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A Christmas tale or two

13/12/2018

We love telling stories, it’s what we do for a living, and this time of year there’s nothing better than filling a glass with eggnog, sitting around the fire and listening to tales based around Christmas misgivings.

While we find them terribly amusing (as we do with most self-generated page fillers), they also provide plenty of Christmas party conversation as to their truth, merit or otherwise.

Take the story that’s doing the rounds at the moment – the controversy around the song ‘Baby it’s cold outside‘. The duet was written by Frank Loesser to sing with his wife at parties and went on to win an academy award in the 1949 movie Neptune’s Daughter. It’s also the title of part one of an excellent four-part series by documentary maker Adam Curtis about the strange relationship between fundamentalist Islam and U.S. neo-conservatism.

However multiple radio stations in the U.S. have banned it because some of its lyrics have been likened to date rape. The story’s been aired on most commercial TV, the ABC, in print and online here and around the world.

Critics say it’s creepy, its defenders say it was just a song of its day, but it’s also a reminder that we do live in different times and what was OK 70-plus years ago may not be today.

There’s also the story that the local (insert name) council has banned the displaying of Christmas lights after receiving a complaint from a local mosque. It’s been propagated around the world, and in most cases there’s not even a mosque in the area that’s been identified.

Pure racist prattle, but another example of jumping to conclusions without doing a very minor amount of due diligence on the story.

We truly love a story

And what about the elementary school principal in Nebraska that banned candy canes from schoolrooms because they supposedly represent Jesus.

Well this one’s true. Manchester Elementary principal Jennifer Sinclair sent a memo to parents and students informing them of a list that essentially banned any Christmas-specific decor or activities.

Candy canes were off limits because “historically, the shape [of the candy cane] is a ‘J’ for Jesus, the red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection”.

The list also banned carols and music, reindeer, red and green items, and Christmas movies (surely not Bad Santa), but did allow for non-Christmas winter imagery such as yetis, penguins and snowmen, snow women, snow people, snowflakes, and Olaf from Frozen (thank goodness!).

Whether a subdued family affair, raucous raconteur revelry, or OH&S compliant company do, make sure your stories are big, bright and above all benevolent this Christmas.