Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Horseshit

     Are you a single person, Company?  Or maybe just someone with a potty mouth?  Well if so, then I am willing to bet all of Mike-a-licious' paycheck (and believe me, I have wagered it on less than this) that somewhere along the way you have gotten the dirty look from a mother or father of a toddler when you slipped up and swore in front of them.  You know, because you are a terrible person who forgot there was a small child in the room.
     The reason that parents, etc. do that kind of stuff is because children of that age are incredibly impressionable.  You know, because that is the time of their life during which they learn everything.  Important things like social interaction, language, and gymnastics.  The parents - who don't want their children to swear even though all the popular kids are the ones who swear - get on your derelict ass because they are afraid that their astute little kids will hear your swear words and repeat them.
     Now, to continue the longest introduction in the history of ever, I don't have kids of my own, but I believe that the kids learn a lot more from their parents' reaction to the swear word than they do from the word itself.  But I could be wrong.  So in my mind you are sort of taking a 50/50 chance - either the kids will see you flip out and make the connection that the word is wrong, or they will see that it will instantly get them attention if you utter it.  But that is what you do when you are a parent.  But I digress.  The point here is that kids are really only going to pick up things from certain sources, so this maniacal quest by some parents to rid the world of ever potential negative connotation that might be seen by children is just a ridiculous, obscene waste of time.
     It has reached a new height recently because a Canadian publisher named Pamela McColl - whose books and publication you should no longer purchase or support, by the way - has changed the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to remove two lines which reference Santa smoking.  Yeah, you read that correctly, and if you are not sure that you did take the time to read it again.  The two lines read "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,/ And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath."  If Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote wrote the poem in 1823, would kick Ms. McColl if he had the chance.
This is more like the image of Santa Claus that always pops
into my head.  Strange, no pipe here.
     First of all, I have heard that poem a million times (so have you, it starts "Twas the night before Christmas, and all though the house...") and I don't remember the part about the smoke.  And I always get it confused with "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" and suddenly Cindy Lou Who is in it.  But I digress.  I feel that this is absolutely stupid and unnecessary.  I am going to put this in all caps to make sure it sticks: NO CHILD HAS EVER TAKEN UP SMOKING BECAUSE SANTA SMOKED IN "A VISIT FROM ST NICHOLAS."  That is a truth.  I guarantee it.  Kids take up smoking because their parents do it.  Kids take up smoking because their parents tell them not to do it.  Or, 99% of the time they take up smoking because other kids are smoking and pressure them into it.  No because Santa does it.  Besides, to most children, Santa doesn't smoke anyway, because he isn't smoking in modern Christmas decorations or the Kiss Saves Santa Christmas Special.  That is the truth.  The name Santa Claus always conjures up certain images in my head - and yours too - and your cousin's - and the guy at the bus stop - and I would suspect that none of them come from that poem.  It comes from the placemats that my mom used to put out at the holidays.  It comes from some sort of animated Chistmas special.  It comes from a storybook you had as a child, or that giant blow up Santa decoration that is on your neighbor's front lawn.
     So the editing was unnecessary, at least in my mind.  But in the spirit of this idiotic sort of "cleanse everything from life that might be slightly harmful to children and be totally understanding and politically correct about everything" mindset, I have decided to take it a step further and note every line of the poem that needs to be changed or removed, and for what reason.  And please remember that this is all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
All children in the world do not celebrate Christmas, some are Jewish or Chinese or agnostic, so they should not be excluded.  Also, some children live in apartments and it is wrong to teach them that living in a house is the only okay place to live

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
This could lead children to believe that everyone dies when they go to sleep, which could lead to unspeakable childhood trauma.  It also teaches them that mice are the small and insignificant and could lead mice to feel bad.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
This leads to misuse of expensive clothing, and that is not a lesson that we want children to be taught.

In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.
Youth should not be encouraged to just sit around and wait for things to be brought for them, they should learn the lesson to be innovative and work hard for the things they want.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Children should have their own beds.  If you sleep with a sibling or parent or in a crib still you are weird.  Also, your bed should be a race car or rocket ship.  Okay, I added that last part.

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
What the hell is a sugar-plum?  Children won't know what those are and they will feel bad about themselves.

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Children might think that if your parents don't wear traditional pyjamas they are strange, and by extension the whole family is.  This could lower self esteem and lead to problems with social interaction.

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap;
Children might feel that if your parents work second or third shift they are strange and should be feared or scorned.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Again, it is strange if you live in an apartment or a house with no lawn, even if it is one of those row houses from San Francisco like in the beginning of Full House

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Children could come to believe that it is not okay to be scared when you hear things outside; you should immediately run out and investigate without any sort of protection.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
This could lead a child to infer that people can fly, and they might try to jump off of something and injure themselves.  This line might also serve to push children towards DC Comics - publishers of The Flash - at the expense of other comic publishers.

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
This line teaches children that vandalism is okay, and that their belongings and surroundings can be treated roughly instead of being taken care of properly.

As the politically correct crowd interprets this poem in their
way, this man is an alcoholic meth-head who snots coke,
invades homes and mistreats animals.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
This line contains the word breast. Enough said.

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
This line almost contains the word lust.  Enough said.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
This infers the appearance of Santa as if he were a ghost or otherworldly being, which could lead to the forcing of specific religious or cultural ideas on children.

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
Any use of animals for manual labor should not be presented to children as acceptable as it is cruel and inhumane, especially when the animals all have an obvious genetic deficiency.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
This line encourages speeding and unlawfulness.  The driver should be lively and within posted speed limits.

I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.
Some religions do not have recognized saints; this line obviously favors and endorses belief systems which do.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
Nobody knows what "coursers" are, and it is both dangerous and illegal to tamper with endangered eagles my measuring their velocity in flight.  This encourages disrespect for nature and law.

And he whistles, and shouted, and called them by name:
This line teaches impressionable youth that it is okay to be loud in a residential area in the middle of the night, just as much  as Santa having a pipe encourages them to smoke.

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!  On Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!"
These are all stripper names.

"To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
This line obviously condones and presents a positive impression of trespassing and fleeing the scene of a crime.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
This line potentially could lead children to believe that it is safe and even fun to be outside during dangerous weather phenomena.

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
Impressionable children could take this line to mean that flying is possible when a collision is imminent.

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
Children could construe that this portion of the poem condones trespassing and climbing on dangerous roofs.

With a sleigh full of toys, and Saint Nicholas too.
Is this sleigh properly registered with Dept of Transportation authorities?  And again, religion.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
This line can stay.

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
This line could lead children to believe that it is okay to put household pets and other animals on the roof of their home, thereby creating a danger for the home, animals, and people in the area.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Engaging in more than one motion at a time with a maturing body could lead to permanent physical deformities.

Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.
This is an obvious case of the poem condoning breaking and unlawful entry of a domicile.

He was dressed in all fur from his head to his foot.
Did you really think PETA would let this line slide?  They are throwing paint on Clement Clark Moore's grave as you read this.

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
This line give the appearance that poor personal hygiene is acceptable, and could cause children to revolt against their baths across the land.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
At this point the poem promotes consumerism and leads to the belief that only possession can bring happiness.

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
Peddling is against the law in many communities.

His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
Santa is clearly on crystal meth at this point in the poem.

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
The cherry-like nose seems to implicate that Santa has used large amounts of alcohol for an extended period of time, and we don't want our children all to become alcoholics, now do we?

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
This line evokes images of something from a horror film and is obviously potentially damaging to impressionable children.

And the beard of his chin was white as the snow.
This line will be removed through the sponsorship of the makers of "Just for Men" who do not want children to believe that it is okay to have grey or white hair, including facial hair.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
These are the lines that Ms. McColl removed because somewhere there is a 5-year-old trying to buy tobacco apparently.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
This line could lead a child to believe that obesity is acceptable and healthy.

That shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
Again with the obesity.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.
Still with the obesity.

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
I am pretty sure this is sexual harassment in some way, shape, or form.

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
Children should be no means be taught that they should trust strangers who invade their homes.

He spoke not a word, but when straight to his work,
How rude!  It is impolite to not acknowledge someone and greet them politely.

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
I just don't trust this line at all.

And laying his finger aside of the nose,
Now Santa is apparently doing coke.

And giving the nod, up the chimney he rose.
Again, children could come to believe that they can fly, which they cannot unless in an airplane, hot air balloon, or helicopter.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
This line can stay, too.

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
Reindeer cannot generally fly, so Santa has just forced these particular ones off the roof and probably to their death, thereby promoting animal cruelty.  Sometimes the politically incorrect or dangerously impressionable lines can be hard to spot.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Shouting as you drive around town is unacceptable.

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

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