Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Death in Santaland

Just watched part of the most randomly bizarre is-this-a-massive-hoax documentary on More4. 'Death in Santaland' (part of the Travels with My Camera series) is about a town in Alaska called North Pole where thanks to good old American cashing-in, it appears to be Christmas for most of the year. The blurb from the website as follows:

"In April 2006 six 13-year-olds were arrested in North Pole for planning a mass murder. They were part of a gang of 15 'outsiders' who had drawn up a hitlist and were going to take guns and knives into class to settle some scores.

They had planned to disable the school's power and telephone systems before carrying out the shootings and then escaping to Anchorage on the train. But they were foiled when the boy who was supposed to bring the weapons failed to show up."

Okay, so far so serious documentary about current social issue.


Apparently one of the reasons the kids were so disgruntled is that every year thousands of kid's santa letters (you know, bad writing, addressed to SANTA, NORF POLE') arrive in the town and they get the kids at North Pole Middle School to act as elves (literally, dress up and everything) for a month and reply to as many of the letters as possible, presumerbly in place of reading books or learning about history, maths or any other of those crazy things other schools do.

Now this obviously means lots of kids in North Pole realise not only does Santa not exist, but they have to purpurgate this falsehood to lots of other kids all over the world. To a rational adult like the hideously twee teacher they interviewed this obviously means giving hope and joy to lots of poor kids. To a 13 year old this is SPREADING LIES AND THERE IS NO MAGIC IN LIFE AND EVERYTHING IS FALSE AND THERE IS NO GOD.

Oh come on, we have all been there.

What also suprised me is that they even bother to send letters back. Man, if I had known that actually sending a letter rather than stuffing it up a chimney would have warranted a response, my childhood, nay life would have been very different. I would probably still believe in Santa, fairies, God and the little baby Jesus. I would probably roam Oxford Street banging a drum and blessing the angry shoppers who trod on my unshod feet.

So I think it is fair to say Santa responding to letters is bad for all involved - it turns the residents of North Pole into gothy school killers and turns the rest of us into BELIEVERS.

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