He is the corpulent, gluttonous apotheosis of our hegemonic hierarchical hypocrisy, peddling the shimmering mirage of materialistic cupidity to the dazzled masses while propping up the paradigm of the patriarchal power structure. The question is unavoidable. When will the people finally revolt against the tyranny of Santa Claus?
We tell the poor to venerate him as some bibulous, avuncular altruist. Yet in reality this porcine Pol Pot, this crimson-clad Caligula, works just one day a year, while forcing a sweatshop of subjugated elves to toil under his whiskery yoke for the other 364. Inside each house on his snow-swaddled route he gorges on the sherry and mince pies proffered by the proletariat, leaving his reindeer to survive on paltry carrots. And every Christmas, without fail, this halitotically ho-ho-ho-ing ideologue gives far pricier gifts to the kids of the rich than he does to the kids of the poor.
For pandering so obsequiously to their interests, the self-preserving elite of our disillusioned democracy have rewarded Claus with a sainthood.
St Nick – patron saint of plutocratic commercialist bourgeois narratives.
It is through the legend of this soi-disant philanthropist that we’re taught to live in cowed fear of authority. As Chomsky observes, ‘You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.’ Sinisterly, this sleigh-straddling Big Brother even sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake. Our children are oppressed by the glare of Claus’s perpetual surveillance, as he grimly gauges whether during the past year their behaviour has conformed to received notions of what it means to be ‘bad’ or ‘good’.
In stygian grottos, Claus beckons the quaking young on to his knee, then, with a bellow of mocking laughter, demands to be told whether they’ve been a ‘good little boy’ or ‘good little girl’. Upon each of those deemed ‘good’ is conferred a token trinket, symbolic of the child’s surrender to market-driven Western values. What becomes of the ‘bad’ has never been revealed.
It was at the behest of false prophets like Claus that my grandparents fought in two world wars. They were conned. Claus promised them lives of satiety and apple-cheeked jubilance. Instead he delivered little more than Beano annuals, satsumas and – the ultimate sickening motif of his consumerist creed – a bag of chocolate coins.
The hour is nigh to rebel. This year, for the first time, I will not be sending a letter up my chimney to the North Pole. And I urge the children of the poor to join me in this rejection of Clausian inequality. Asked by their parents what they ‘want from Santa’, they must retort, ‘Nothing! I refuse to be coerced into clambering aboard this cavalcade of capitalist complicity! I eschew the gewgaws of that present-pushing Pinochet! For not till we embark on a revolution of consciousness shall we be free of greed, injustice, and festively themed sock design!’
Enslaved by the cult of Claus, few people realise that Christmas was originally a kind of religious festival. I’ve been reading about it in an interesting book called ‘Bible’. Worth a gander, if you can get hold of a copy. Bit low on shagging, but it’s got loads of juicy violence. There’s this fella in it who’s a proper hard bastard. Really fancies himself, too, cos he makes everyone call him God.
Basically the story goes like this. A bird called Mary meets this bloke Gabriel, who tells her that this mate of his called Holy Ghost – cool name, must’ve been a rapper or something – is up for a bit of how’s-your-father. In fact – and this is verbatim – old Holy’s going to ‘come upon thee’.
Personally I’ve always found this a pretty safe strategy, but unluckily for Mary she gets up the duff. Problem is, she’s told her bloke Joseph she’s a virgin. Oddly, Joseph doesn’t seem that fussed she’s got a bun in the oven, and off they go on holiday. But it turns out all the hotels are full – hardly surprising, what with it being Christmas – so they have to kip in a shed. And ’tis there that Mary pops out her sprog, and they christen him Little Baby Jesus.
Then these three brainy bods what have brung gifts turn up, and say the nipper’s got magic powers. And before you know it he’s on a sell-out tour performing these amazing tricks with bread and fish.
The story sounds a bit fusty and old-fashioned but it’s still relevant. Bearded long-haired skinny bloke, millions of followers, hangs out with sinners, never settles down with a bird, gets crucified for his controversial opinions… I just find it really resonates.
Jesus would’ve agreed with me that profit is the most profane word we have. We live in a society where the few amass absurd wealth while countless starve. Today I happened upon a humble Mexican immigrant, earning a pittance doing chores for her moneyed master. I asked about her life. She told of exhaustion and drudgery.
‘Thank you,’ I said, ‘you’ve really shed light upon your struggles. Pop up and tell me more once you’ve finished cleaning the pool.’
Apparently, these days even a mere comedian can become a well-heeled Hollywood star with a $2.2 million house in LA, a £1.8 million book deal from HarperCollins and an estimated net worth of $15 million. And what practical value does such a man’s ‘work’ – this tinselly whimsy he hawks – hold for the common people? Whom does he feed or heal? What does he build? The reality is he does nothing but line the silken pockets of his fancy-dan clobber.
Come the revolution, worthless fops like that will be first against the wall.
*As told by Michael Deacon