Thursday, 17 December 2009

Setting a bad example


Good grief! Is nothing off limits to the miserable and humourless PC brigade? Last week we had the story from a Canadian academic accusing Thomas the Tank Engine of being a Nazi, and this week it’s the turn of the antipodeans to have a pop at Santa Claus for 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!

36 comments:

  1. Matilde from Sydney17 December 2009 08:30

    Dr Grills needs to get a real job. I heard this on the radio today and thought initially that it was a joke! Alas, its political correctness gone mad.

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  2. LOL and it's an Aussie having a whinge about Santa... sacrilege !

    Besides, we all know Santa drinks beer in Aus. It's damn hot in that suit down here. And he uses kangaroos for the sleigh, as quarantine laws don't allow the caribou here.

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  3. Chris in Melbourne17 December 2009 09:25

    Hi XTM
    From Chris in Melbourne.

    Bah! Humbug! It's cringe material from one of our own. I think the article was in the British Medical Journal in the last couple of days or something. By this afternoon,our time that is, any questions have been fended off with it was meant to be 'tongue in cheek' and so on. For what its worth, the author was,after Monash a Rhodes Scholar, has been in the UK, Oxford in the early noughties I think ,doing stuff connected with his field concerning research of something to do with India and Africa that is until fairly recently.
    My fellow Melburnians beware! The Grinch is loose somewhere in the suburbs!

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  4. He may have picked up some bad habits while over here in this PC-infested country but he's still one of yours :-)

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  5. I suggest Dr. Nathan Grills extends his research to Santa's ancestor, Saint Nicholas. He brings bullying and racism into the equation; deals out tooth-rotting sweets which can be construed as fertility symbols; and wears a mitre with a cross on it, thus offending the non-religious population.

    Check it out on Wikipedia in the 'Celebration in the Netherlands etc.' section.

    Cora

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  6. It's time Christmas was banned. The use of Santa Claus as a Trojan Horse employing all the trappings of Western consumerism gives the Christian church far too big an advantage over other religions which can only offer vegetarianism, martyrdom and inequality. Using an old man to bribe children into behaving well is simply our of kilter with modern-day thinking. It must be stopped!

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  7. What's next? Another "expert" who claims that Santa's responsible for climate change because his reindeers release too much methane into the atmosphere?

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  8. I think that one's already been mentioned. Can you imagine what sot of life we'll be leading once the Climate Mob have stripped away all modes of transport, meat has been banned and the heating turned off. It's going to be a lot of fun.

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  9. Is nothing sacred anymore leave old tubbs alone

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  10. nathangrills@gmail.com - for any comments to the author.

    It really doesn't seem to be the spoof that surely it can only be.

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  11. I'm really worried now. What if they breathalise Santa before he gets to my house?

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  12. Excuse me...Children dont sit on Santa's lap these days.

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  13. TM, Vaguely O/T, While you were still in hospital, I posted a spoof apology from an archetypal clipboard-toting NHS jobsworth. There followed some discussion about whether bureaucrats (not to mention female government ministers) all ran on the same microchip.

    To my knowledge, there is so far no patent on a bureaucratic drivel generator, although something similar already exists for post-modern psychobabble. See the so-called 'Dada Engine':

    http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

    There is surely a marketing opportunity here for a robot ministerial speech-writer. We all know the lexicon ...


    core functions
    outsourcing
    fast-moving upwards trends
    upskilling
    stakeholders
    branding
    toolkits
    heightening awareness ...

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  14. It was only a matter of time before someone had a go at Santa! Lets face it, the PC brigade have had a go at everything else!

    I have yet to see Santa under the influence whilst delivering pressies!

    To combat the 'Bah! Humbug' that this is can I just tell you all it is SNOWING!!!! YAY! Slowing now but was at blizzard conditions for about 30 mins there! Fantastically Christmassy!

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  15. Yay! Snowing on and off in Berkshire as well. Son has got hat and gloves at the ready in case it settles.

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  16. Snow? Blizzards? Where's the global warming? Silly me! It's climate change.

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  17. Good afternoon ETM et al.

    Well I am sitting in the middle of Mayfair (well in a warm office naturally) - and no sign of snow or anything - please can I have a refund?????

    Best wishes to all - Cats' Mother

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  18. And the place that started the contraversy is sweltering in a heat wave and battling bushfires:) got to love the land down under. No wonder Santa trades in his suit for a bonds singlet and boardies!!!!!

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  19. Is this from the Ministry of Silly Thoughts?

    Here in Canada we give the Jolly old elf cookies and milk so that may dilute all that sherry and beer (no wonder he has a gut-it's a beer belly and not a 'bowl full of jelly'!)

    Today is warmer--bikini time! 2C today!!

    Libby...still thawing out but Christmas is around the corner--PC police be darn--Merry Christmas!

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  20. that was sooooo funny - I wonder who is funding this type of trash??? Can we not be relied on to be able to sort out fact from fiction for heavens sake??? Another reason I am glad I am not intelligent enough to be an academic!!

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  21. Poor old Santa. Nothing would surprise me from the land downunder at the moment however.

    Aust is about to introduce legislation before the next election forcing our ISPs to block a secret blacklist of "refused classification" websites for all Aust internet users. Apparently we down under cant be trusted to look after ourselves any more.

    Im therefore not surprised that Santa has to be drawn in to setting a better example for us to follow.

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  22. Could I point out that Santa needs his ample girth to survive up in the North Pole. If he was a skinny bloke with the BMI of Kate Moss, he wouldn't last five minutes up there.

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  23. P.C. Xmas Poem

    Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
    How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
    His workers no longer would answer to ‘Elves’,
    Vertically challenged they were calling themselves.
    And labor conditions at the North Pole,
    Were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul

    Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
    Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
    And equal employment had made it quite clear,
    That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
    So Dancer and Donna, Comet and Cupid,
    Were replaced with four pigs and you know it looked stupid!

    The runners were taken from his beautiful sleigh,
    ‘cos they were deemed ‘dangerous by the EPA.
    And millions of people were calling the cops,
    When they heard the sled noises up on their rooftops.
    Smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
    And his red fur trimmed suit was called ‘unenlightened’

    To show you the strangeness of today’s ebbs and flows,
    Rudolf was suing ‘bout use of his nose.
    He went to court, in front of the Nation,
    Claiming millions of dollars in compensation.

    So half the reindeer were gone, and his wife
    Who suddenly said ‘enough of this life’
    Joined a self help group, packed and left in a whiz,
    Stating from now on her title was Ms.

    And as for gifts, why he’d never the notion
    That making a choice would cause so much commotion.
    Nothing of leather, nothing of fur...
    Which meant nothing for him and nothing for her?
    Nothing to shoot, nothing to aim,
    Who’d be responsible, who’d take the blame?
    Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise
    Nothing for just girls and ditto for boys.
    Nothing that looked like gender specific,
    Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic

    No lollies or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
    Nothing that seemed to polish the truth.
    And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
    Were like Barbie and Ken, better off hidden.
    For they raised the hackles of those psychological,
    Who said that the only good gift was ecological

    No baseball, no football, a kid might get hurt,
    Besides playing at sports exposed kids to the dirt.
    Dolls were sexist and should be passé.
    And Nintendo would rot your senses away.

    So Santa just stood there, sad and perplexed,
    He just couldn’t work out what to do next.
    He tried to be merry; he tried to be gay,
    But he said to himself this has been a bad day.
    His sack was quite empty; it was flat on the ground,
    Gifts to please all just couldn’t be found.

    Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
    Give to us all, the left and the right.
    A gift that would satisfy-with no indecision
    Each group of people in every religion.
    Every race every hue,
    Everyone, even you
    So here is that gift, its price beyond worth
    “MAY YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES ENJOY PEACE ON EARTH’

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  24. Dear XTM

    I can't stand any more, I have been a dedicated follower of your blog here in Sydney, Australia, but I am sorry to see an article, that is one of a few lighthearted, irreverent articles that appear in medical/health journals at this time, every year, has been taken so far out of context. It is a joke article and will always be a joke article.

    I know, you may have to be a health worker to get it, but think of it this way, if you had to work in health (NHS or anywhere) you'd need to let off steam some way and writing an article is better than taking to strong liquer, using the drug cupboard contents for fun, running down hospital bureaucrats with wheelchairs, or worse still not letting any of your patients eat anything other than hospital food and banning meal drops from relatives.

    See the stress is getting to me and I dont have any more hair to pull out!

    Wishing XTM, XTM family and all XTM readers/bloggers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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  25. chris from melbourne18 December 2009 05:14

    To Anon @ 04.52.
    Have a read of some of our newspapers, like the Herald Sun (Melbourne)Editorial today and also what the good Dr is quoted as saying himself on the article. I gather you are involved in our OZ health system in whatever way,so I understand, I think, the stress part you are alluding to.Don't let it get to you.I prescribe a cup of tea, a 'bex' and a good
    lie-down. Call in the morning if the symptoms persist. Seasons Greetings and Salutations to you.

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  26. I have to agree with Chris. It's being reported seriously here. If it is a joke then who can blame us for not seeing the funny side of things? We've endured so much of this PC crap for so long we've lost our sense of humour. It may be a joke but in the UK these days you can't tell. Blame the PC brigade for having cried wolf once too often. Writing satire is a highly skilled art; you have to put something in the article to show it's truly tongue in cheek... Dr Grills didn't do that and there will be humourless PC drones somewhere in the world taking his message seriously and acting upon it to make someone's life miserable.

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  27. I bet the P.C. brigade can`t wait until Easter..!!

    Ness..

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  28. I don't believe a Doctor could recognise satire if it bit him on his hairy arse. If they could, they'd never stand to work in the health system.

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  29. A word from the man of the moment. Email received tonight from Nathan Grills:

    "Merry Christmas!

    Did you read the BMJ article? Most of the article is meant to be tongue in cheek...it's a joke. It’s like belief in Santa. There is a little bit of truth and every person has to decide how much they believe.

    I am not trying to undermine Santa. I believe in Santa. I am a Santa lover not hater! I have impersonated him 3 times before for school concerts in rural Victoria! But I believe in the true meaning of Santa. The true Santa, Saint Nicholas, was a very generous man who gave of all his wealth to bless others who were in need. This was a reflection of the greatest gift given to humanity the baby Jesus. We need to reclaim Christmas for the beauty of giving and loving. It is not about Coke and evil alcohol companies exploiting Santa’s selling power! He is not the chief sales consultant for a tobacco company

    Nathan"







    You are, I believe, about to go 'viral' with your thoughts on a healthy Santa.



    Do please let the world know that the whole thing is a festive spoof. It must be, it has to be, doesn't it?



    Dom. Peter Palladas

    St. Boniface

    The Wolds

    Lincs.

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  30. I love it when these PC folk give us a laugh....No pressys for them this year then.... Yo Hic..Ho..Hic..Ho

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  31. i think Dr Grills got stuck into one too many of those Glswegian Advent calendars..or at least i hope so because i would hate to think he was sober when wrote that.

    How's the leg going? Much better I hope!
    Cheers
    Mich

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  32. Eight. Eight tiny reindeer, not six. Unless you've had venison for dinner.
    Mmmmm.... Venison....

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  33. Chris from Melbourne20 December 2009 05:45

    A Santa update.
    I ventured to the shopping centre supermarket for some supplies yesterday afternoon and whilst I was waiting my turn at the bakery counter, who should arrive next to me but Santa. Engaging him in conversation I said that he'd been getting bad press, as a bad role model.
    I was a bit later home than usual as it takes a little while to re-inflate the wheelchair tyres and I had to pickup my groceries from various locations up aisle seven.
    So I settled down to watch the televised 'Carols in the Domain' from Sydney, an annual event with some talented singers and a few minor soapie celebrities, plus Leo Sayer (now an Aussie) and Englebert Humperdink. Then lo and behold, there's Santa again, on top of the Sydney Tower and then due to his magic on stage within a nano-second. Anyway I held my breath hoping he could get through his spiel without any of the language he used earlier in the afternoon, otherwise it would truly have been 'complaints of the season'.
    Hope all is calm and bright for the XTM's,
    Chris from Melbourne.

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  34. Eight reindeer? Bloody hell! That's worse than the overmanning on a British Airways flight.

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  35. yet again traction man you are regurgitating the worst kind of spurious crap from the tabloid press.

    I think this article clears up any confusion about the original piece in the BMJ.

    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/nurtureshock/archive/2009/12/18/santa-s-a-health-menace-media-everywhere-are-falling-for-it-but-the-entire-study-is-a-fake.aspx

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  36. I think we can be forgiven for mistaking 'lighthearted' PC fun since it's so difficult to tell if some of the crap emanating from the PC world is real or a wind-up. Unfortunately I don't have a complaints department to deal with people who don't like my writing or views. If you don't like reading imy ramblings then you're entirely at liberty not to visit my blog. The choice is yours; and after my ordeal this year I have neither the inclination nor the motivation to waste my tine with your views.

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