It’s graduation season; a time of pomp and circumstance.
For years I just took the term “pomp and circumstance” for granted. I never asked what it meant. I just assumed it to be a highfalutin to-do such as a graduation or the name of that annoying tune that gets played over and over like a stuck record.
It turns out that both are right. “Pomp and Circumstance” is the name of that music played so exasperatingly at graduations. It also means “splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss” according to Dictionary.com.
Anyone who has ever spent even five minutes at a graduation can certainly understand the ceremony part of it. If you have ever prepared for a graduation or prepared someone for graduation, you understand what the fuss is all about.
Let’s take this a step further, shall we? I looked up the word “pomp” to get a better feel for its meaning. The dictionary says it is a noun that means “stately or splendid display; splendor; magnificence.” It also means “ostentatious or vain display, especially of dignity or importance.” Both would seem to apply at most graduations I’ve been to.
Looking even deeper, its Greek and Latin roots mean procession or “to send.” It also had meaning as “worldly display” and “vain show.” It is also a root for the word pompous, which means “ostentatiously dignified or self-important.” We also get pompadour, which I’m pretty sure has something to do with Elvis and thus fits appropriately with all of the aforementioned definitions.
Following my twisted logic, I think we can safely say that “pomp” means “Elvis has left the building.”
The word “circumstance” is a little more complex (or in modern vernacular “it’s complicated”). Dictionary.com gives several definitions for “circumstance” but for the most part it means “situation” or “existing conditions.” Another meaning is “a person’s surrounding or environment.”
So, we must reach the conclusion that “pomp and circumstance” means “Conditions were such that Elvis left the building.” (I’ll leave it to your imagination as to why Elvis had to leave.)
In many ways, that is similar to what high school and college graduates are experiencing. Conditions are such (meaning they have met all the requirements) that they must leave the building (school). The educational institution wraps this departure in great fanfare with a lot of dignity, splendor and music that gets stuck in your head for hours or even days. (Just be thankful it isn’t traditionally played on bagpipes!)
In all seriousness now, I do want to give the Class of 2016 this brief bit of advice. Always do the three L’s: Learning, living and loving. Learning is for a lifetime. Living is to express your life and passions with gusto. Loving is the selfless act of giving of yourself to others. If you can do that, you will go very far in life.
Comic Con season is here
Last weekend was the Space City Comic Con at NRG Center. Comic cons generally stand for the three C’s: Comics, celebrities and costumes.
C1: As it says in the name, cons are about comic books. Modern comic cons are a merger of traditional comic book conventions – where the focus was on the art, artists and writers and science fiction conventions that primarily started out as expressions of fandom for “Star Trek” and later “Star Wars” and other science fiction and fantasy films and television shows.
The San Diego Comic Con is the granddaddy of them all and has grown into a cultural event rivaling the Oscars or the Super Bowl. Houston got onto the comic con map a few years ago with Comicpalooza and more recently with Space City Comic Con. Comicpalooza has traditionally been held Memorial Day weekend at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This year it is June 17-19 and Space City Comic Con filled the Memorial Day weekend void.
Both of these conventions have comics at their root. Comics are also at the root of a lot of the pop culture celebrated at the conventions, including movies, anime, gaming and costuming. The big attraction, however, are the celebrities. Without comics we don’t have a lot of the movies and TV shows that are so popular today.
C2: Conventions are where fans can meet celebrities and pay through the nose for autographs and photo ops. Big names come to town to hobnob with the commoners. Last weekend brought the likes of William Shatner, Brent Spiner, Ron Perlman and the cast of Sons of Anarchy. Later this month, Comicpalooza will reunite the cast of “Aliens” including Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn and Paul Reiser. Darth Vader actor David Prowse will be there along with Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), the young voice actresses from “Frozen”, and actors Tara Reid, Bill Paxton and Lou Ferrigno, to name just a few. Let’s face it, you can’t go to Hollywood and expect to see this many famous movie stars in one place. That doesn’t include the comic book artists and writers and the numerous book authors who attend these things.
C3: Costuming can be every bit as entertaining at comic cons as meeting celebrities. You get a wide variety of costumers – or cosplayers as they are often called – from people wearing cheesy Halloween costumes to some very elaborate and creative getups. There are even professional cosplayers who make the convention rounds, sometimes as invited celebrity guests. Their costumes are amazing and they love posing for photos with fans (some times for a small fee; usually to benefit a charity). It’s this group of super fans who lead to the unspoken but very visible fourth C – cleavage. I’ll let you figure that one out yourself.
Although I’ve mentioned quite a bit here, this is the proverbial tip of the iceberg of the whole Comic Con experience. If you’ve never been to one, Comicpalooza is a great place to start. There are smaller ones throughout the year across the region but Comicpalooza is one of the biggest and best in Texas.