relatives in the military? Well, yeah, my uncle was in World War II. Not pulled out of a helicopter in Vietnam and brained.

13 thoughts on “instead of a summer dress

  1. tok

    A Canadian collegue, who used to live in US, mentioned that they didn’t have such a holiday over there. “I bet”, was my answer: “…invented by an anarchist and adapted by the communists! – Not likely to become popular in America!”.
    He laughed..

  2. Jill

    Actually, you know, May first is labour day to commemorate AMERICAN unionists, who in 1886 demanded an eight-hour workday. On May 1 of that year, workers around the country went on strike. On May 4 there were horrible riots in the Haymarket in Chicago, probably largely due to police aggression, several men were hung, including men who weren’t even at the riots. My guidebook to Chicago describes it as “one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the US.” President Cleveland, worrying that the riots be commemorated by more riots, promptlydecided that Labour Day would be the first Monday in September. Not May first.

    The Paris international, however, declared May 1 an international labour day in commemoration of these demonstrations. That is why we celebrate May 1 as labour day.

    It’s interesting to consider how strikingly successful US politicians have been, historically, at manipulating the public memory, not only of their own citizens but of the globe. We’re so used to thinking of the USA as the epitomy of capitalism that we’ve even forgotten that the ORIGINS of labour day came from American unionists and workers.

    The Wikipedia has a pretty thorough explanation of it all, and there’s plenty of other sources too.

  3. asterix

    It would be nice to celebrate the first of May in Holland. But we don’t. We celebrate the day of labour at…work:

  4. Lawrence Krubner

    I’m an America and I’m often astounded at the level of amnesia I run into even relating to recent events. I’m 36 years old and my peers often don’t know the dates of things that happended during our childhoods. A good friend of mine was stunned when I mention during a conversation that the last American troops left Vietnam in 1975, she said she thought the Vietnam war happened during the 1960s. I’ve met several teenagers who aren’t sure which years Ronald Reagan was President. Good friends of mine are uncertain when, exactly, WWII was, and very few of them know when WWI was. They say that September 11, 2001, will never be forgotten, but I am quite sure it will be forgotten. I have never been able to over-estimate the level of amnesia in this country, even when I’m trying to force myself to exaggerate.

  5. Lawrence Krubner

    What do the words say on that sticker? I’d like to know, but I can’t read it.

  6. nick

    A larger photo is here, and there is information about the project, including PDFs of all the stickers, here.

  7. Lawrence Krubner

    My friends went out and covered the town where I live with stickers similar to the one you show here. They go out around 3 AM dressed all in black so hopefully the police won’t see them in the dark, and they put up anti-war stickers all over the town.

  8. Jill

    Ooh. And here I was walking around stickering in broad daylight, insouciant as you like.

    Perhaps Implementation should require its performers (uh, readers) to wear black and perform midnight rais. It would heighten the dramatic effect of the narrative, or at least of an extradiegetic level of the narrative. The photos wouldn’t be much good though.

  9. Matt

    Insouciance, rather than ninja behaviour, ought to be a requirement for stick-lit publishers. This got me looking for a sticky text that wasn’t US-cultured. Anyone know? Or should I get formatting? You can probably tell I have exams to mark.

  10. Jill

    I don’t actually know of any other sticker novels than Implementation. Perhaps there are none?

    You could write the first British sticker novel 🙂

    Scott and Nick have caved in to European pressure and provided an A4 version of their project, though.

  11. Lawrence Krubner

    Nice. I’ll have to point my friends at Implementations.

  12. Matt

    Jill: You could write the first British sticker novel.

    Matt: I could. Part 1 is going well, thanks to the miracle of the anthological method (verbal collage). A reviewer is needed. Any offers?

  13. Jill

    Sure, Matt, I might even stick em up. The stickers, I mean.


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