Friday, December 3, 2010

The reason for Santa Claus

 Doofus, but that doesn't mean he's not being mistreated.

Warning: This post contains spoilers about the "holiday season."

Jon Gosselin, the father from the old television show "Jon ampersand Kate plus 8," has been getting angry  phone calls lately. Not, as you might expect, because he's a jerk and a goofball and it's fun to call jerks and goofballs and tell them that they're jerks and goofballs -- no, Mr. Gosselin is getting angry phone calls because there is no Santa Claus.
The Gosselin children have been accused of spoiling Christmas for fellow students after telling them that Santa does not exist.

"The kids don't believe in Santa Claus, and they're telling other kids at school that there is no Santa Claus," a close friend of the family told

Children as young as six were told that "your parents are lying to you," causing reality TV dad Jon to receive calls from stunned parents upset that Santa Claus was exposed as a fraud.
First, how is it "spoiling Christmas" to reveal that there is no literal Santa Claus? Are these children so weak, their parents so dull, that learning a truth about the world is going to spoil a holiday that runs for over a month and in which everyone is forced to participate, lest they be accused of being a "scrooge" (a misunderstood heroic literary figure, by the way)?

Second, good for the Gosselin children for not believing in Santa Claus. Think about this -- they've lived their entire lives in the "reality tv" fantasy land. They have every excuse to believe in fairy tales, particularly this one, as I'll soon explain. But they don't. At least, they don't believe in this one. There's hope for them.

Third -- children as young as six? Does that seem a little old to still believe in Santa Claus? I don't know, since I'm not around children very often. But would it really be damaging to a six year-old to learn there's no (literal) Santa Claus?

Fourth, if you go around telling people that there is an actual, literal person who wears a big red costume, flies around with reindeer and sneaks into your home to give rewards to children who have been deemed to have been "good" (i.e., done exactly what Mommy and Daddy told them like good little mindless robots), then you are lying to them. It's a bit disingenuous to become angry when someone calls you a liar, after you've been lying to someone.

Fifth, what the hell kind of jerk calls the parent of a child who tells their own child that there's no Santa Claus? How arrogant do you have to be to feel entitled to harass someone over something so trivial? If his child struck another child, then, yes, by all means. But to pick up the phone over a statement of fact? Kids, there is no Superman, either.

Sixth, the article states that parents were upset that "Santa Claus was exposed as a fraud." This is patently false, if the rest of the article is to be believed. It was the lying parents who were exposed as frauds. Santa Claus is a fictional character. How can a fictional character be "exposed as a fraud"?

Santa Claus was created by parents to frighten their children into "behaving." He came into existence before television, when parents needed something to get their kids to shut the hell up and stay docile while they did -- whatever it was they did. Life was hard. People had to hunt to find meat, and grow vegetables. They had to build their own homes with their own hands, on land that they themselves had to clear. Disease was rampant, and they didn't know about germs. If you got even the slightest infection, you could end up with an amputation. And this was before they had anesthetics.

Life was nasty, brutish, and short, as I believe Thomas Hobbes once wrote.

So, yes, at one time, there was a reason, a very good reason, for Santa Claus, or some similar figure.

Today, his existence is perpetuated for commercial reasons, and to give extraordinarily lazy parents one more figure of menace to lord over children. "You'd better be good for goodness' sake, because HE sees you when you're sleeping."

The Gosselin kids, who have been followed around by cameras their entire lives, have every reason to believe in such a bizarre, unsavory fictional character. They have been under constant surveillance. Good for them for  helping to spread the word that he doesn't exist.

Not literally, anyway. If these parents who are "stunned" that their lies have been exposed want to pursue the fiction, why can't they have enough sense to tell their "distraught" children, "Santa Claus isn't a literal person. He is the personification of the spirit of the holiday," or whatever Yes Virginia nonsense they want to lay on them.

How lazy are these parents that they couldn't even think to do that -- and instead called to harass the jerk Jon Gosselin?

Speaking of the spirit of the season, you can get this image on a T-shirt, or on a poster. They make a lovely gift, especially for those children who might be wavering in their belief in the Claus.

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