Today is Mad Hatter Day. I stumbled across the following explanatory bit of information at Ari Rapkin’s website. His birthday is the day following Mad Hatter Day.
MadHatterDay is a holiday in October. It fills the need for a second crazy day in the year, almost exactly half a year from April Fools’ Day. The real spirit of MadHatterDay is turnabout: The nonsense we usually have to pretend is sane can be called madness for one day in the year; the superficially crazy things that really make sense can be called sane on MadHatterDay.
I looked into this matter because a performer is entertaining at an establishment this evening in my locality, and crediting the reason with being it’s Mad Hatter Day.
MadHatterDay is 10/6. The date was chosen from the illustrations by John Tenniel in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, wherein the Mad Hatter is always seen wearing a hat bearing a slip of paper with the notation “In this style 10/6”. We take this as inspiration to behave in the style of the Mad Hatter on 10/6 (which is October 6 here, although in Britain MadHatterDay occurs on June 10…but I digress…) Some astute observers have noted that the paper in the Mad Hatter’s Hat was really an order to make a hat in the style shown, to cost ten shillings sixpence. However, it is well known that Time Is Money, and therefore Money Is Time, and therefore 10/6 may as well be the sixth of October.
Alices Adventures go on and on, don’t they? Nonsense prevails.
MadHatterDay began in Boulder, CO, in 1986, among some computer folk who had nothing better to do. It was immediately recognized as valuable because they caused less damage than if they’d been doing their jobs. It was announced that first year on computer networks. In 1987 it gained minor local recognition. In 1988, it was first recognized as an official holiday by an area business, and also received its first national press coverage by news services (who are always desperate for an unlikely story). It is almost certain that the national election also gave MadHatterDay a good boost in 1988.
Good things generally come in threes, don’t they?
My interest in this matter is that I’ve been working on bringing Mad Pride celebrations and a Mad Pride Day to Florida. I would imagine that there could be a relationship between these Mad Hatter Day events and Mad Pride. Mad Pride though is more closely related to Gay Pride, and if you’ve got any questions about that subject, I advise you to do a little research. Mad Hatter Day celebrates silliness. Mad Pride shows up the silliness of seriousness, and the seriousness of silliness, for what they are. There’s a difference. Mad Pride celebrates difference. Mad Pride is completely serious about its silliness.
I read an article recently referring to what it termed the normality of madness. I would like to add that there is generally much madness in what is commonly referred to as normality. I’ve read articles from a certain psychiatrist who would make presidents Kennedy, Lincoln and Roosevelt out to be nuts while seeing sanity in presidents Reagan, Bush, and Nixon. I just don’t think so…AT ALL. Look deeper, and the veneer of normality vanishes. Mad pride says it’s okay to be different. We’re fine with that. We won’t lock you up for it either.
Thinking, not so deeply on the subject at all, maybe Mad Hatter Day would be a good day to schedule a Mad Pride event on in the future.
A Mad Pride Day and a Mad Hatter Day makes a lot more sense to me than a Mental Illness Awareness Day or a Mental Health Awareness Day. Regarding the later pair, take your pick, they’re both the same. I think that that is a day we frankly don’t need to be made aware of. Maybe if we called it Psychiatric Disorder Labeling Day instead that would make more sense. Madness, on the other hand, is fine. If this is your day to go bonkers, make the best of it. We’re with you on this matter.