Santa Claus and the War on FOX News

Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress:

How To Explain Megyn Kelly’s Fear Of A Black Santa

Much of Megyn Kelly’s mainstream appeal to viewers who wouldn’t normally praise an employee of Fox News is the idea that she’s not afraid to stand up to stupid memes or willful denials of the facts, whether she’s smacking down Dr. Keith Ablow’s fearmongering about transgender people or bowing to the evidence and calling Ohio for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. But last night, she provided a reminder of why she’s a good fit for the network that employs her.

In response to a piece by Aisha Harris in Slate that was half a joking suggestion that Santa Claus be replaced by a cheerful penguin, and half a heartfelt reflection on the difficulties of not seeing any part of yourself in an omnipresent cultural symbol, Kelly decided to dig in on an odd priority: declaring that Santa Claus has always been an old white guy, and an old white guy he must remain. “Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” she declared confidently. “I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure. That’s verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that. But my point is, how do you just revise it in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black.”


Or is it that Santa Claus is a figure who defies certain rules we teach our children? He’s a stranger who’s allowed to enter our houses without an explicit invitation, and to do so when we’re asleep and vulnerable. In setting out milk and cookies, we’re even giving him permission to stay a while. At a time when a lot of children are taught to be suspicious of strangers, especially men, and who aren’t supposed to let people who aren’t blood family, close family friends, or educators touch them, that rule is suspended for Santa Claus. Children are encouraged to sit on Santa’s lap and confide in him. That special exemption is why we find stories about mall Santas who are sexual offenders a particular betrayal of our trust. If you’re freaked out by the prospect of a non-white Santa Claus, it’s probably worth asking yourself if some of that objection comes from the fact that you might be less comfortable making these exceptions for a man of color.

That lack of charity isn’t exactly shocking. Many of the less savory parts of Kelly’s career involve stoking fears against black men, whether she’s spinning conspiracy theories about the New Black Panther Party’s influence on elections or giving airtime to a source who suggests avoiding groups of young black men as part of the scare-mongering coverage of the so-called “knockout game.”

It’s very nice, and very convenient, to have the world set up so you’re rarely asked to identify with or admire people who don’t look like you. But the very reason white folks cling to the privilege of having whiteness as a default is an argument for why we should extend our fellow citizens the same courtesy. It’s nice to see yourself reflected in media and tradition. It’s a relief. There’s absolutely no good reason, historical or otherwise, that white people should have a monopoly on that experience or that safe harbor. Christmas isn’t the only occasion on which that should be the case. But you have to be a real Grinch to suggest that it isn’t a perfectly fine time of the year to start.

There is a lot more and you should go read it. Rosenberg makes some valid points, but it’s a bad argument nonetheless. It’s bad because this is the kind of argument that people come up with when they live in an echo chamber.

It’s less than two weeks before Christmas. Is the denying the existence and/or questioning the race of Santa Claus really the hill you want to die on at this time of year? Even if you win, you lose.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got in law school was from an instructor whose day job was as an appellate justice. He started out as a prosecutor and worked his way up. He said “Don’t sacrifice your credibility with stupid arguments.”

Pretty much everyone loves Santa – even atheists and other non-Christians. Anyone who ever watched Miracle on 34th Street knows that you can’t win by attacking Santa. If ThinkProgress, Media Matters and other Vile Progs want to pick a fight with FOX News over Santa Claus I wish them a lot of luck.

They’re gonna need it.


About Myiq2xu

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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96 Responses to Santa Claus and the War on FOX News

  1. The Klown says:

    Anyone want to bet me that Megyn does a segment on this tonight?

  2. helenk3 says:

    brought this up from downstairs
    she is kicking a$$ and that scares them a lot

  3. Mary says:

    Good luck with changing white Santa to a Black penguin.

    Are these people on drugs?

  4. The Klown says:


  5. The Klown says:
    • Constance says:

      Wow, I wonder what made their Glorious Leader feel that was necessary?

      • The Klown says:

        I knew when he was arrested that he was a dead man walking. It was probably something minor. This is the same guy who had his ex-girlfriend executed.

        He also has nuclear weapons.

  6. The Klown says:
    • Lulu says:

      There will be a full blown meltdown in January. They can not fix this. Few are paying for the shit policies from the exchange and the Medicaid stuff is wrong and not being sent to the states. It is error upon screwup magnified with failure. And the IRS is auditing dissenters.

  7. The Klown says:
  8. Lulu says:

    I am sorry that the writer who had never seen a black Santa in her childhood and grew up in an area where black adults did not do this for their community’s children. All of my life the black community where I live has had many black Santas at churches or social clubs, etc from their own membership. To me that is normal and what she experienced is not. She should look to her own community for what she feels was lacking and why she feels the way she does. I met a Polynesian Santa once in Honolulu many years ago wearing a green Santa suit and flip flops. He was great and I bought him a drink.

    • The Klown says:

      I seen a lesbian Santa once.

    • Jadzia says:

      I know, right? When we lived in the lower peninsula of Michigan in the ’70s, there was always a black Santa at the mall. But I have clearer memories of my little sister’s black Drowsy doll, which my mother gave away to a grandma who asked us where we had found it, because she had looked high and low for a black Drowsy and couldn’t find one anywhere.

      Good thing my sis wasn’t THAT attached to Drowsy. If I tried to give away one of my girls’ favorite dolls, I’d be getting my hand back as a bloody stump.

  9. swanspirit says:

    Ok First of all, penquins aren’t “African American ” or black ; they are the Pittsburgh Hockey team . Cheeez she is dumb 😉

  10. The Klown says:
  11. Constance says:

    Last night I went with a friend to a nursing home tree lighting ceremony so I was sitting around in the lobby with a bunch of elders in wheelchairs with oxygen etc. They had the local lesbian choir (although they didn’t call themselves lesbian)sing and while it was nice of them to show up a bunch of Christmas Carols with no low notes sung by a group of women dressed black with rainbow suspenders and Chuck Taylors who also sang the Hanukkah/yamulka song with the list of people who are Jewish was just really off. If groups who feel left out of Christmas want to write their own songs for the season I would suggest they leave out lists of celebrity names and any baggage they have about being different and try to write about seasonal themes. I felt sorry for the old folks. You know the whole Yin Yang thing? Well it is really obviously missing in single sex choirs. To have primal appeal you need blended energies male/female, light/dark, hot/cold etc. People don’t give enough thought to primal appeal.

  12. The Klown says:

    I really don’t see the point in fighting over the Ryan-Murray budget deal. The fix is in. It’s gonna pass. Done deal.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Me neither. I think everyone in DC is either being blackmailed, audited or finding horse’s heads in their beds. Other than that…..?

    • DandyTIger says:

      The crazy Repub establishment decided the next three months should be about Obamacare instead of the evil Repubs shutting down the government. I know, crazy.

    • DandyTIger says:

      This is going to get interesting. Have no idea what the legality will be here. I have a feeling SC and GA can’t do this. But it’s fun to watch.

  13. The Klown says:

    The Donald be trollin’

  14. helenk3 says:

    those who war on Megan should be careful

    the season of the Belsnickel

    I used him on my kids when they were young

  15. The Klown says:

    You gotta read the whole tweet-thread

  16. angienc says:

    Any argument that leaves out half of what the person who you are allegedly rebutting (and thus distorting what the premise of what they actually *said*) isn’t a good argument. In this case, Megyn pointed out that the legend of Santa Clause (also known as “Saint Nick”) is based on a real life person — Saint Nicholas — who was, in fact, white. He is always depicted in Greek icons with a white beard too, btw (all Greek priests have beards). You can view an icon of St. Nicholas here:

    Anyone who doesn’t like that historical fact because their pwecious widdle fweeings are hurt can kiss my ass.

    Merry Christmas!

  17. I got nothing. I just don’t give a sh!t. I haven’t believed in Santa since my dad ruined it for me in his tighty whiteys when I was about 8, and I never lied about Santa to my own daughter. We didn’t do any of the make-believe childhood stuff like the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, because I think it’s bad policy to set kids up with a bunch of lies like that.

    If they wanna fight over stupid, meaningless sh!t, let ’em. At least they aren’t making policy or passing laws. That goes for both completely dysfunctional political sides.

    • Jadzia says:

      You are clearly the spiritual mother of my 2nd boy. I had to get out the hook last Christmas when he ran around at a school function telling all the other little kids (little kids to whom we are NOT RELATED) that Santa doesn’t exist. Mommy’s little scamp!

  18. underwhelmed says:

    The evil, it burns.

  19. helenk3 says:

    I had to steal this from a commenter at No Quarter
    you picked a fine time to leave me blue shield

  20. The Klown says:

    Apparently Twitter changed their system. All the blocks are gone.

    Stalker heaven!

  21. The Klown says:
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  23. helenk3 says:

    just because

    this kid is only 8 years old

  24. The Klown says:
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  28. The Klown says:

    Once again: Peyton Manning + cold weather + big game = losing

  29. gxm17 says:

    When my son was a little boy, we went to visit Santa at the local mall, Pentagon City. My son asked why Santa was black. I told him that Santa is magic and can be whatever color he wants to be. My son was completely satisfied with that answer.

    I really don’t understand anyone’s resistance to a Santa that isn’t a fair-skinned white man. One of my favorite Santa representations was the Russian Santa (played by Alec Baldwin) in Rise of the Guardians. Santa represents generosity of spirit and the wonder of childhood and doesn’t need to be any particular race or ethnicity to convey those qualities.

    • votermom says:

      Santa Claus traces his ethnicity to Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in the 4th century, born Greek but living in what is now Turkey.

      oh, and lots of Santa Claus history links on this site

      • votermom says:

        Hm, I’d like to imagine Chris Hemsworth coming down my chimney

        Santa Claus and Thor

        From L. Woodbridge, ‘Black and White and Red All Over: The Sonnet Mistress Amongst the Ndembu’, in Renaissance Quarterly, 40.2 (1987), pp. 247-97 at pp. 274-5

        Moore did not create Santa but “crystalized popular notions of the visit of the gift bringer” (Barnett 27), and in doing so he took over the ritual colours, probably from the Dutch, whose St Nicholas (like Moore’s) comes down the chimney, a descent primarily responsible for the white and black in his color scheme: “His clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.” Soot is an inevitable symbolic substance, completing a triad, in its blackness, with the red of fire and the white of ash: one thinks of blackened chimney sweeps in May ceremonies, and of the many blacked faces in folk festivities. The chimney descent supports the theory that Santa is ultimately the Norse god Thor:[fn9 – The Norse god Odin, who rode a white horse or drove reindeer, may also have contributed to the Santa Claus legend] as Francis Weiser points out, Thor was represented with a long white beard; his colour was red, since his element was fire, into which he descended through chimneys. His chariot was drawn by two white goats. He became the Yule-god through battling against the giants of ice and snow; he lived in the northland among icebergs (113). Moore’s St. Nick is a fire-spirit at least in his pipe-smoking: “The smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.” Professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at a theological college (Pimlott 115), Moore had the education to be aware of mythic antecedents of the Christmas figure he assembled. Santa’s debt to Thor was spotted as early as 1872, when O. M. Spencer placed both figures in the context of seasonal fertility rite: Thor battling the ice-giant is Spring’s eternal conflict with Winter. The three ritual colors attached to St. Nicholas since the Middle Ages are appropriate to a figure rooted in the seasonal fertility rite.

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