My Daughter Thinks Santa Hates Us
And she's right. Plus updates on The American Bystander's 2023 calendar and our next issue.
Thanks for reading The American Bystander's Viral Load! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.
My daughter knows that we’re Jewish and do not celebrate Christmas. But that doesn’t mean Santa isn’t real. After all, her preschool teacher told the class that Santa exists. Her classmates said it too, plus their parents, every TV show, and half the books she brings back from the library. For my little Jewess, this leads to an inevitable conclusion: Santa exists, but passes over our home.
This has obviously been troubling her. Just the other day, over dinner, she asked: “How does Santa know to skip our house?” There was genuine curiosity in her voice, along with more than a little pain. I wanted to tell her the truth, but wasn’t sure where to start. These things can stick with a kid.
I wrote this little story for her, and any other curious little Jewish kids out there.
BOSS ELF: …and that’s the workshop tour. Any questions?
NEW ELF: Just one.
BOSS ELF: (Chuckling.) Let me guess: How does Santa know which kids are Jewish? Follow me, I want to show you a special room.
NEW ELF: Oh…wow! Is that Rudolph?
BOSS ELF: Sure is. This is where Santa trains the reindeer to smell Jews.
BOSS ELF: Right, Rudy! The little girl you’re sniffing is 100% Hebrew. Her name is Chana and she lives on the Upper West Side.
NEW ELF: These test kids…Did you kidnap them?
BOSS ELF: Just a little. But in 48 hours—72 max—they’ll be back in their whatchacallit Jew-church for the candle-oil-day thing.
JEWISH GIRL: The flames represent spiritual survival.
(Rudolph YIPS more vigorously.)
BOSS ELF: I’m with you Rudolph, that’s boring! Little girl, have another Candy Cane. Merry Jew Christmas!
JEWISH GIRL: (Licking.) Yum.
NEW ELF: Does Santa not like Jewish boys and girls?
SANTA: Ho, ho, ho! Santa loves all the little boys and girls.
NEW ELF: Ach! Were you behind me this whole time? Anyway, it’s a relief to hear that, about the Jews.
SANTA: Yes, I love all children…but not all the little boys and girls love Santa, do they?
(Rudolph GROWLS MENACINGLY.)
SANTA: Now, Rudolph. They’re just…misguided. But we’ll get them. Because Santa is on TV. Santa is at school. Santa is everywhere, little helpers. They’ll love Santa, in the end. They all will.
NEW ELF: It’s just…I’m not sure Jews actually smell different?
(Rudolph’s nose BLINKS RED and he HOWLS.)
BOSS ELF: Wait a sec! That’s no elf-trainee! That’s a Jewish test-boy trying to escape! Guards, tase him! Good boy, Rudolph.
(Rudolph YIPS happily.)
My daughter is still speaking to me. I think that means she liked it!
And if you needed further proof that there is a Santa-based conspiracy at the heart of our culture, look no further than the new A.I. chatbots that are causing discussion.
I tried to feed the first half of this story into that new chatbot, to see if it would supply with a different ending, and wouldn’t you know it—you can’t get it to say anything bad about Santa, no matter how hard you try. It always steers Santa back onto the good list. Look:
So I guess what I’m saying is: Happy Hanukkah! And Merry Christmas! to those who celebrate. And Tremendous Monday! to those who observe neither. And, to everyone, let’s live in a world where you can be a minority in peace, without the majority shoving its holiday down your throat.
SOUNDS REASONABLE ENOUGH
That’s…an unusually nice reaction, headline guy.
NO WONDER SANTA SKIPS YOUR HOUSE YOU VIOLENT FREAK
Ah, there’s the headline guy we know and love!
In other news, Tim Cahill and Kristina Libby have access to the industry and were lucky enough to give us a peak at some of the colors that were nearly selected as Pantone’s Color of the Year. Here are a few of the finalists:
All that and much, much more, over at twofiftyone.net, The American Bystander’s home for online comedy that isn’t, you know, too online.
And now, a word from Sir Michael Gerber, who last week revealed that as a child he thought “Weasel” would be a cool nickname.
GERBER’S WEASEL’S CORNER
Files will ship for #24 and the 2023 Calendar this Friday! I'll post the PDFs then for our Patreon subscribers; printing should happen the last week of December, or the first week of January, with mailing after that. It will, as usual, be a nice memory of the holiday season during the drear-filled aftermath.
A very Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! And to those who do not: ask for presents anyway, someone might bite.
Quoting The Byrds: “To everything, there is a season”—and I have apparently entered the season where Everybody Fucking Dies. Last Friday, after not one but two late nights writing obituaries for Bystander contributors whom I adored, I learned that the father of my college girlfriend had passed away.
Duncan Robinson was, I shudder to realize, eight years younger than I am today when we met in December 1990. He seemed impossibly august; an actual Cambridge Don, Duncan was running the Yale Center for British Art. I was fascinated by him. Churchillian in appearance, his buoyant affability had a touch of the actor in it—say, Michael Sheen. Bystander is a cocktail of my two favorite flavors of comedy: early National Lampoon and the Oxbridge comedy of the Sixties; since Duncan had graduated from Clare in ’65, I studied him, looking for clues, hoping to crack the code.
I think Duncan liked me, though his manners were too good and his mind much too subtle for me to ever know for sure. He was certainly generous, with his larder and his humidor and his liquor. Unfortunately for him, booze makes me stupid, so I spent most evenings hovering near IQ 75…but sweet. This seemed to please Duncan. “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink,” he said once, when it was just him and me and two Jamaican Paragas Coronas out on the back porch. “In vino veritas. Angel or devil, I want to have a look.”
His daughter Amanda and I were crazily smitten with each other. After some years this begged certain questions, so in June 1992, Duncan met me down in New York, at the Century Club. After utterly wrecking my mind on their famously strong martinis, he popped the question: “What are your intentions towards my daughter?”
Because I was drunk, I laughed out loud. Not because I didn’t plan on marrying Amanda, but the idea that anyone else’s intentions mattered was ludicrous. “Duncan,” I said, “you and I both know that’s like asking Florida its intentions towards a hurricane.”
We shared a rueful laugh…then had another martini.
I have a lot more to say—I loved the man, his daughter, the whole family, with my not-yet-grownup heart—but that will have to wait for the memoir I’m starting January 1. I will work on it for a year, then haul it up into the light and give it a taste. It will be like the Robinsons’ “Tutti Frutti.”
Every New Year’s Day, Amanda’s mother and father would pack a bunch of fresh fruit into a pot and put it down in the basement. There it would sit for twelve months, fermenting, turning into a viscous ichor of impossible potency. Then, on Christmas Eve, the concoction would be brought upstairs. Some years were ambrosial, others, dreadful; the “Tutti Frutti” was a lot like life.
I never got to sample the “Tutti Frutti.” I think Duncan knew it would be too much for me, too much veritas. But 30 years later, in this season of Everybody Fucking Dying, I see many angels and devils, often in the same person. Ave atque vale, Duncan, and I hope you found the veritas you were looking for.
And that’s it! Happy whatever!
One more thing. People seem to like these emails, and we like writing them. So you’ll start getting these emails from us every week. Hooray! Bye.
Thanks for reading The American Bystander's Viral Load! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support us.
This was The American Bystander’s Viral Load. The parts that weren’t written by other people were written by Michael Pershan, Deputy Editor of The American Bystander. Help support our work by subscribing or sharing this newsletter. Here are the opening lines of “Oy Chanukah” in Yiddish: “Oy Chanukah oy Chanukah—a yontif a sheiner; a lustiker a freylicher—nito noch a zeyner.” Nice.