The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"Ha, Ha, Ha--Merry Christmas!"

Have most of you read about how Santas in Sydney, Australia have been told by the department store that hired them that they can't say "ho, ho, ho" any more, because it's demeaning to women? It's things like this that make me want to humbly hand over any claim I might have had to being a writer of the absurd--because surely, I cannot make up ANYTHING as stupid as this.

The department store had two supremely asinine things to say about this:
  1. "We didn't tell them they couldn't...we simply advised them to exercise their own good judgement." Which is much like when my mother used to advise me that I could certainly miss dinner at my relatives' house, if I wanted to break my grandmother's heart. was kind of a choice...if I wanted my grandmothers imminent demise from a severe cardiac explosion on my conscience.
  2. "We feel that the phrase 'ho, ho, ho' may be frightening to children." I admit that today's children are a bit more jaded than they were in my day, but I still can't picture some sweet little 4-year-old sitting in Santa's lap, and looking up at him to lisp winningly "Who you calling a ho, fat ass?" Call me crazy.

It makes me wonder just how far our society is willing to go to avoid offense, even if we have to imagine the offense in order to do it. For instance"

  • The familiar and beloved carol, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" must now be banned, because it may cause offense to deaf people...who obviously do not hear what I or anyone else hears.
  • "Winter Wonderland" must likewise be removed from the airways, in that it features an impulsive, underage marriage ("he'll say are you married? we'll say no, man---but you can do the job while you're in town) as well as impersonation of clergy by a snowman.
  • There will be no playing "Deck the Halls" anymore in the presence of children, in case the phrase "don we now our gay apparel" is offensive or demeaning to drag queens.
  • All songs and stories about "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are right out. For one thing, the whole story smacks of blatant nose-ism, as well as open bullying that is never addressed. And, as Mr. K pointed out, the "red nose" reference could well be offensive to alcoholics who cannot help their condition and should not be asked to pull sleighs.
  • "Jingle Bells" is a no go--too many sufferers of tinnitus hear ringing all the time--it is unnecessarily cruel to sing happily about it.
  • "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is also full of problems. For instance, when Santa finds out who's naughty and who's nice, isn't he really labelling children and discriminating against the ones who are merely being mischievous when they set the mailbox on fire and hawk their mother's jewelry to buy cigarettes? And, the line about "making a list and checking it twice" could be very hurtful to the obsessive-compulsives out there, who have no real choice but to make a list, and then check it and check it and check it and check it and....
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is all right on the surface...but there has been some concern that those people who are depressed during the season may not like having it thrown in their faces by being told what sort of Christmas to have. Extortion, in the form of figgy pudding demands, does nothing to improve the song and may form the foundation for a life of white collar crime/employment with the government.
  • "Frosty the Snowman" not only smokes a corn cob pipe, not only has eyes made of coal (not the cleanest source of energy, clearly), but is shown melting. Clearly this may be a painful reminder for children about global warming--hardly appropriate during the holiday season.
  • All references to Santa Claus involving the words "fat", "big", and "bowlful of jelly" are clearly size-ist and must be stricken from the holiday repertoire.
  • The song "Silver Bells" refers to bringing good cheer "to young and old, meek and the bold". Middle-aged folks are clearly excluded here, as are children who are neither meek nor bold but somewhere comfortably in the middle. Perhaps if the song included the phrase "appropriately assertive but not pushy or aggressive" it would be better.
  • "The Little Drummer Boy" is a lovely song, but potentially hurtful to both girls, and those who don't have rhythm.
  • "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" is needlessly distressing to children, who may incorrectly believe that their mothers are engaged in an act of infidelity. Truly, the entire fabric of marriage in this country is threatened by this.
  • "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" certainly makes the implication that having teeth is better than not having teeth and, as such, is too judgmental for children to listen to.
  • "A Partridge in a Pear Tree" is clearly a song about obsessive love bordering on stalking--after all, if the gold rings didn't do it, it's cinch that bird crap all over the place from the geese a-laying and the swans a-swimming and two turtle doves probably ain't gonna do it. And yet, he keeps sending her more.
  • "Let it Snow" is just plain cruel to children living in such desert or tropical climes, unless care packages of snow can be sent to them via very fast courier.

It may be best if we all just sit quietly in our homes and hum "Silent Night" to ourselves and try not to offend anyone. And if you hang mistletoe, be sure not to use the word "fungus". The mistletoe is very sensitive about that little fact.


  • At 8:02 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Too perfect for words. Instead, I'm in the throes of helpless laughter again. Does anyone know someone with the Associated Press or something? 'Cause man, I'd really like to see this - well, Ms. K's whole Christmas series thus far, actually - syndicated far and wide!

    ..."impersonation of clergy by a snowman"..."blatant nose-ism"... Oh my!

  • At 9:08 PM, Blogger ~Tonia~ said…

    Bawwwhaaahaaa!!! OMG those were so funny. Sadly though it could be trur one day.

    Have you heard about where they are not letting the Store Santas be "fat" (I can't remember where it is). They think that it sets a bad image for children. Ummm I don't ever remember anyone growing up wanting to be Santa.

  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    So the other day my son had a friend over and we were playing our "Keeping a Canadian Christmas" cd. I will admit to wondering what the friend might tell her mother when my son happily belted out the words along with the Irish Rovers to their classic hit "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer"....

    You crack me right up with your lists. I think Monica picked my two favourites as well :)

  • At 6:12 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    ww"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" oh yeah... that one hit deep...
    and yeah, I remember feeling a bit discriminated against as a wee lass when I first 'got it' about the Little Drummer Boy...
    'but mommy, I could do that!'

  • At 9:04 AM, Blogger Misty The Kneedler said…

    You're fabulous - this will keep me laughing all day. Thank you!

  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger Lynn said…

    In Texas we don't *hang* the mistletoe. We dispatch it by lethal injection.

  • At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Lilly said…

    And how 'bout that John Denver not-quite-a-classic "Please, Daddy, Don't Get Drunk this Christmas (I Don't Wanna See My Momma Cry"

  • At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Doris said…

    I love it! My sister sent me a list yesterday that I need to find the link for. It was all about Merry Tossmas, the reporter's holiday that he is using for any catalogue that wishes him Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas (especially the ones selling Christmas decorations). He says Merry Tossmas as he tosses those catalogues into the trash. It was almost as good as your list.


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