Archive for December 24th, 2014

Sam X

There has to be a shot of horror in there, but I’m not going to lock onto it in time. (Next Yule, it’s a firm date.) “Santa Claus, Claws of Satan. Saint Nick, Old Nick. Coincidence? I don’t think so.” — yes, but that’s far too familiar to work, without a twist.

The hook, beside the obvious reversals (a sack full of children, the lashed-elf sweat shop bunker deep in the polar ice) is the peculiarity of the Santa Claus myth — which is designed to be disbelieved, as a kind of modern rite-of-passage. There’s a side to this worthy of affirmation. Discarding attractive wish-fulfillment myths is a cultural achievement whose massive generalization is long overdue. ‘Santa Claus’ as the idiot god of beneficent unreality is the proto-deity of every lunacy advanced modernity has been subjected to. There’s also another side …

“Santa won’t save us.” If that was something people really grew out of before voting age, there wouldn’t be a left-of-center political party remaining anywhere in the world. This suggests something very different is going on. A ritualized social training in disbelief seems ominously unprecedented, so one naturally wonders about the religious formation that commands this recently innovated power. If there is a disbelief that would set us free, the modern ceremony of Yule — celebrating the occult death of Santa at the Golgotha of secularism — doesn’t seem to be it. On the contrary, it represents a populist version of the Jacobin-Enlightenment Cult of Reason, symbolically purging infantile superstition to be reborn into an approved state of adult consciousness. The Death of Santa is mystery initiation into the New Church. Santa died to redeem humanity from the sins of attachment to Medieval unreason, and every year this sacrifice is ritualistically re-enacted to recall the new covenant. (Go on, tell me this isn’t the narrative.)

Someone ought to write a story about it …

December 24, 2014admin 16 Comments »