Saturday, December 3, 2011

Santa Aint Real. Get Over It.

No presents this year. Tough economy.  Sorry kids.
What happens when someone points out the actual non-existance of a mythical being on TV?  Outrage at the callous insensitivity toward the misguided beliefs of others, of course.  Such plainly stated facts ruin the magic and wonder of blissful self-delusion.

You could be forgiven if you assumed I was talking about god.  Indeed, the paragraph above would be perfectly suited for a discussion of god.  However, the real subject of today's story is Santa Claus.

A Chicago news anchor surprised some parents and potentially confused some children when she announced during a nightly newscast that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
What I find most amusing is that the article characterizes this as being 'announced'.  I don't think something that we all know to be true is really an announcement.

Though if kids that still believed in Santa were watching I suppose it would be an announcement to them.

Anyway, exposure to the Santa myth isn't necessarily a bad thing for kids.  In fact, it seems that it could serve as a useful lesson on critical thinking by asking questions about how your kid knows Santa exists and gently prompting them to really examine why they believe before finally accepting the fact that there is no evidence for a being that drops off gifts to billions of kids in one night using a flying sleigh powered by flying reindeer.  Not to mention the plausibility of such a situation being miniscule.

Instead of using this 'announcement' to examine with their kids the evidential basis for Santa, parents are outraged and flooded the station with complaints and demands for an apology.  Which the news anchor provided.

Not only that but people seem to be upset that this is even being reported on.  One comment on the yahoo! story said:
Why even mention this on line and increase the story. Don't you thoink [sic] kids of early age use the computer?
This kind of imposed ignorance on children seems to me to be very counter productive.  Growth and maturation involves confronting potentially dis-comfirming evidence on one's beliefs or biases.  Its going to happen.  Instead of shielding their kids from reality, parents should embrace the opportunity to help their children grow and mature.

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