Sunday, December 15, 2013

Festivus for the rest of us

In keeping with the spirit of the Holiday season, or Festivus as some would call it, Fox news has begun its annual cries of victimhood, most notably in Megyn Kelly setting the record straight on Santa.  We can't have kids think that Santa is anything other than White, otherwise it wouldn't be a White Christmas.  But, Megyn wasn't content to leave it there, she also wanted everyone to know that Jesus is White too, just for the record.

Megyn was singling out an article in Slate magazine where Aisha Harris questioned the idea of a White Santa and the possible harm it does children of color.  Her argument was that an animal might be the better way to personify Santa and suggested a penguin, although I don't think penguins live in the North Pole.

Gretchen Carlson went one step further, by expressing her moral outrage over an atheist who was successfully able to display at "Festivus pole" made from beer cans in the Florida state capitol, mostly in protest to the nativity scene that was allowed to be displayed.  The idea apparently came from a Seinfeld episode (3:20 mark), so she took Seinfeld writers to task as well on her "faith panel."

Jon Stewart took both Megyn and Gretchen to task on their assertions and complaints in this amusing episode, and "White Santa" has become the brunt of jokes everywhere  Poor Megyn has been forced to answer critics for her comments, conveniently claiming it was all in jest. This leads one to ask, has Fox News become a parody of itself?

Perhaps the funniest part of the actual news segment was when one of her panelists tried to make the link between Santa Claus and the real St. Nicholas, a 4th century Greek saint who was known as a "wonderworker," as if to give Santa an air of authenticity.  Well, the real St. Nicholas was most likely a dusky Mediterranean hue, not the "white" we generally associate with present day St. Nick.  The same could be said for Jesus, but I guess "White" in this case is anything West of the Caucuses and north of the Tropic of Cancer.  How St. Nicholas migrated to the North Pole to live among penguins and find immortality is anyone's guess?

The Santa that we so often see is actually a product of Coca-Cola advertisements from the 1920s.  Earlier images of St. Nick were often depicted in furs or brightly colored garments of green or blue, with wreaths on his head or more sensible winter caps.  It was Haddon Sundblom who dressed the jolly old elf up in red and white, probably inspired by a cover he saw on Puck magazine from a few years earlier.  Only Santa looks like he had too much egg nog.

Fact and fiction find amazing overlaps and there have been many attempts to make Santa feel more real so that we can prolong that wonderful age of innocence at least until the early teens.  For the rest of us there is Festivus to help us absorb all those disappointments.

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