Christmas 2.0: Who Could Be the New Santa?
I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of Christmas, and I've been thinking that there is a lot about the current practice that we can admire. Peace and good will, of course, and cookies and candy canes, and happy kids - and this is also the time we think the most about those less fortunate, as do Jews and Muslims, who also have holiday celebrations this time of the year that include a component of charity. But if there is anything that I could change about the modern practice of Christmas, it would be the installation of Santa Claus as an icon of consumer spending, more or less to the exclusion of everything else. As an intellectual exercise, I started thinking about what a different Santa might be like; today's story lays out who a few candidates might be for "Santa 2.0" and why. So go grab a cookie, and, perhaps, a refreshing beverage and let's have some post-Christmas fun.
Chipmunk Family Reunion... ...someone stole the nuts... ...squirrel jail... ...Justice. --"Flo", the Progressive Insurance Representative, in a recent commercialTo help everyone understand my choices, I'm partial to the kind of Santa who might be inclined to be a force for good in society, even when Christmas isn't around; that concept's central to these selections. I also tried to pick folks who would make the gift-giving role Santa fills interesting and, above all, fun; with all that in mind let's jump right in and see where this thing goes: In a tough economy, you want to save where you can, with that in mind my first nomination for the new Santa is Michael Moore, if for no other reason than he fact that he already fits the suit. He's from Michigan, you know, so the cold weather up there at the North Pole is something he's already used to - and you can imagine that the elves will finally be getting the health care and retirement benefits that they've been negotiating for these past several years. But beyond that, I could see Mike coming down the chimney and giving people jobs if he could apply the Santa power that way, and I figure he likes cookies and milk, too, so we wouldn't have to change that part of the deal - and all that suggests he'd be really good for the economy. Plus, if he had all of Santa's powers, he'd always know where Roger is, and that's pretty cool, too, eh? Now our next choice is a bit unusual, but I think we're on the right path nonetheless, and that's Meghan McCain, daughter of the Senator from Arizona. She seems to be a really nice person, which is a good place to start, she's blonde, which, again, works with the red suit, and I get the impression that she'd be OK with dealing with kids all day. As for her Santa power... she's an outspoken critic of the crazy right, and it's entirely possible that she'll bring some degree of rationality and reason from way up north to the GOP - which would be a present we could all use. Some of y'all might be a bit put off by the idea that she appears to be the kind of person who, if a 13-year-old boy asked, would get him a gun, but I have a godson who was given his first rifle younger than that, and he turned out to be a nonviolent person, so, you know, maybe Santa would turn out to support the Second Amendment, but that doesn't automatically have to be a bad thing. For our next nomination, we're going way off the track to select someone you've probably never heard of: Yetta Kurland. Ye-who What, you say? Yetta Kurland is an attorney in New York City, and for the past few years, if you are a member of the LBGT community, and you're interested in civil rights litigation, Yetta Kurland's has been a pretty good name to know. But beyond that, Yetta's been working as a member of the National Lawyer's Guild as one of the on-site attorneys for Occupy Wall Street, right down there at New York City's Zucotti Park - and that means our Santa nominee's been working day and night, literally out on the barricades, fighting for the rights of every one of us. Animal rights are also a big focus for Yetta, and that suggests a Santa who would be thinking about all the kids, even the ones covered in fur - and that also means a Santa who might be particularly interested in bringing good homes to abandoned animals, which is as worthy a cause as anyone could wish for. The best part is that Kurland is already interested in the arts, as is the potential Ms. Claus (Kurland's partner, Elizabeth Koke); that's good news for the elves going forward, and for anyone who would be getting presents designed and manufactured at the North Pole Workshops. Finally, the nomination for Claus 2.0 that I consider the most serendipitous - and potentially the most interesting of all: Lady Gaga. She's already known, loved, and admired around the world, which is exactly what you want in a Santa, she's bound to do something interesting to the costume every year, which seems like a "great leap forward", and she's already used to dealing with great volumes of fan interaction - and if Lady Gaga were the next Santa, you could expect social media to become a big, big, deal at the North Pole. It was entirely coincidental, but I happened to catch "Gaga by Gaultier" the other night, and as it turns out Gaga is looking to recreate The Factory, the storied workshop and studios of Andy Warhol... which could not be more perfect for a Santa with artistic ambitions, since the North Pole workshops are full of skilled technicians who have been cranking out a mixture of art and fun as long as there's been a Santa Claus, for goodness sake. As for her Santa power: imagine if someone could visit all the bullied boys and girls, all in one night, just to let them know that things can "get better" and leave coal and access to social services for the bullies. Well, that's a pretty good power, and if Santa could do all that while singing "I Was Born This Way" - then I think we may have a winner. So how about that? Four alternative Santas, each with a set of unique qualifications, all of whom could make things fun even as they're stirring things up a bit, and all of whom bring their own interesting personality characteristics to this thought exercise. Toss it around in your head a bit, see what you think, and let's have a bit more fun fleshing out the thinking here in an effort to see who might really be the best choice for Santa 2.0. In other words, now that I've reported - you decide.