Monday, December 10, 2007

That Jerk Named Santa

But first...

Doing edits now, a first pass to shore up the issues I had, so I can print out a full copy later.

I do love this part, discovering the book isn't as bad as you thought it was when you were writing it.

Of course, that doesn't mean anyone else will think so...

And we had quite the weekend, as I'm sure you can imagine, what with the birthday and the pox. This is just about the first chance I've had today to use both hands on the computer, but I believe the worst is ending. My poor baby's little face and body is covered in spots (although not her legs, oddly), but there seems to be a lot less itching today and her mood is much improved.

We also put up the tree and all our decorations on Saturday, always nice, while watching the Patrick Stewart "A Christmas Carol".

And we have a box set of those old Christmas specials they used to show when we were kids, the old Rankin-Bass ones. Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (The set also includes an excrebale Frosty sequel, which sucks just a little worse than the original Frosty cartoon sucks.)

I never liked Frosty, to be honest. I remember hitting maybe six or seven before I realized that Frosty was a moron, for one thing. And there are huge plot holes. And the magic hat? Was in fact stolen. The magician didn't throw it away, his rabbit stole it, and the hat blew off its head and floated to the kids. So Frosty, far from being a charming tale for children, is in fact about a snowman of questionable intelligence and a gang of young thieves, plotting to steal someone else's rightful belongings.

And they are aided by Santa. Santa, who when he appears, never even asks the kids how they came by the hat, never even listens to Professor Hinkle when he tries to explain that the hat belongs to him. Instead he tells Hinkle that if he doesn't give up the hat, he'll never get another gift from Santa for the rest of his life. Apparently Santa doesn't even think Hinkle deserves some sort of compensation for the loss of something he needs to earn a living--his magaician's hat.

So, left with a bad tase in our mouths and viewing Santa as some sort of fat, red-suited Fagin, we watched the terrible Frosty Returns--which is too stupid and bland and irritating to even describe--and put in Rudolph.

And once again, came face to face with Santa the dick. Santa the cruel. Santa who sides with the reindeer who shun Rudolph, Santa who doesn't even consider allowing Rudolph to work for him once he sees his red nose. Imagine for a minute just how charitable and good Santa's heart might truthfully be, when he dismisses someone who's a little different without a second thought. He even says it's too bad Rudolph is mildly deformed, because he was a good flyer! Merit means nothing in Santa's world; it's all based on looks. (Don't even get me started on his blatant enforcement of slavery in refusing to even consider allowing an elf to be anything but a toymaker.)

Don't even get me started on my favorite Xmas special, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Now, I genuinely love this one--it was on again last year--but here again. Santa? Big asshole. One person in a town says something nasty about The Fat Man, so he decides nobody in Junctionville deserves a present? And they have to spend huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to build a clock to bribe him to return. Santa apparently believes he is a god who needs be appeased with sacrifice.

And yet, when we were kids, we all thought having this greedy, megalomaniacal mercenery invade our homes was a good thing. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Precisely why I lean towards A Christmas Story with Peter Billingsly and Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase (a real life asshole I hear but hilarious in the movie).

I hope the little one is better. I didn't get the chicken pox until I was 25 and I was miserable (living on Okinawa with that heat and humidity -yuck. -V95

Camille Alexa said...

Hey! Haven't you been following the hoopla? The latest (at least on this side of the water) is that "concerned parents fear Santa gives children wrong idea about unhealthy body image."

And with apologies to V95 (and everyone else in the known universe, as I'm the only person I know who loathes this movie), but completely contrary to the seemingly universal appeal of A Christmas Story, I've always found the thing infuriatingly obnoxious, ever since I first saw it as a kid. Granted, I haven't seen it since the eighties, but the four or five times I was in the same room with it during that decade were enough to make me cringe every time it gets a mention. It's a Pavlovian response.

I know! I know! Totally subjective! I love all sorts of ridiculous, obnoxious movies other people loathe. The only thing that sticks out with this one is the absolute and total singularity of my negative response.

Karen Erickson said...

You know, you're right, Santa is always a complete jerk in those shows! How terrible.

Now when I was little I always had a thing for Frosty cos the girl's name was Karen but my kids own it and I watched it with them last year. The first time I watched it in a loooong time and I though it was...awful! LOL

Anonymous said...

Funny, I had the same thought when watching Rudolph with The Boy...never occurred to me until I started thinking about how my kid would perceive it; that it's okay to shun people who are different than us until we need help that only they can offer.

On a slight tangent, on the way home from the company Christmas party, and up by about 6 or 8 vodka gingers, I had an idea for an urban fantasy that involved a bad Santa-like character...


KLCtheBookWorm said...

What about Santa Claus, the movie? John Lithgow played the villain if I got the title wrong. I don't remember Santa being a dick in that one. But at two hours, it may be too long for some kids.

pacatrue said...

Yeah, we have a copy of Rudolph and my little one was a big fan for a while. It's kind of like Dumbo and The Ugly Duckling in that everyone's a complete a-hole for the entire movie until the last 5 minutes, including the 'wise' Santa. The Rudolph movie is a trip in some ways. Who the hell thought up Hermie the Dentist Wannabe as a children's character? I like it when he's singing one of his songs, builds a snowman version of his mean boss, and then punches him in the face. That's good stuff for kids.

Incidentally, one of my most annoying Christmas movie moments is in the recent flick The Polar Express. The protagonist is a kid who no longer believes in Santa and then takes a trip on the Express up to the North Pole where he sees the workshops, the elves, and the Fat Man himself, where, at the climax of the movie, he declares "I believe." Wow. You've jumping over reindeer paddies, watching the Clauster get ready, trying not to step on elves, and only then you believe? That's quite an amazing leap of faith.

Incidentally, I have a video of the Wiggles dubbed to Ice Cube on today's blog.

BernardL said...

I'm glad the Pox is passing. That's a new wrinkle on Christmas and Santa specials, D. I've never quite thought of them in that manner. :)

Anonymous said...

I never liked those shows as a kid, but then, my mom was hugely religious so she censored Santa from us and would snap "He doesn't exist" and launch into a tirade about him being evil and that Jesus was the real reason for the season. Once I got a present from "santa" and she didn't hesitate to tell me who really gave it to me.

But my son got a hand me down copy of Rudolph a few years ago and discovered it in the move here. He liked how brave and adventurous Rudolph was and thought the yeti was hilarious. That was his kindergarten year (and my little girl was only a year old, so obviously she mostly got excited about things other people were excited about.) That's also when he got real excited about the holidays in general. Don't get me wrong, he always enjoyed them before, but suddenly he learned more about them, did activities with other kids about all the holidays (They make dredels! So cute!) Plus there was a count down all of a sudden and he had a better grasp of when holidays were and what it meant. And of course that meant we finally got Santa.

We've been pretty careful to say that Santa isn't a real person, he's a spirit of the holiday. Mommy is Santa when she buys a present for the kids. We're all Santa when we decorate and when we go through our toys every year to donate the ones we don't play with any more.

Of course, while it's also a handful at times I'm proud to say my kids aren't likely to be heart broken if someone tries to tell they there is no Claus. They're both likely to laugh at the person and tell them they're just trying to be mean.

Angie said...

I've always enjoyed watching that Rudolph special, but at the same time, yeah -- I remember thinking that Santa was being a jerk. And so was... Donder? Whichever was the "coach" reindeer, whose idea it was to not let Rudolph play any reindeer games just because he had a red nose. What an asshole! Way to be an example to the kiddy reindeer! [smack]


McKoala said...

My kids call Chicken pox 'the pops', as in 'she's got the pops'. It just sounds so much better.

Good luck with Faerie and MIL and writing and everything!

December/Stacia said...

Oooh, V95, you poor thing! 25 and in Okinawa, that had to suck.
I'm not a fan of Xmas Vacation--although the hubs is--but I agree on A Christmas Story, I do love it.

You know, Camille, shit like that gets right up my nose. Who the fuck are these parents? Did they just materialize on earth as adults, and so never had childhoods of their own, or are they such Sensitive Little Flowers that the whooole world hurted them, poor widdiw babies? I HATE those people, I really freaking do.

I love A Christmas Story, but I do know what you mean--the first time I saw it I wasn't impressed. It was only until I'd seen it several times that I started to appreciate it, some of the subtle stuff. It's Ralphie's parents I like, not really anything else.

But then, my brother and I both loathe It's a Wonderful Life.

It is terrible, isn't it Karen? That dumb snowman, who somehow knows all about what happens when it gets warm and that he should go to the North Pole but is clueless about, like, what a school is or whatever. But the animation is still charming.

Oh, Seeley, at least the message at the end of Rudolph is that being different is sometimes good. Wait until (or maybe he already has) the boy reads Rainbow Fish, about a fish with shiny scales, and all the other fish shun him because he won't give them his special scales, but then he does and they all like him and he's just a dull fish like the rest of them again.

December/Stacia said...

I never saw that one, klc, I think I saw a few bits of it but honestly, my favorite Xmas films are Die Hard and The Ref, so you can see how filled with the holiday spirit I am.

Oooh, Paca, I have to come by and see that video! And I know just what you mean about the snowman, which is hysterical. Haven't seen The Polar Express,, really? Isn't the point of belief that you don't have to see it with your own eyes? I mean, I don't believe in Bigfoot but if he stood in front of me I'm pretty sure I would, that's not a stretch.

Ahh, Bernard, we expand the mind

Wow, Michele, that's really interesting. I never thought of explaining it to my kids that way. When my bro and I were little, we opened the majority of gifts on Xmas Eve, and those were from each other. Santa only handled stockings and a few other things we got on Xmas morning, so he was never that big a deal to us. Which is the way I wanted to do it with my kids but the hubs keeps digging his heels in over it. So Xmas isn't very special for me at all now. *shrug*

I know, Angie! It's like Rudolph has a birthmark or something and Donder is some sort of Mast Race Nazi, I'm surprised Leni Riefenstahl didn't show up to screen a film for Rudolph about how he should just kill himself because he doesn't look like everyone else.

Thanks McKoala! Faerie keeps telling people she has "chicken spots". Lol.

Angie said...

It's funny, that's exactly how my family's always done it. :) Christmas Eve we open presents from each other, and Christmas morning is stockings and stuff from Santa. I never quite got the whole either/or thing, like you have to open all your gifts at once. [bemused shrug]

And I forgot to say the first time -- I love A Christmas Story too, and another favorite Christmas movie is Nightmare Before Christmas. :D



I've always hated A Christmas Story. It falls into that category with Archie Bunker that hits a little too close to home.

Not keen on It's a Wonderful Life, either. I'm not the sentimental kind.

Worst Christmas movies ever, though---the Home Alone franchise. "Guys, I have a great idea! Let's turn criminal child neglect and abandonment into a family film! What a laugh riot!"

I like Scrooged (I have a thing for Bill Murry that even I don't understand), the newer version of Miracle on 34th Street (if only to gaze upon the wondrousness that is Dylan McDermott), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Seuss and Chuck Jones are two of my favorite peeps of all time).

Anonymous said...

For those of you who love A Christmas Story as much as I do.... the lamps are on sale.

(sorry, I don't know how to make this a link)


Demon Hunter said...

December, I love A Christmas Story. Good stuff! :*) I never did like Frosty the cartoon, just the song. I loved Rudolph and was pissed at

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, living in Germany had me growing up without red nosed reindeers and other stuff. Our Nikolaus hasn't gotten so much attention; he just delivers presents on Dec 6 and that's it. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Well, I'll never look at Christmas specials quite the same way again. I admit I never cared for Frosty. Kind of sappy.

kirsten saell said...

If I was Rudolph, I would have told them all to blow it out their asses and let them crash in the fog.

Love The Ref, too:

Who do you think you are?

Slipper socks--medium!

Ahh, good times...

I always liked the Little Mermaid (the old version where she dies at the end) and the Selfish Giant (Hmm, he dies, too, wonder what that says about my festive spirit). Don't know if anyone else here has ever seen them, but they always played around xmas when I was a kid.

pacatrue said...

I was the stage manager for a community theater production of A Christmas Story, but I've still never seen the movie production of the play.

Just to cause trouble, but speaking honestly, I love It's a Wonderful Life. I always bawl like a baby at the end. On the other hand, I've still never made it through Miracle on 34th Street.

writtenwyrdd said...

My, you do hate Santa, don't you? I hadn't thought of the asshole quotient, or that Frosty was a thieving idiot, but you are right there. Good think I never liked Frost, lol!

I like the Rankin Bass rudolph. All the Misfit Toys are cool.

But my fav Christmas movie is The Santa Clause. Hands down. I watch it several times a year. The sequels aren't so great, but that first one...

I do hope the kid improves soon adn you can get back to your writing without the worries about family illness. Have a Merry Yule, too, while you're at it! ;)

December/Stacia said...

Me neither, Angie. Our way Xmas Eve was special too, not just the night before you open presents, plus my parents got to sleep in on Xmas Day because my bro and I already basically had our gifts, you know, so we weren't running into their room at 5 am so we could get to our loot. (The rule was, we could open our stockings before they got up but not the Santa presents, which were usually books, underwear, that sort of thing, and there were only two or three of them.)
I love Nightmare Before Christmas too. :-)

OMG Kerry I totally agree. I hate the Home Alone movies and don't understand anyone who thinks they're funny. And no, not very sentimental, me, so no It's A Wonderful Life. Bleh. Although I treasure the "lost ending" Saturday Night Live did. Hilarious.

Ack! Seeley! It's a fabulous prize! Must be from Spain.

I know, DH! D'you suppose that Santa--the jerkish cartoon Santa--leaves lumps of coal for kids who are a little different too? You know, if you're in a wheelchair or something, don't expect Santa to fill your stocking.

Oh, Gabriele, that's so sad. Lol. Actually I think that's really cool. I love Santa/Father Christmas/Nikolaus/Sinterklaas stuff from other countries.

December/Stacia said...

Frosty is totally sappy, Charles. Totally. I much prefer the Charlie Brown Christmas specials.

Lol Kirsten, the hubs and I can recite practically the entire film. "I've got a gun, it's loaded, shut up." "She's a fucking bitch, Lloyd." And yeah, grow a spine, Rudolph!

You should see the movie, Paca, at least to compare. And that's okay about It's A Wonderful Life. Everybody has their little foibles. :-)

I don't hate Santa as in the actual Santa, Written, but I hate the Xmas special Santa, yeah. They really make him out to be such an evil jerk, you know? Very dictatorial.Sigh, I hope I manage to get some stuff done today too... Faerie refused to get off my lap yesterday, it was quite difficult to deal with.