December 24, 2014

No Megyn, Santa doesn't have to be white

by Clark Brooks

A few weeks ago, a Fox News correspondent exclaimed a 'War on Christmas' was on.

After a Slate article by Aisha Harris, suggested that Santa and the "imagery of a pale seasonal visitor" had become an outdated and confusing symbol, especially to children of color, Fox News talking head Megyn Kelly reassured her audience that no confusion was necessary. With faux authority she pronounced: "... for all the kids watching at home, Santa just is white ...."

So what was Harris' alternate suggestion that drew the ire of the conservative conclave?

She wrote that a gift-giving penguin should replace Jolly old St. Nicholas, the symbol millions have grown up with generations. Her mission and motivation is to remove the perception in what she calls today's more ethnically diverse America that Christmas is a white holiday. Harris' piece humorously, tongue firmly embedded in cheek, riffed on how the commercial image of Santa - the plump white version with a long beard dressed in red velvet - is an outdated image.

Firing Santa would be devastating for the local economy at the North Pole.... The number of elves and support staff that would be laid off would be catastrophic.

Great. Besides giving up the poster boy of generosity, joy and gifting, depending on which border the Kringles' operations lies, it means another American job, and possibly a whole industry, outsourced from our continent, to somewhere overseas. That in my opinion is far more disturbing than color of man's skin that has dropped of packages at my house annually for my last 50 odd years.

Firing Santa would be devastating for the local economy at the North Pole because manufacturing operations, logistics and corporate offices would have relocate to the southern hemisphere where penguins happen to thrive. The number of elves and support staff that would be laid off would be catastrophic.

Even if Ms. Harris' overall plan calls for the holiday home of the Present Penguin to be on top of Mount Kibo, the financial burden of relocating the Christmas operation would mean fewer gifts or lower quality presents distributed to millions around the world. The only consolation and unaffected would be the staff in India and the Philippines who operate the customer support call centers.

Ms. Kelly pointed out during her original broadcast that Ms. Harris certainly had issues with the jolly fat man rocking the red tuque. It was really the only sentence, an observation taken from Harris' article that made any sense. "And, she seems to have real pain, at having grown up with this image of a white Santa," fired Kelly during her diatribe.

Admittedly, Harris did.

"I remember feeling slightly ashamed that our black Santa wasn't the "real thing," she confessed in her original article in which she related her personal experience about the holiday imagery of a dark-skinned man in a Santa costume her parents had displayed when she was young child. "Because when you're a kid and you're inundated with the imagery of a pale seasonal visitor - and you notice that even some black families decorate their houses with white Santas - you're likely to accept the consensus view, despite your parents' noble intentions."

Ladies, there should be just one official Santa. Period.

In my opinion, this whole Santa Claus thing should be run like the Dread Pirate Roberts in William Goldman's Princess Bride. Similar to Roberts' dynasty, every four years a succession would take place with a new Santa grabbing the reins, his likeness used worldwide until the next transition. The new St. Nick would also pick a staff of 12 to 20 "elves" to help oversee Christmas operations worldwide.

The Parade of Santas could be a huge commercial cash cow if promoted properly.

The easiest and most cost effective method to pick the successor and ensure diversity would be to award the honor to the country that wins the most number of medals during the Winter Olympics. His ethnicity can change every four years simply by a country competing and winning at the highest level. The winter games makes sense simply because Santa is winter weather sorta guy.

Taking a cue from the Miss Universe pageant, Santa Claus could be picked from a pool of candidates from around the world. Each country would select and send a representative to the International Santa Pageant. There, the contestants compete in a series of challenges requisite to the job description.

For example, there would be a timed race around the world with the winner determined by visiting the most number of countries in the shortest amount of time. In addition to oratory and letter writing challenges, there would be a battery of assembly tests with prospective Santas are given ten items, from bicycles to computers, to put together correctly in the shortest amount of time.

Skip the swimsuit competition. The pageant would not be complete without a Santa suit competition where contestants ride a sleigh and judged by a panel of experts on the all important wave and jovial appearance. The Parade of Santas could be a huge commercial cash cow if promoted properly.

Finally, given today's love for reality shows, the third concept that could be employed to pick the next Santa might be a Survivor North Pole Adventure or Survivor Santa.

A year before the succession, finalists would live at the Arctic Circle and travel the world performing humanitarian work, providing relief efforts and competing in physical challenges to become the one and only Santa. Each week, one competitor is voted off while people from around the world can view the show voting to save the most popular candidate each week until the pool is left with just one person to succeed the current Claus.

I thought about a Hunger Games format with Jennifer Lawrence as the host, but decided it was probably would get the needed PG rating for kids 12 an under to watch.

You have to find it rather ironic that two adults, both who well know that Santa, a modern representation - poster adult have you - has the sole purpose of propagating an annual global economic phenomenon, is a fictional character. And, let's face it, kids, especially those who still believe in the magic of Santa, could care less about the color of his skin, shape of his eyes or the sexual preference of his reindeer (as discussed on Saturday Night Live's skit by Keenan Thompson as the real Kris Kringle).

The most important thing - the only thing that really matters to children of all ages, around the world, is the big guy (or even gal) will be leaving a sleigh full of presents under their tree for them on Christmas Eve.

DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.