Related link: http://blog.santa.com
The case against extending copyrights has been made, clearly and eloquently, by numerous people. The idea of the creative commons, of building on the artistic works of prior generations and thereby creating an ever more grand and rich cultural infrastructure, is a compelling vision.
But, sometimes, I wonder.
Santa apparently has a weblog. In which:
- There are new elves with clever names like Rock Tock (Rock Tock likes to begin his sentences with “Dude”) and Cuckoo.
- The elves are gender segregated. Boy elves work on boy
toys; girl elves (named “Twinkie” and “Dazzle”) work on girl
- The boy elves are, ahem, interested in the girl
elves and can be convinced to work on the girl toys (the girls fell behind in their work and needed the boys to help them out) because of that.
- Comet and Vixen (the reindeer) are married and expecting.
- Rudolph has a girlfriend named Clarice. In fact, Rudolph gets Clarice a position on the sleigh team because she’s his girlfriend.
- Product placements abound. In ALL CAPS, of course (side note: I’m also a little distressed by the very existence of the Barbie Cruise Ship).
- References to actual traditional Christmas themes or stories are non-existent. I’m not saying Santa’s weblog should be a litany of Christian thought. But maybe it could reach a little beyond elves making toys and various forms of pair-bonding (Rock Tock likes Dazzle. Vixen and Comet are married. Rudolph is in love with Clarice, and so on). Occasionally reinforce a platitude or two, that sort of thing.
Now, you might look at Santa’s weblog and think “Hmmm. A weblog attributed to Santa that makes frequent reference to BARBIE CRUISE SHIPS or KICK ‘N DRIVE GYMS [the weblog has them in all caps]. Kinda depressing, but not entirely surprising.”
Which is what really bothers me. Isn’t the current state of Christmas, that we’re not surprised that some guy in a marketing department somewhere took advantage of the latest communication tools to shill for profits (and do so in a way that continues the stripping of all meaning from the event), distressing? Doesn’t it hint, a little, at something being wrong with allowing anyone to build on common cultural themes? Isn’t it, even a little bit, a refutation of the notion of a creative commons?
Are there some cultural themes that should be off-limits, or more tightly controlled?