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'There is nothing 'wrong' with Halloween': New Yorker spoofs cross-cultural fear and loathing in the classroom

This week's edition of The New Yorker features a send-up of cross-cultural, cross-class holiday fear that is so hilariously dead-on, it made me laugh and wince at once.

Maria Semple's short fiction piece is a series of imagined emails from a preschool teacher, Emily, to the parents of her students after she sets up a Día de los Muertos altar to teach the kids about the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. Emily's emails become progressively desperate as she responds to (presumably non-Latino) parents protesting the word "dead," religious dogma and whether there is anything "wrong' with Halloween." An email from a Mexican-born school employee who tries to help only makes things worse. It all goes downhill from here:

Hi again.

Because I"ve gotten some questions about my last e-mail, there is nothing "wrong" with Halloween. The Day of the Dead is the Mexican version, a time of remembrance.

Many of you chose Little Learners because of our emphasis on global awareness. Our celebration on Friday is an example of that. The skulls we"re decorating are sugar skulls. I should have made that more clear.


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