Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Down with Santa!

Santa is sort of the secular Jesus of our culture, the culture of our tv habits, elementary school textbooks, and  philosophies we share without realizing we even have them, etc. 

Santa is also the antichrist.

I know, I know. Bold claim. Most of us laughed off the oddity of the Satan = Santa anagram long ago. Yet the more I explored the idea of Santa as a representative of mainstream American values, the less and less laughable it got.

His moral philosophy is simple to the point of stupidity: "Be good and I'll give you things." Santa is operating from one of the lowest rungs of the moral ladder, and he has no interest in your further growth beyond this rung. He doesn't actually care whether his presents are making you naughtier or nicer.

Santa just goes down the list and hands out the goods. Or quite often, doesn't. Which is pretty messed up when you consider that Santa seems to count things like shelter, food, water, and not-dying-of-disease as "gifts." Especially considering Santa has no contingency plan to keep innocent children from ending up on the same list as their parents as a matter of course.

Santa is already seeming like not such a good arbitrator of good and evil, but let's check it out: what exactly makes someone naughty or nice, according to Santa? How do we escape the dire punishment of not making the "nice" list?

The more willing you are to put Santa's priorities over everything else, including spending time with your family, keeping yourself healthy, or trying to make the world a better place, the more likely you are to make the "nice" list.

That's it. That's the one prerequisite. Cheating everyone you meet? Stealing from them? Taking advantage of good faith, honesty, and kinship? Disrespecting people? Hurting them? Santa doesn't actually care about that stuff at all, although just for appearances he has to punish you if you're dumb enough to get yaself caught. But as long as he doesn't see it, carry on.

In the meantime, the "nice" list keep getting more and more exclusive each year, so even if you've been getting better and better and working harder to make The Workshop more and more efficient, productive, and lucrative--in other words, even if you have been giving Santa the BEST of yourself, and none of it to your family--you still might not make the nice list.

Similarly, "naughty" folks can be doing just about anything else with their time, including round-the-clock saving of orphaned babies, or caring for veterans, or teaching people in need some skills that will help them survive and thrive. 

Doesn't matter. Naughty, naughty, naughty. No gifts for you. 

BUT. Even if you're on the naughty list, there may still be hope. Depending on where you are and what color your skin is, Santa still thinks you deserve some gifts. He's just going to take them increasingly out of your skin down the line.

How could you not take out debt? You know your kids deserve gifts. 

They deserve to be distracted from their own curiosity, each other, and the natural world with a lot of stuff, just like any other kid in the neighborhood.

Your spouse deserves that endless parade of tacky symbols reminding them that their individuality is less important to you than the functions they serve in your life. 

And you? You deserve any thing that promises to make you feel better about yourself--more beautiful, more adventurous, more sophisticated, more pampered, more impressive, more imposing. As long as none of them actually succeeds in actually making you feel like you are good enough, just the way you are. Don't want anyone reducing your dependency on more and more and more stuff. 

If no one looked outside of themselves for happiness, what would become of The Workshop?

No man can serve two masters. It's right in the Bible. Also here are some statistics.

Not all of the people still keeping their heads above the water, which is a pretty low bar for success but that's where we're at, have done terrible things. Some are even able to be well-rounded, awesome, and care about their kids. I've seen it. I think.

If, on the other hand, you're struggling, please take time to reflect on your personal priorities and whether you've been made to feel bad at any point for putting them before Santa's, and take some time to reflect on prioritizing the "good person" thing, even when it's just a matter of spending time and attention on people you love, and feel good about it.

That is, if you can feel anything at all, considering how cold it is this time of year, and how heat is another one of those gifts you only get if Santa says so.

One nation under Santa, extremely divided, with bondage and injustice for most.

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