by Bruce Webb
I posted the below last Christmas Eve. Which was too late to actually discuss the issue. People decry the commercialization of Christmas, which is fair enough. And on econoblogs we discuss income inequality a lot, plus we wonder why working class people simply accept the logic of “no poor person ever gave me a job”. Well I suggest the answer may be as simple as teaching poor kids that Santa hates them and the Tooth Fairy thinks they are second class citizens. Those early lessons stick. More downer below the fold. But there is a point here.
This is in response to some comments on Kos’s Track Santa post (about NORAD ‘tracking’ Santa and putting it up on their website).
Well, the guy dresses in all red (24+ / 0-)
and gives away the products of his factory’s labor to those depending on their needs.
Of course NORAD was going to track him. I’m surprised they didn’t lob the occasional Nike missile at him back in the day.
by Robobagpiper on Wed Dec 24, 2008 at 08:45:02 AM PST
[ Reply to This |Recommend ]
Spreadin’ the wealth around. (14+ / 0-)
Why does Santa hate the real America?
DEPENDING ON THEIR NEEDS? Not in this country. In my experience children in lower-income households figure out the Santa thing somewhat earlier than kids from more affluent families. Otherwise they would go crazy asking the question that titles this diary.
Because when you get back to school after Christmas vacation the first question you ask is “What did Santa bring you?” And the rich kids, the ones that already have everything anyway are always the ones who get the most and the coolest stuff. I don’t know that anyone is trying to deliver this message conciously or even that kids consciously understand it. But it serves to socialize class differences in a Social Darwinist kind of way. After all if God didn’t want rich people to be rich why are they rich? Obviously they must deserve it because of their higher level of education and skill or something and that extends to their children. Now I think even the youngest poor kid understands that the rich kid gets better birthday presents, you have to be pretty dim not to understand the difference between your parents struggling to make rent and pay bills and the kid who lives in the big house on the hill. But why the hell does Santa have to pile on?
Robobagpipers comment was funny but in reality is painfully off the mark. Far from being a socialist devoted to the concept of ‘From each according to his ability, to each depending on their needs’ instead Santa ends up as the patron saint of Income Inequality.
My family was kind of lower middle-class but we always had nice Christmas’s. Lots of good food and nice gift exchanges on Christmas Eve plus some bonus presents from Santa on Christmas morning. Whereupon we got in the car and visited my Grandmother who lived sixty miles away with her daughters and their children plus an infant great-grandson in pretty dire poverty. I learned pretty early on not to discuss what Santa brought me with my cousin Joe because Santa didn’t bring him jack.
I am not suggesting ruining Christmas and the belief in Santa for the really small kids. But you need to think about the message you are sending after your kid reaches school age, particularly if you live in a town or city with a fairly wide range of income inequality. Because whether your kid comes home and asks ‘Why does Santa like me and hate Billy? Was he naughty?’ or worse ‘Why does Santa like Billy and hate me? Was I naughty?’ you might be left stammering. At least if you believe in social and economic justice the other 364 days a year.
2009 Update. Or maybe the other 362 days a year. Because the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny discriminate on the same basis. But I suggest it is the pretty lame first grader that really believes in either. But Santa is different, where the Tooth Fairy works on the same tariff and the Easter Bunny can be counted on delivering the same Easter Basket year in and year out, who knows, Santa might come through with that pony. If you have been good.
This is not to blame Santa for this sense of entitlement and exceptionalism by the wealthy, instead that is perhaps better explained by a toxic mix of Calvinism, Capitalism and a generous dollop of Social Darwinism. But what better way to teach some future Wall Street Master of the Universe that by God he DESERVES that multi-million dollar bonus even if his firm had to be bailed out by the government than catching him when he is four or five years old. After all if Santa hadn’t meant him to be rich where did that big pile of presents come from? While poor kids have to be bailed out by the Marines’ Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army. Serves them right for being naughty losers.