Thursday, December 17, 2009

And Let's Not Forget the Pipe-Smoking...

I guess it was bound to happen. The body image police are coming down on Santa Claus. I see from a summary of a news story on The Daily Beast that someone calling himself a public health expert is blaming Kris Kringle for making kids fat.

"Santa promotes a message that obesity is synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality," the gormless scold, whose rantings were published in a British medical journal, is quoted as saying. The blurb goes on to say:

"Old St. Nick also encourages the spread of swine flu by getting little ones to sit on his lap, and he teaches reckless behavior with his "extreme sports such as roof surfing and chimney jumping."
Well. The fat man may be guilty of bad role-modeling, but I say the author of that passage stands accused of faulty noun-creation for not inserting hyphens into those newly-created sports of "roof-surfing" and "chimney-jumping."

Today was a bad day for Mr. Claus. This article from the Baltimore Sun makes a compelling case that perpetuating the Santa myth in young minds is immoral. As a card-carrying rationalist, I almost felt guilty for perpetrating this thought crime on my daughter. As the father of an obstreperous six-year-old, though, I've decided I'll continue to make shameless use of the "all-seeing Santa" story as a powerful behavior modification tool. I'll trade my intellectual principles for a restful evening any day.