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As Long as We Remember...

December 23, 2005

Anther Envy

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Merry Christmas. As an incredible year draws to a close, we learn that the gender of Santa’s reindeer is in question, Barbie dolls in England are being tortured, Kathy Afzali has uttered the words “Merry Christmas” in public and – in Belgium – they are napalming the Smurf village.

In an era when nothing is sacred – with this year’s “winter festivities between bowl games” in honor of the “holiday infant” – all hopes have been dashed for renewed civility.

Barbie tortured in England

Jill Lawless, writing in an Associated Press article on December 19, put the brakes on any well-meaning Mom or Dad, aunt or uncle who intended to give a little girl a “Barbie” this Christmas. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin for bringing it to our attention.

According to researchers in England, little girls are torturing Barbie to reject a symbol of their childhood.

Ms. Lawless reports that in England, Agnes Nairn, a University of Bath researcher says: "The girls we spoke to, see ‘Barbie torture’ as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity… The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."

I kid you not. But wait, it gets better: “While boys often expressed nostalgia and affection toward Action Man – the British equivalent of GI Joe – renouncing Barbie appeared to be a rite of passage for many girls, Nairn said.”

"Whilst for an adult the delight the child felt in breaking, mutilating and torturing their dolls is deeply disturbing, from the child's point of view they were simply being imaginative in disposing of an excessive commodity in the same way as one might crush cans for recycling," Nairn said.

No report as to whether or not President Bush ordered the torture.

Afzali utters “Merry Christmas” at local mall

Fortunately, Frederick News Post columnist, Kathy Afzali is not rejecting a “symbol of her childhood.” However, she is not above gratuitous acts of civil disobedience.

Many were shocked and appalled to read her depiction that she was hauled off to the slammer for “using offensive language in public.” Merry Christmas.

If you missed her column in the Frederick News Post December 6, please find time to read it. It was wonderful. Better yet, after you read her column, read the “comments.” They are even funnier. Even Joe Volz joined the fray – and yes, I agree with Mr. Volz, it was satire and even I got it. Merry Christmas.

UNICEF bombs the Smurf Village

In case you missed it; in the ‘is nothing sacred department,’ on August 10, the Daily Telegraph reported that in Belgium, a UNICEF fund-raising campaign depicts the Smurf’s village being bombed.

Yes, the United Nations – those fun loving folks who re-invented mindless bureaucracy and analysis paralysis as well as the Iraq oil for food scandal – has now portrayed those lovable Smurfs being annihilated.

“The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes,” writes the Telegraph. “The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom-shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky…. Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.”

Another English newspaper, The Register, commented that “compassion fatigue” now requires charitable organizations to drop napalm on cartoon favorites to shock the public out of its tragedy-saturated torpor.

According to top reindeer experts:

Hillary Mayell, writing for the National Geographic News on December 24, 2002, reports that there are two “children's books written in the early 1800s credited with introducing the reindeer aspect to the Santa legend.”

The first, “The Children’s Friend,” was published in 1821, according to Laura Wasowicz at the American Antiquarian Society.

In 1823, Clement Clarke Moore first published “The Night Before Christmas” in an upstate New York newspaper, writes Ms. Mayell. In Moore's classic poem, Santa had eight reindeer and they didn't really fly.

The rumor that Santa’s reindeer are all female may not be entirely true.

According to numerous published reports, everyone cites (blames) the folks (suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder?) at the “Alaska Department of Fish and Game,” for calling to our attention that: “While both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December. Female (pregnant) reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring.”

However, according to Ms. Mayell’s article, the gender issue could take a turn for the worse: “The Sami people of Lapland, whose livelihood depends on their reindeer herds, frequently neuter their working reindeer, which would interrupt the cycle that causes males to shed their antlers.”

“The evidence therefore leads to the conclusion that Santa's reindeer are either females, young bulls, or neutered.”

So far, there are no authoritative reports as to whether or not reindeer can really fly or the existence of Santa Claus. Until the ACLU files suit or someone disproves it – reindeer fly and that Santa Claus is real.

As far as the reindeer being female, as numerous sites noted – we should've known that all along. Santa Claus would certainly not ask for directions and besides, only a pregnant woman would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas

P.S.: This Christmas and Chanukah season, please be sure to send the secular souls at the ACLU a religious card – a Christmas card or a Chanukah greeting. Best yet: one that says, “Merry Christmas.” In the spirit of the season, please be polite, respectful and kind: The address is: ACLU 125 Broad Street 18th Floor New York, NY 10004

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at: ####

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