Santa smoking may be an iconic image of the holidays in many depictions, but in 2012, Father Christmas may be giving up the habit following outcry from an anti-smoking publisher.
An image of Santa smoking may almost look anachronistic in this day and age when smoking is about the most evil thing anyone can do in media, which is why it’s almost shocking that it got this far until the depiction of him puffing a pipe was 86’d to better influence kids who may be inspired to take up the habit.
The Santa smoking censorship involves the iconic poem most recognizable by its first line, “’twas the night before Christmas …” But the actual title of the writing is “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” and an anti-smoking advocate has revised the classic to remove all references to smoking from the piece.
Pamela McColl says she “just really [doesn’t] think Santa should be smoking in the 21st century,” and the advocate who has worked to remove smoking from several films elaborates:
“Santa is the most powerful character in the world … I thought this was a great project … The omission of these few words do not change the material intent of the author nor do they infringe on the reader’s understanding or enjoyment of this historically-rich story, but by removing these words we may save lives and avoid influencing new smokers.”
Indeed, and who among us can’t say that images of Santa smoking didn’t inspire us to light up once we were old enough to test-drive the dangerous habit? And don’t even get me started on what we may or may not have seen him doing with mommy under the Christmas tree last night. Absolutely scandalized.
(And come to think of it, what exactly is Santa smoking anyway? Could that be the reason he’s always looking for cookies?)
While many of today’s helicopter parents may agree with the decision to make Santa stop smoking, a few rogue groups of hellions, such as the American Library Association, called the changes “an act of censorship that denies the audience access to the author’s authentic voice.” But really, what kind of parent trusts a librarian with kids best interests?
The National Coalition Against Censorship also commented, noting that “putting children in an insulation bubble, hoping to protect them from anything their parents may deem harmful, is not only impossible, it is unproductive.”‘
Do you agree it’s right to alter history and delete images of Santa smoking, or has fear of kids witnessing small adult transgressions gone too far?