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December 05, 2012

Santa Claus Runs Afoul of the Nanny State

Wethinks some of our more enlightened and tolerant brethren in Christ are going to find lumps of coal in their Festivus Footwarmers:

When Hampton held its annual Christmas parade on Saturday, Santa and Mrs. Claus were not allowed to wave from their traditional perch atop the town’s fire-department ladder truck. The reason: There are no restraints up there to keep them from falling off as the vehicle inches along at a walking pace. Earlier in the week, Deputy Fire Chief Jamie Ayotte had pointed out that National Fire Protection Association guidelines prohibit people from riding outside the truck. As a result, the Clauses were told they could ride inside the cab but not outside on the apparatus, according to the Hampton-North Hampton Patch.

Luckily, the fire department from nearby Rye came to the rescue, and the honored couple was able to join the parade strapped into the open-air seat of an antique firetruck instead.

Santa has been penalized for another bad habit — smoking. Book publisher and anti-smoking advocate Pamela McColl has taken issue with the well-known holiday poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” written by Clement C. Moore in 1823. The story contains the lines, “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth / And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.” The text is often accompanied by a drawing of the red-suited elf smoking a pipe.
Ms. McColl has published a modern version of the poem with the offending lines and artwork excised. “I just really don’t think Santa should be smoking in the 21st century,” she told the Telegraph of London. For folks like Ms. McColl, being a “right jolly old elf” doesn’t give Santa a pass from following the smoke-free rules of this politically correct age.

This story got the Editorial Staff thinking about all the coded racist dog whistles, misogyny, specie-ism, patriarchal triumphism, and cruelly exclusive and insulting imagery inflicted upon the proletariat during the so-called "holiday season". Consequently, we were heartened to see signs of a more evolved and inclusive celebratory aesthetic:

They dined on fried Oreos, vented their grievances and- because Festivus is all about feats of strength - they arm wrestled, Sumo wrestled and stuffed marshmallows in their mouths.

It was prime Festivus celebrating in Nashua Wednesday night as IUGO, a networking group for young and young-at-heart professionals, marked the holidays with the alternative party made famous by the sitcom, "Seinfeld."

For years, Festivus has been the celebration for the rest of us who aren't quite into the traditional holiday mode of operating.

"People who aren't married and don't have kids need a place to come," said Fouad Mahfuz, chairman of IUGO which is part of Nashua's Chamber of Commerce.

...The night started off with people airing their grievances via their Twitter accounts. Complaints were displayed on a screen at one end of the room.

There were short rants about heating bills, close talkers and several people mentioned their annoyance with the fiscal cliff.

At the other end of the room, people tossed bagels for points and competed for top honors in arm wrestling bouts. A prize was up for grabs for whoever came dressed in the ugliest sweater and plenty of people wore bight red knits with reindeers, Santas and bells.

Now if we could just do something about all that horrid music laced with coded intolerance? Maybe re-write some of the old standbys?

"Jolly Old Saint Nicholas"

Could stand to be updated to something a bit more sensitive:

"Happy, Plus-sized, Chronologically-Gifted, Highly Virtuous Nicholas"

We kept the term Nicholas to preserve some tradition. We are not implying that Nicholas has to be a male name and males are the only ones who are capable of amassing enough fortune and possessing the generosity to be able to give presents to masses of people. Nor are we implying that females lack the physical strength and endurance to accomplish such a task. In order to balance this mistaken perception, we shall apply modern day affirmative action in order to level down the male ego and help balance the playing field.

We haven't had a contest in quite some time. Perhaps you knuckle-dragging, racist trogolodites could stop chasing the almighty dollar long enough to lend a hand?

Posted by Cassandra at December 5, 2012 08:13 PM

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Santa is doomed, because the Federal Government has come to look on him as their chief competition.

Posted by: Grim at December 6, 2012 11:24 AM

He just needs re-education. Come the revolution, Santa's sleigh will have a low carbon footprint and sprinkle equality over the entire global community like fairy dust.

He can start by confiscating excessive holiday swag from the filthiest 1 percent and redistributing it to the 99%.

Festivus for the rest of us!

Posted by: Cass at December 6, 2012 11:59 AM

"Do You Hear What I Hear"

"Do You Sense What I Sense"

So, what--now we're cavalierly insulting us poor boors--the insensitive among us?

Come the revolution, Santa's sleigh will have a low carbon footprint and sprinkle equality over the entire global community like fairy dust.

How will that work, exactly? Rudolph will start wearing a b*p*g? And the entire team will drink up gallons of rich coffee before launching?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 6, 2012 12:41 PM

A holiday party spent ranting about the fiscal cliff! Hey, that sounds like fun.

This year's non-sectarian Solstice celebrations will receive an added piquancy from the specter of Mayan doom on the 21st. I'd better get to work getting my tree up.

Posted by: Texan99 at December 7, 2012 09:03 AM

This year's non-sectarian Solstice celebrations will receive an added piquancy from the specter of Mayan doom on the 21st. I'd better get to work getting my tree up.

Hmm.... Maybe it'll be your tree that's the final straw--piercing the celestial spheres and bringing about the end of the world. Might want to put a mouse on top of your tree, instead of the star or angel....

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 7, 2012 12:39 PM

Thank You For Smoking. One of my favorite movies. But it proves that what was considered hyperbolic satire a decade ago is reality very soon.

Posted by: JackB at December 10, 2012 10:48 AM