The case against Santa
Oh, I know Santa seems nice enough on the face of it. The presents, the reindeer, the ho-ho-hoing. But look a little deeper and a far more disturbing picture emerges…
He’s been around for a few hundred years, so maybe we should cut him some slack. But in 2013, do we really want to categorise our children according to the reductive Manichean dichotomy between ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ – let alone subject them to the arbitrary judgement of this remote, patriarchal figure from the North Pole? Frankly, the guy needs to get some philosophical nuance, and fast.
Like Bono, Santa is a hugely popular figure who wields considerable political influence. He could use his power for good by becoming an agent of redistribution and sending a powerful message about equality. Instead, he chooses to endorse the status quo and reinforce entrenched privilege.
See how he ensures that the spoils of capitalism go not to the workers who produce them, but to those who own the means of production. The children of rich parents get the most expensive presents! It’s an unsubtle, almost Pavlovian tactic, but it’s clearly effective in securing the hearts and minds of the next bourgeois generation.
His corporate mission, giving toys to kids, seems laudable enough. But the business model is deeply flawed. With annual overheads in the billions, but no revenue from customers or any other source, you don’t have to be Richard Branson to see that the numbers just don’t add up.
Who’s really footing the bill for all those Nintendo DSes? Mr Claus, if that is his name, clearly has some rich and powerful backers that he’s keeping very quiet about. And as we speculate on who they might be, we have to consider the issue of…
Illegal surveillance of civilian population
He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. Basically, he’s the perfect partner for the NSA.
Taking domestic surveillance way beyond emails and browser history, and visiting every home in the world, Santa is the ultimate intelligence operative. With the cash he gets for putting his twice-checked list on a flash drive, he can employ all the elves he wants. But then again…
Oppressive employment conditions
There must be more to Santa’s euphemistically named ‘little helpers’ than meets the eye. Wrapping presents all year round in freezing conditions, apparently with no access to their families, and everyone’s always smiling?
Sorry, but I’m not buying it. Santa’s the Kim Jong-il of the North Pole, demanding unstinting toil and eternal cheerfulness with the implicit threat of ‘disappearance’ never far away. And on top of that, he even uses animal labour to pull his sleigh!
Alcohol and substance abuse
We’ve all over-indulged on Christmas Eve. But if one of your mates was staggering around every house in the world, and sinking a shot in every one, you’d be on to AA for an intervention before the Queen’s Speech.
Like many an outwardly respectable alcoholic, Santa keeps up appearances by sticking to acceptable suburban tipples like sherry, brandy and whisky. But it all adds up. And we need to face facts: we are all enablers of his addiction.
Some older publications even dare to show him with his pipe (see picture), which is clearly full to the brim with festive cinnamon-scented crack. And to top it all, he smokes that stuff in somebody else’s house.
Maybe the drink and drugs would be OK if Santa was getting down to Greens on an off-peak membership. But it’s clear his lifestyle is dangerously sedentary. For 364 days of the year he’s jovially cracking the whip up north – and on the 365th, he just sits there on his ample red-fur-clad buttocks while the long-suffering reindeer drag him round the world. Eating mince pies the whole way. Well, he won’t be chortling when the cholesterol test comes back.
The prosecution rests
The facts are there for all to see. Santa’s not a happy old soul with a twinkle in his eye and a sack full o’ gifts. He’s a smoking, drinking, overweight, reactionary slave-driver who shills for the spooks. So I say block the chimney, keep the Harvey’s in the cabinet and let’s start agitating for a more liberal replacement.
- Thanks to all those who contributed to the Twitter conversation that inspired this post: @twobuttondave, @GoodGrammarComp, @jaymiethomas and @jseanallen.
Tags: alcohol abuse, crack cocaine, Father Christmas, Kim Jong-il, manichean conflict, moral absolutism, NSA, obesity, Santa Claus