“A new Texas law designed to limit how race-related subjects are taught in public schools comes with so little guidance, the on-the-ground application is already tying educators up in semantic knots as they try to follow the Legislature’s intent. In the most striking instance so far, a North Texas administrator informed teachers last week at a training session on House Bill 3979 that they had to provide materials that presented an ‘opposing’ perspective of the Holocaust.”
— Texas Tribune
TO: Texas Elementary School Teachers (Grades K-5)
FROM: Texas Education Agency
RE: Santa Claus: Opposing Viewpoints
As we implement House Bill 3979, the Texas Education Agency is concerned that classroom portrayals of Santa Claus appear to be uniformly positive. Texas law now requires that students be presented with opposing views of Mr. Claus. To this end, please find below several books the agency recommends.
Santa Claus: A Capitalist Critique
This groundbreaking work by a pair of Princeton-trained economists makes the case that Santa Claus is a “profoundly anti-capitalist figure.” The authors describe how, by giving away millions of toys, St. Nick “upsets rational market-based expectations about supply and demand” and “thumbs his nose at fundamental capitalist principles, such as the profit motive.” Additionally, Santa’s unexplained ability to obtain materials and labor at no cost artificially depresses competition, dispirits investors, and greatly enhances the risk of sharp market pullbacks. The authors conclude that “from an economics perspective, Santa Claus is a textbook neo-Marxist whose rule-of-the-proletariat practices threaten to undermine the global capitalist system.”
The North Pole Papers
Originally published as a multi-part exposé in the Washington Post, The North Pole Papers is a whistleblower’s eye-opening (and at times, salacious) account of Santa’s tinsel-draped criminal empire. The anonymous whistleblower, referred to in the articles and book only as “Deer Throat,” contends that Santa’s veneer of jolliness is mere elfin sleight-of-hand intended to distract the public from the seedy underbelly of the North Pole operation, such as Santa’s aggressive flaunting of patent and trademark laws. Working at the North Pole is no picnic either: Deer Throat says that Santa not only tolerates, but tacitly endorses rampant workplace harassment, including “nose-based name-calling and reindeer-game-excluding.” The whistleblower also alleges that St. Nick “has been seen kissing countless mommies” despite being married for hundreds of years. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” Deer Throat says. “And yes, he made Daddy very sad.”
NOTE: Teachers should be aware that Deer Throat withdrew many of his allegations shortly after the publication of The North Pole Papers. The Post’s authors, however, stand by their reporting, arguing that the whistleblower’s change of heart “appears motivated not by the truth, but rather by a last-minute sleigh-pulling quid pro quo.”
He Sees You When You’re Sleeping:
Santa Claus and the Rise of the Global Surveillance State
Global citizens live in a surveillance state, writes the author of He Sees You When You’re Sleeping. Whether it is the NSA listening to our telephone calls, the CIA tracking our phones, or multinational corporations monitoring our emails, “the right to privacy as we once knew it has all but disappeared—and Santa Claus is to blame.” By constantly spying on the world’s 2.2 billion children, to the point that he instantly knows whether they are sleeping or awake, Santa created an Orwellian surveillance blueprint that nefarious governments and faceless corporations have adroitly copied to monitor us all. Because Santa slyly told young children exactly what he was doing, and in song, no less, American youngsters have grown up thinking it’s totally normal for a pudgy, bearded, pipe-smoking elf to watch them 24-7—and that makes them think “it’s not so bad” when the FBI or Jeff Bezos do the same thing.
Heil, Santa! Arbitrary Justice, the North Pole,
and the Slippery Slope to Fascism
Heil, Santa! makes the shocking but well-supported contention that Santa’s North Pole regime bears many hallmarks of classic fascism. The author, who spent her career studying historical fascist governments in Europe, says that “At the North Pole, ‘justice’ is a wholly arbitrary concept. Santa, and Santa alone, decides who is ‘naughty’ and who is ‘nice’ without prearranged guidelines or any semblance of due process, other than the assertion that Santa will check his list twice, whatever that means.” For a child who wakes up Christmas morning to a lump of coal, there is no right of appeal and no way to tell if other children who committed similar transgressions were treated similarly. Kris Kringle’s “black-and-white, list-based brand of ‘justice’” is especially egregious because it teaches impressionable young minds that it is acceptable for one man’s (or one elf’s) whims to constitute the law. St. Nick “might as well be called Führer Nick,” the author concludes, noting, “though even the Nazis had courts.”
NOTE: Heil, Santa! espouses an important anti-Santa viewpoint, but the author’s position is also decidedly anti-fascist. Texas law, therefore, requires that the book be paired with pro-fascist resources. The agency recommends Hooray for Fascism: A Primer for Young Xenophobic Ultranationalists.
We trust that this memorandum will help Texas elementary school teachers present the required opposing views of Mr. Claus. Please keep a close eye on your inbox for forthcoming memoranda requiring opposing views of Winnie the Pooh, Pete the Cat, and puppies.
Merry Christmas/Happy Krampus,
The Texas Education Agency