Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa is NOT Hazardous to Your Health

Who are you people who get a Ph.D or an MD and have the title "Dr." in front of your name and then decide that you know everything whether it related to what your degree is in or not and decide to proclaim your self-decided knowledge as the gospel of whatever. (Gospel of jackassery, from what I can tell here, but whatever you'd like to call it is fine with me.) Are you folks so danged miserable in your own lives that you just have to be a certain kind of a jackass around everyone else? Naturally, I'm not saying that all folks who are doctors are like this. But for those of you who are? Could you do us all a favor? Pipe down and go away, please? And while you're at it, leave Santa Claus out of your quackery, all right? All right.

Let's take a look at a one Dr Nathan Grills from Australia's Monash University. Now, I don't know if he has done an actual "study" or if he has just taken the liberty to use his title of "doctor" as a way to publish what is essentially an editorial piece in the British Medical Journal, but I do know that he's so completely full of crap that it almost makes me angry. And I'm not sure if I'm angry at him or if I'm angry at a medical journal for publishing this garbage. It's a medical journal! It's supposed to be about medicine! It's not supposed to be having articles/papers by some 27-year old doctor in Australia who claims that Santa Claus is a "...promoter of obesity, disease and even driving under the influence" and is, therefore, a bad influence for children.

::: blink ::: ::: blink :::

Um, what now? Santa....Santa Claus Lord, man. What is wrong with you?!

According to the fine folks down under at the Herald Sun in an article titled "Boozy, fat Santa a 'bad example' (there's a catchy title!), we learn that this moron, this Dr. Grills, claims that Santa Claus is "...acting in ways that could damage millions of lives." Now, if you haven't decided that this definitely signals the end of all humanity and have rushed off to spend more time with your loved ones before society implodes upon itself, keep reading and I'll tell you how Dr. Grills claims that Santa is doing all of this. (Have a drink while you're reading if it helps! It certainly doesn't hurt when you're reading other posts now, does it?)

Grills (I'm dropping the "Dr." for the rest of this post, as I just can not stomach it) claims that "Santa's "rotund sedentary image" had the effect of making "obesity synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality" around the world." Ah, yes. The synonymous cheerful and jovial fat man which has taken over all parts of the globe including Somalia!


And Madagascar! Behold!

Yeah, I'm not seeing a whole lot of obesity, nor cheerfulness and joviality over there, how about you, Mr. Grills? Seriously. When I think "obesity" I don't think "Santa Claus". I think stuff like this. Behold!

Now that does not make me jovial nor cheerful. It makes me a little bit nauseous if you really want to know. But Santa Claus? He never makes me nauseous. (OK, the ones at the malls make me a little nervous sometimes, but nauseous? Never.)

Mr. Grills "....also noted that children are encouraged to leave out hard liquor such as Brandy for a man who has a lot of travel to do in one night." OK, see, this is where you can tell that Mr. Grills is so full of himself that he is unable to see past only what exists in his own world. Over here in America, we do not leave brandy out for Santa. We leave milk and we leave cookies. People who want to be all cutsey leave out carrots for his reindeer (do reindeer even eat carrots?). We're not wasting good brandy on some guy who, essentially, breaks into our homes. Milk. Milk and delicious cookies. Pay attention, Nathan! There are lots of traditions around the world besides yours! Shocking, I know!

Continuing along the article of idiocy, "Other dangerous activities on Santa's list of festive wrongdoings include "speeding, disregard for road rules and extreme sports such as roof surfing and chimney jumping", because "despite the risks of high speed air travel, he is never depicted wearing a seatbelt or helmet". Oh, for God's sake. What is wrong with you sir?!

First of all, you have NO idea if the man is speeding or not. If you're basing that on the fact that he has to visit every house on the entire planet, well then, I think that you've just stated the reason for making that concern completely idiotic. As far as the "road rules", um, Santa flies his sleigh in the skies. There are no roads up there. I've been in a plane and you know what I didn't see when I was flying? That's right. Roads. And those "extreme sports" you cite? I don't know that you know that he does that. I cannot recall the "roof surfing" and the jumping from chimney to chimney as part of my Christmas time lore when I was a child. Or even now (when I tend to act childlike).

What, exactly, are the "risks of high speed air travel" as you see them, Mr. Grills? When I'm on an airplane, that's "high speed air travel" is it not? I have never worn a helmet on a plane and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you have not either, you jackass. (And if I'm wrong and you have worn a helmet on a plane, just what do you think that is going to do for you if you're plummeting towards the earth?)

So what does Mr. Grills suggest we do about such non-existent atrocities that are occurring during the most wonderful time of the year? Well, he "...recommended that instead of using a sleigh, the man himself should be "encouraged to adopt a more active method to deliver toys - swapping his reindeer for a bike or simply walking or jogging". I don't know about you, but although I know next to nothing about piloting a flying sleigh led by eight tiny reindeer and Rudolph, I would hardly call it "inactive". Is Mr. Grills suggesting that we make Christmas be on every single day of December? Because if he's going to have Santa walking from house to house, that's going to be a bit time consuming. It's hardly an activity that can be accomplished in one night. If you put all of the brandy that Mr. Grills is leaving out for the man, it could take all damn year as a boozed up Santa staggers from street to street. How is he supposed to get into our homes if he walks? You want him to jog carrying that sack of toys?! That's not going to happen! Oh, wait! Mr. Grills probably wants him to put the presents in one of those baby jogger stroller things that everyone is always pushing around while they jog. Yeah, that sounds real traditional. That's something youngsters will really be able to sink their imagination into all right.

Listen. Mr. Grills. In all of your reasoning as to why this whole deal with Santa is a problem, you've overlooked one key point. (Spoiler alert here!) See, Santa Claus isn't real. This stuff that you've described that he does? Yeah, that doesn't really happen. And when kids get to the age where they, sadly, don't believe in Santa Claus anymore, then that's when they know that those things don't happen. They're not going to be sitting around wondering how a drunken Santa is driving the sleigh without crashing through their rooftops. No, they're going to be wondering if they can stay awake longer than their parents so that they can sneak back out to the fireplace and sip that brandy themselves!

Lay off of the Christmas traditions, Mr. Grills. Put your sanctimonious conclusions somewhere that isn't going to annoy anyone else. That would include not in a medical journal. And folks over there at the British Medical Journal, what were you folks thinking? Don't give this man and other folks like him a platform to spew such ridiculousness. You're supposed to be publishing papers on how you're working on curing cancer and helping the blind to see and stuff like that. You're not supposed to be publishing papers about why someone doesn't like a fictional character. Next thing you know, Nature is going to publish an article "Why Spongebob is Offensive to Other Porous and Multi-Celled Aquatic Organisms".

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Anonymous said...

Ah yes, showing again that many people are incapable of understanding satire. Please read the article in full before commenting - see the Newsweek response if you still do not grasp the subtleties involved.

Anonymous said...

Encourage our journalists to be more responsible, please.

Mare said...

Incapable of understanding satire? I am fully capable of understanding satire. I am also fully capable of understanding a medical journal. Furthermore, I am fully capable of understanding the purpose of a medical journal.

It seems to me like journalists were just doing their job. They were reporting on something that was published in a medical journal and that was completely asinine. It's not the journalists that need reprimanding, rather it's the staff at the BMJ who need a little talking to.

Why space in a medical journal would be wasted on satire is beyond me. Why Dr. Grills would choose a medical journal for his satire is beyond me.

People are fully capable of understanding satire given that it isn't demonstrated in an arena in which there is no place for satire.

Tell me, so that people everywhere don't "fall for" such satire again, should we just be wary of everything that is published in every publication that is supposed to be respectable? All of those studies about cancer and heart disease? Satire as well? How do we know the difference? Oh, that's right. It's supposed to be a medical journal! There's no place for satire in a medical journal!

Thanks for the comments and thanks for reading. I do see your point, but given the context in which this issue was published, I'm going to have to disagree with your claim that this is somehow the fault of the journalists that reported on this story and not the responsiblity of the editors and publishers of BMJ to have not included that story in the first place.

~ M

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. Not all forums, medical journals included, can be as self-serious as your inarticulate rant of a blog at all times (which i regret has just wasted valuable and un-recoverable minutes of my life; what can i say - killing time in an internet cafe is a bitch). Your references to starving kids in Africa are redundant; Dr Grills is a public health doctor, who i personally know and who has spent a large portion of his career volunteering, unpaid, in developing countries. Yourself? Didn't think so.

Mare said...

You're commenting on a post that I wrote almost a year ago and yet, I'm the idiot? OK, then.

Anonymous said...

Just to make clear where my biasedness is coming from: I know Dr Grills personally as well... and yes, I know it is 2 years now.

Besides the fact that I see absolutley no reason why no satires could be published in medical journals, I have little doubt who is really full of herself implicitly claiming that American traditions should be the base of any article in a British medical journal. (From this regard you might be really in a disadvantageous position to recognise a quad of one of the best renowned colleges of the University of Oxford where one of your attached pic was taken and where he holds his research doctorate from... I trust you might have heard of the university though.)

And how should you know the difference? Common sense? Sense of humour? (Do these words have any meaning in the land where no liquor is wasted on Santa any more?) I really think that the previous commenter was too nice to you to describe all the things subtleties which should have made you (and the media) suspcious at least. This article was not close to the threashold of credibilty, but was way-way beyond. Not sure if this (I mean the after life of the article) is a story of certain kind of gullibility or some kind of sensationalism.

Mare said...

Hey, Anonymous.

Well, I'm glad that we agree that satire has no place in medical journals. That's good. That shows me that you're a reasonable human being and we simply disagree on other points. Nothing wrong with that.

Thanks for reading!

~ Mary