If you don’t mind, I would like to start this post off with a few
- As a child, did you add a pipe to your Christmas wish list due to Santa’s penchant for tobacco?
- Are you worried about Santa’s longevity because he is known to indulge in a pipe from time to time?
- In high school, were you ever the victim of peer pressure that even remotely resembled the following argument “Smoking is cool because Santa does it. You want to be cool like Santa, right?!”?
- Have any of the kids in your life taken up smoking because they heard Santa can sometimes be found with smoke circling his head like a wreath?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
In our charming age of political correctness, it’s not uncommon to come across overzealous individuals who are convinced it’s their duty to sanitize anything and everything that may in some way offend, confuse, and/or mislead. Opportunities to use history as teachable moments are cleansed by such zealots because they would rather remove what they consider to be a distasteful reference than deal with the reality of what was/is.
Unfortunately for Canada, we recently earned the distasteful distinction of being the country that published a rewritten version of the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas that has been cleansed of all references to Santa smoking. Yep, we’re now that nation. Ugh.
Aside from wondering who would have the audacity to think they have the right to rewrite Clement C. Moore, I think this is an unacceptable example of political correctness running amok to satisfy someone’s overdeveloped sense of vulgarity. To make things worse, the newly cleansed book now also features a subtitle. In keeping with the Big Brother theme, these words now follow Moore’s original title: Edited by Santa Claus for the benefit of children of the 21st century.
Here’s the thing: In Moore’s work, Santa smoked. Get over it.
…but if you can’t get over it, riddle me this: If we are to accept that Santa being a smoker is an unacceptable tale to tell our children, should we also gloss over all the other ugly truths of our collective past? Is it appropriate (let alone morally acceptable) to spare kids the gory details of everything else that is currently deemed deplorable? And whose version of morally acceptable behaviour/speech/mores/etc. should we all be following to ensure we don’t inadvertently corrupt any kids?
While it would be very easy to go off on a tangent about the door this opens for the plethora of historical works that could also use a good sanitization, I’ll leave that to the literary world. Instead, let’s examine all the other aspects of Santa’s lifestyle choices that we should rewrite to fit the moral majority’s current standards:
- As we all know, Santa is in dire need of a strict diet and exercise regime to deal with his obvious obesity. Aside from relieving everyone from having to fuel his cookie addiction in exchange for our gifts, we would likely be also sparing him from a life of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
- Speaking of Santa’s overall health, his rosy cheeks and red nose are also cause for alarm. Sure, he could just have windburn from always navigating a roofless flying sleigh. On the other hand, he may be an alcoholic in serious need of at least 12 steps.
- It would also be a good idea to get Santa into some sort of therapy to work through his compulsion to engage in breaking and entering. His safety (and the integrity of our chimneys) would be much better protected if he would just enter through the door like everyone else.
- While we’re at it, why don’t we address Santa’s obvious social phobia by moving him out of the isolated North Pole and into a more populated community? Not only would this allow Santa to revel in his celebrity, but we’d get to see him outside of the mall for once.
- Finally, Santa really needs to get a better stylist and stop wearing so much/any fur. I’m sure PETA would love to feature him in one of their campaigns, and there has to be someone out there (in addition to Rudolph) who would enjoy seeing a nude St. Nick proclaiming his rejection of animal cruelty.
Upon additional consideration, maybe Santa should undergo a 21st century update. Hopefully it’s not too late to intervene so we can help him avoid ending up like so many beloved celebrities who just can’t handle life in the limelight.