Day of the Obscure

Frequently Asked Obscure Questions


Q: What is Day of the Obscure?

A:  Day of the Obscure is a holiday celebrating people, places and things (also verbs and adverbs) that are obscure.  It's the holiday of the future, when we will all be obscure except for 15 minutes. Instead of worshipping George Washington, we salute Martin van Buren's podiatrist.  Instead of Niagara Falls, we visit Achzivland.  It's celebrated by doing or visiting something obscure.

Q: When was Day of the Obscure founded, and why?

A:  Day of the Obscure (DOTO) was started in 1987 in reaction against the hero-worship idealism of such Famous Peoples Days as Columbus Day, "Presidents'" Day, MLK Day, etc. With the possible exception of Guy Fawkes Day, no popular holidays celebrate any truly interesting people, which makes sense: fame and true significance are opposites. We all know it is the obscure people, the unknown, the silent cabals and seemingly unimportant associations, which are from any worthwhile perspective far more cool, whether they wield secret powers or just chant stuff.  Moreover, most of us are not wooden-teethed American revolutionaries or neo-Thoreauvian civil rights heroes. Most of us are Martin Van Buren's wigmaker. We must aspire to be great, not famous. And must achieve our greatness in obscurity, probably.

Q: How is it celebrated?

A: You can celebrate Day of the Obscure along one of two paths: the obscure/Lesser-Vehicle/Hinayana/ Katnut/Yin path, and the elevating-the-obscure/ Greater-Vehicle/Mahayana/ Gadlut/Yang path.

Followers of the former path celebrate Day of the Obscure by doing acts that go almost totally unnoticed, thus imitating the obscure ways of the Day's honorees. They may wear their socks backwards or wash their right sides before their left. They may endeavor to include the vowel 'y' in every sentence. They commit obscure commemorations that no one can notice unless they are Noticing.

Followers of the greater path celebrate the Day publicly, often by making a hajj.  Some recent highlights:
1994: A group of DOTOphiles convened at Ludwig L. Zamenhof (the polish oculust-inventor of Esperanto) street in Tel Aviv before training to Ramle for a barbecue/fish-fry.
1994 a group made a pilgrimage to the home of Allen Ginsburg's half-brother's shrine in New England. And a group of subgenii honored Connie, Bob's wife, for a change. Sort of James-Joyce-Molly's-Chapter kind of vibe.
1996: A troupe of Obscurantists went on a pilgrimage to Atlantic City by way of Cheesequake, New Jersey, to compete in the Jeopardy! tryouts, whilst others watched a group of elephants enter Manhattan via the Midtown tunnel.
1998: A ragtag band went to the Jerusalem Tax Museum.
1999: A group of obscurantists flew down to Vieques, Puerto Rico (before it got famous in that air force base dispute) and dedicated the Isthmus of Obscurity on a deserted beach-cove-isthmus place (photo in the album)
2000: Yet another contingent visited to Point d'Obscurite in the Dominican Republic, near Cabarete.
2001: Persian food and naked diaper theater were consumed in New York, apple orchards planned in Ohio.
2002: A Day of the Obscure Concert is planned, featuring music by Mouse and the Traps!
2003: Obscure poets and critics celebrate DOTO at Readings and Misreadings, at Makor in New York City.

Celebrate obscurity, Celebrate Day of the Obscure -- it's the only holiday that you'll ever get.

Q:  What's this about "Share the Vision"?

A:  Every year, Day of the Obscure has a catchy slogan to express just what it is that makes Obscurity so wonderful.  Past DOTO slogans are:
1987 catch the fever
1988 feel the magic
1989 live the adventure
1990 hosanna
1991 join the miracle
1992 taste the excitement
1993 seize the moment
1994 touch the spirit
1995 follow the dream
1996 heed the call
1997 face the music
1998 see the light
1999 ride the wave
2000 selah
2001 keep the faith
2002 share the vision
2003 sense the power

Q:  Is that all?

A:  No, you should be sure to tell all your friends to observe Day of the Obscure.  You may Email the Consortium with questions, palaver , suggestions for Official Thangs, and parsley.


Worldwide DOTO Consortium
American Sektor
Propaganda Column


This Page first installed on March 18, 1997, the Tenth Anniversary Day of the Obscure.
Most recent update: March 9, 2003
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