Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the land,
Santa was not smoking, because smoking was banned.
Around this time every year, some misguided meddler launches a campaign to make Christmas somehow less offensive (as if it were offensive in the first place).
This year, Canadian anti-smoking crusader Pamela McColl has taken it upon herself to republish the quintessential Christmas Eve fable, Twas the Night Before Christmas, with all references to Santa’s pipe removed.
Purportedly in the interest of impressionable children, who McColl believes will inclined to start smoking if they see Santa having a puff, McColl has committed a sin far worse giving a child a lit cigarette.
She has modified the work of an author who, by virtue of being dead, isn’t able to launch a massive lawsuit against her.
Clement C. Moore, who authored the poem 200 years ago, must be rolling in his grave.
The cover of the new edition bears the subtitle: “Edited by Santa Claus for the benefit of children of the 21st Century.”
McColl seems to believe she is doing a service to children by shielding children from the damaging influence of a pipe-smoking Santa.
Of course, she has exposed children to something far more insidious: the notion that a work of art from a previous era that could be construed as out-of-line with contemporary values can be “fixed.” It’s a stupid and dangerous idea.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say McColl was justified in removing the smoking references from the Christmas story? Why did she stop there?
The story is full of potentially bad influences on young, malleable minds. A few egregious examples:
- Santa is overweight — a terrible influence amid the “childhood obesity epidemic.”
- Santa tromps about on snowy rooftops without a safety harness, which is clearly a health and safety violation.
- Milk and cookies? Do they contain traces of nuts or lactose?
- Visions of sugarplums dancing in children’s heads is a clear warning of future tooth decay and diabetes. Better replace sugarplums with carrots.
- Entering a house via the chimney is dangerous, and could expose one to carcinogenic soot.
- Those reindeer: are they free-range and grain-fed? PETA should investigate.
- Judging by his bulbous red nose, Rudolph clearly has a drinking problem.