Tuesday, December 16, 2008
REVEALED: THE "MYTH" ABOUT SANTA CLAUS
Back when I was younger and sillier and doing a radio show in Denver, I decided I was going to reveal the "true identity" of Santa Claus. I explained that parents were starting an early pattern of lying to their children by suggesting there's this fat guy with a beard dropping down chimneys to deliver presents. "What? Does he go to the next house if you're unlucky enough NOT to have a chimney," I asked aloud. I also wondered why children and their parents didn't leave healthier food for the jolly ole elf, something like carrots or celery sticks.
This of course triggered a flood of calls from angry parents, upset that I was going to reveal the "true identity" of Santa or as I referred to it a few times, "the myth of Santa." It was a healthy debate. I explained how some friends of mine chose not to perpetuate the "lie." It was never a religious thing, I explained. I wasn't anti-Christmas. I was anti-lying. Some argued that their are certain types of "lies" that are okay. Fairy tales, they explained, were all lies.
Well, today, I'm reading on the popular New York Radio Message Board that one guy was upset that a talk show host on WFAN actually spilled the beans on Santa. This prompted outraged listeners to tell-off host Craig Carton. Here's the post:
"A caller on WFAN this morning called out Craig Carton for stating that Santa Claus isn't real on the radio this morning. The Caller had his two young kids in the car who were upset hearing this. The Caller and Boomer gave him the opportunity to backpedal on what he actually said. But in trying to make lite of the situation, he once again made the comment about Santa not being real. In addition he was trying to make tongue in cheek jokes about the Callers kids being anti-Semitic once the Caller explains to them that Carton is Jewish and doesn't believe in Santa. In all my years of listening to all types of radio shows, the DJ's and hosts (especially the ones on during prime slots that more kids would be listening)were always respectful about the reality of Santa. Carton has a trail of racist/sexist comments on his resume and the way he addressed and handled the situation this morning was to me unprofessional and disgraceful."
When I did the Santa riff on KOA in Denver, I never actually revealed "the true identity of Santa." Instead, we used the build-up as a talking point. This lasted for an hour or two. I thought it was pretty compelling radio, because in the end, I allowed the listeners to convince me it would be mean to blow the whole Santa charade. Keep in mind, I warned listeners all along, they might want to remove young children from ear shot of the radio. So, I probably could have busted the "myth." But, you know what, I didn't need to. It was much better radio this way.