Thursday, 17 December 2009
Setting a bad example
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for publicity and self-promotion if you’re a starving academic in an educational institution. The pressure to publish papers and bring in research grants must be intense. However, I think the assertion by Dr Nathan Grills of Monash University in Australia that Santa Claus is a bad role model really takes the Christmas cookie.
Dr Grills claims that Santa’s unhealthy body mass index as well as his propensity for scoffing mince pies and sherry while being in charge of a sleigh and six reindeer doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle. At the moment, Santa Claus is used by Coca Cola to promote its fizzy sugar water and he’s more recognisable to young children than Beelzebub himself… Ronald McDonald. That is unforgivable in Dr Grills’ view and as Santa is exported to more of the developing world, the fat old man is in danger of setting a very bad example to children of those ‘emerging nations’.
The good doctor thinks Santa Claus is such a universal figure he should be pressed into service on behalf of the propaganda war to promote healthy lifestyles. It seems that Father Christmas will be asked to shed quite a few pounds, switch to muesli and low-fat yogurt for his breakfast and swear off the sauce by turning teetotal.
Santa’s driving also comes in for a slating as Dr Grills thinks that the wicked old man’s traditional habit of necking a couple of thousand sherries while being in charge of six caribou on Christmas Eve is totally unacceptable in this zero tolerance, risk-averse world of political correctness.
And as if all that weren’t enough, Santa also gets it in the neck from Dr Grills for being a germ-laden carrier of all sorts of biological nasties. If Santa has even ten small children sat on his lap in the course of a day and sneezes over them, then he could be responsible for a swine flu pandemic. And he can do all this without having been given the all clear by the Criminal Records Bureau. So, until Santa’s jumped through that little hoop we may as well fling the accusation of being a paedophile at him too. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if he beats up Mrs Claus after a few sherries.
And on that happy and cheerful note I wish you a Merry Christmas. Ho, ho, ho!