. : Black Hearts Inc. : .
. : About me : .
Name::New York City's Watchdog
From::New York City, New York, United States
View my complete profile
. : Fresh Meat : .
Titillating Titling and Pleasant Packaging
. : Old Bones : .
. : Daily Reads : .
. : Links : .
. : Awards and Accolades : .
. : Blog Roll : .
. : Credits : .
. : Visitors : .
Wednesday, December 06, 2006Santa Claus... Real Or Not?
With the coming holiday season there is one thing that cannot be avoided. It's red and white, it's fat, and if you didn't know better you would think he was a pimp looking for his loot with all his yelling of, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" Yep... it's Santa Claus time.
Now before we begin, if you are interested in some serious Santa Claus reading then you can read about him here at Wikipedia, here at SantaClaus.com, or here at The North Pole. I in no way shape or form endorse these sites... but when I'm done you may need to go there to renew that jovial feeling you just lost. Now on to the question of "Santa Claus... Real Or Not?"
First we must understand where the personification of Santa Claus comes from. It is actually derived from the Christian's Saint Nicholas who believed it or not, came from Turkey... not Germany or the Netherlands as many people mistake. By the way, today is his feast day. Saint Nicholas was not a carpenter, or a tinkerer, or a shoemaker as most people believe. He was in fact he became a priest while the Roman Empire continued their persecution of the Christian faith. However, as that came to an end and tolerance was declared throughout the empire, Saint Nicholas was elevated to the position of bishop. So in short... he was a clergyman.
His origination as the consumate "gift giver" comes from a story whereas he learned of a poor man who had three daughters. Unfortunately the man could not afford the dowry for his daughters. Because of this he would have to either make them into prostitutes or sell them into slavery. Nicholas, reportedly over the course of 3 years, would anonymously drop gold the night before the daughter would "come of age" and therefore save the daughter from a life of misery. There are many versions of the story but the basics are there... and is the story that would lead to his evolution.
Saint Nicholas was quite the popular saint through the middle ages... mainly because he became a saint from how he lived and what he did. There have been a number of churches and towns named after him throughout Europe. His popularity spread as did the idea of gift giving. In Germany he became known as Sankt Nikolaus, the tinkerer. The Germanic tribes, prior to becoming Christians, had a similar figure known as Odin. Odin would ride across the sky during Yule (winter solstice) on his horse and children would leave hay or carrots for his horse in their shoes by the chimney. Then in return, Odin would leave them gifts or treats. Once Christianity took over... Yule was no longer celebrated, however the missionaries simply converted the holiday to become Christmas so as not to upset their newfound followers... and donators.
In the Netherlands he was known as Sinterklaas, dressed as a bishop and helped by little black faced people who were in fact slaves. The slaves basically did everything, but most importantly they kept track of bad children to kidnap and good children to leave a token of appreciation accompanied with a poem.
It is the unique combination of both of these concepts that Santa Claus came about and merged in the melting pot known as America replacing the British figure of Father Christmas. In fact, the term is actually primarily American since pretty much everywhere else refers to the figure as Father Christmas to this day.
The cementing of Santa Claus arriving on Christmas Eve as opposed to December 6 occurred in 1823 with a poem entitled "The Night Before Christmas". At that time he was also described as heavyset, driving a sleigh, and being flown around by eight reindeer who were named. Additionally, it was Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, who made Santa Claus immortal through his deeds. Not unlike the reason St. Nicholas himself was popular in the Middle Ages, it was the goodness of Santa Claus that elevated him above the world.
The final evolutionary step... the red suit... originated in 1863 by a cartoon that appeared in Harper's Weekly which was widely read due to their coverage of the American Civil War. Finally, in the 1930s the imagery was defined through the advertising of Coca-Cola... and thus the commercialization began.
The following is derived from a report filed by the Aeronautical Engineers of America that I found in an old e-mail:
1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has ever seen.So... when are the memorial services? Physically, it is impossible to do what he does.
Real Or Not?
In 1897 Francis P. Church, the editor of the NY Sun printed this response to a letter he received:
Did you catch the important line? No? Let me pull it out there...
The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.That line says it all. So add feel, hear, smell, and taste and you're covered. So if you can accept that... Santa is indeed real. Of course with that you must then accept that Satan, God, the Grim Reaper, Angels, Demons, Ghosts, Aliens, Faeries (both Seelie and Unseelie courts), Elves, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, Gnomes (garden or otherwise), Bigfoot, Yeti, Nessie, and of course Chubahka are all real. It's only fair right? No? Hypocritical fuck.
The almighty dollar. That's what he has become about. He has been tainted. He is no longer pure. Just like Christmas itself. It is no longer WHO it is about... but rather WHAT it is about. Perhaps a PS3, a bracelet, or even a new car like in those commercials. Does it matter anymore? It is about the material... not the ethereal... and yet the ethereal is what dominates it and acts as the General of the holiday.
You'll believe in something you cannot see to bring you something you can. I know... some people will say, "It's about the kids and giving them hope and a merry holiday"... and so I guess Commandment number 9 (Thou Shalt Not Lie) is bendable when it comes to children? So does that mean number 5 (Thou Shalt Not Kill) is as well? I'm sure our friends at NAMBLA would be happy to hear number 10 (Thou Shalt Not Covet) is only when you feel like it.
Let me tell you what's real. Real my undoubtedly bored as shit friends is walking into the crackhouse Christmas morning to find a 7 year old nearly frozen to death, while mommy sucks a dealer's cock for some blow. That is real. Where are the reindeer now?
Real is finding grandma underneath the tree turning purple. The tears can fall all you want as the shocks go through her, singeing the carpet underneath that fills the air with the smell of burning hair. She's not finishing that half put together kitchen. Where are your elves now?
Real is the smoothness of the bald head of an 11 year old. Quiet when there should be noise. Smooth where it should be bumpy. Still where it should be breathing. Dead where there should be life... through no one's fault but a disease that has inflicted way too many already. Where is your jolly fat man now? This heart of a child has stopped... so what's he going to do about it? Build a new one?
Real is the homeless wandering the streets. Real is the orphans and runaways working the streets. Real is the hard working parents one week away from living on the streets. These people are real. Where are your American Express and Coca-Cola commercials now?
I will freely admit... I play the charade as well. I break Commandment number 9 when it comes to my kids... but I do it more than just at Christmas about Santa. See... I'll tell that 7 year old they'll be back with mommy soon, even though mommy is going to jail after getting her ass whooped by my partner. I'll tell those grandkids Grandma'll be alright, as I carry what is essentially a fried corpse out of the room. I'll tell the parents of that 11 year old... well I'll tell them the truth... I tried.
Because I do. Saint Nicholas gave gifts anonymously. As do I. I give it where it is actually needed... a very important charity to me called St. Jude's Children's Hospital. In the grand scheme of things... it really is not a lot. I give what I can. I give it because I want to give it. I give it because it is a real place helping real kids with real problems. I know that does not absolve me of my guilt around this holiday time. In the end it means one less gift under the tree for someone... but there is always the real off chance it could mean the difference to millions. That my dear friends is a gift worth giving.
Santa... real or not? It's up to you. You can say he's real and do all the Christmassy things including tracking him by radar... or you can MAKE him real and do something that will make a difference in someone else's life.
The choice, my little droogies, is yours...