Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Odinmas!

There's a lot more to Christmas than religion. Indeed, even within the bounds of religion, there's a lot more to Christmas than Christianity. Surely we all know by now that a lot of the elements of Christmas have their origin in pre-Christian religion. But I didn't realize, somehow, that there's more to Santa Claus than a morphing of a 4th-century saint. Specifically, I'd never heard of the Odin connection described in the quibcag and in the Jim Goad essay below.

But it's a strangely satisfying thought. It's certainly true that a great deal of what we White Europeans are has its roots in our pre-Christian past. Our customs and moral sensibilities are not, as most people suppose, a result of Christianity. It sort of worked the other way — Christianity modified itself by absorbing into itself much of our old culture. (More on this over at Sodahead.)

But Jim Goad has a lot more to say about Christianity, Christmas, and Santa Claus than that. It all starts with the startling notion that Santa Claus could be anything other than White. I guess that's a permissible thought, now that Stan Lee and all have converted Nick Fury and Heimdall into Africans.  But Jim isn't having any:

Santa Claus: Still White


Although Santa Claus doesn’t exist, I am nevertheless convinced that he is white. I take it as a matter of faith that he is as white as his beard and as white as the polar ice caps. As a pale male of exclusively Northern European descent, I also choose to believe that Santa Claus is a man—a heterosexual man who enjoys giving Mrs. Claus a right good rogering from time to time.

Aisha Harris would disagree. Aisha is a blogger for slate.com. She shares a first name with the girl who was married to Muhammad at age six and consummated their marriage at the unripened age of nine—while Ol’ Mo was 53—but I didn’t see this fact mentioned in the article that set off a diarrheal blast of news coverage last week.

The essay was called “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” and forgive me if I think it’s a wee bit uppity for Aisha to presume she has the authority to make such declarations. Aisha writes of the shame and pain and confusion and heartache she’d experience every holiday season when she walked out into the Scary Big White World and was ruthlessly confronted with “pale” Santas who had “skin as pink as bubble gum.” Aisha failed to note that if she were still living in her ancestral homeland, she likely wouldn’t be concerned with such trifles. Back in those non-wintry climes, she might even know what horseflies taste like.

The language Aisha uses in her article to deride Santa’s commonly understood physiognomy would likely raise the hackles of microaggression-sniffing progressive watchdogs were they applied to anyone else besides white men. Harris called Santa “melanin-deficient,” a “fat old white man,” an “old white male,” and a “fat white guy”:

…I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin….That’s right: a penguin….Why, you ask? For one thing, making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood.

A young black-and-white penguin, you say? Preferably one that would likely morph into a young hermaphroditic rainbow-colored penguin? And then a young human in a hermaphroditic rainbow-colored penguin costume because the animal-rights activists complained? I don’t like where this is headed at all, Aisha. Not one tiny little bit. You get a lump of coal from me this Christmas.

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