General Santa's Special Ops Schlock and Awe Invasion
Christmas has come a long way from the three wise men on camels visiting the Baby Jesus in a manger in a Middle Eastern desert or from the anti-capitalist-greed morality tale of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Now we have a holiday cartoon blockbuster called Arthur Christmas that looks like The Invasion of Normandy starring The Muppets as told by Tom Clancy and delivered by Fed Ex.
In this version, the ranking Santa Claus sports a red military uniform with golden epaulets and medals on his chest (presumably for past Christmas campaigns) while his vast army of elves dressed in camouflage military uniforms march around the North Pole in formation harassing endangered polar bears.
The premise of the movie is that the Claus family has a super-secret base in The North Pole and operates its modern delivery juggernaut from a massive “mission control” not unlike the war room in Doctor Strangelove, except this vast room featuring thousands of computer terminals and giant video screens is not constructed out of harsh, film-noir light and shadow but of cotton-candy and ginger bread.
Here’s the movie’s synopsis according to its publicity blitzkrieg:
“This Christmas movie highlights the technological advances of operations at the North Pole, revealing how Santa and his vast army of highly trained elves produce gifts and distribute them around the world in one night. However, every operation has a margin of error. When one of 600 million children to receive a gift from Santa on Christmas Eve is missed, it is deemed ‘acceptable’ to all but one, Arthur. Arthur Claus is Santa’s misfit son who executes an unauthorized rookie mission to get the last present half way around the globe before dawn on Christmas morning.”
I’m a critic of capitalist greed and the worship of profit and the “free” market as a secular religion. Since the Reagan Presidency, this religion has burrowed itself deep into the culture. It’s why in our current condition wealth tends to breed more wealth as the wealthy gravitate to gated communities to protect themselves from the equally compounding miseries of poverty, which are relegated to their own ghettos.
Along with this disastrous increase in the wealth gap, we’ve also seen a rise in the militarization of everything from local police departments to schools to fashion to entertainment.