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Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There IS A Problem With America Today...

Okay, I admit it, this is a rant, which I don't usually do, and I KNOW it's close to the holidays, a fact that should dissuade me from ranting, but I felt morally obligated to pull up the soap box for this one...

The bottom line is

I have a problem with this...



The text quoted by the stars featured in the commercial is the response to a letter written to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897. In the letter 8 year old Virginia O'Hanlon asks if there is really a Santa Claus. Here is the original letter written by Virginia, and the full response of Sun newsman Francis Pharcellus. *Full text courtesy of Newseum.org **emphasis added

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"

Virginia O'Hanlon.
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."


So, is it just me, or does anyone else have a problem with one of the nation's largest and most successful department stores using (read exploiting) this heartfelt composition that defends love, faith and the beauty of things unseen for their own corporate gain? Yes, I understand that Macy's will donate to the "Make A Wish" foundation, and that is what they are supposed to be promoting here, but I find it ironic that the people chosen to promote this campaign and quote this truly beautiful text from which we might all learn a lesson about selflessness, faith, and a belief in the beauty of the unseen are the symbols of a moral bankruptcy that appears to be sweeping our nation.

A few examples...

Jessica Simpson...you've seen the music videos, the tiny costumes...you may have even (unfortunately) seen some of her attempts at acting. I cannot get behind a girl who renewed a furor for hot pants. Not impressed.

Donald Trump...in my mind one of the sleaziest men alive and an irrefutable example of corporate America's tendency to vaunt itself above the principles of kindness, selflessness and decency

Tommy Hilfiger...One of the brands that has become a symbol of American consumerism...at least all of us know a "Hilfiger Guy/Girl" no comment on the guy as an individual, but still...

Martha Stewart...REALLY?!? MARTHA STEWART? The woman went to PRISON for stock manipulation and LYING to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to save her own (already very VERY rich, may I add) butt...and THIS is the woman Macy's has chosen as a spokesperson for spreading the spirit of Christmas? Aish...

Yes, I know all of these people design for Macy's and have extensive clothing, perfume, furnishing lines in their store, but REALLY? They had to take the heartfelt response of a true believer and put it in the mouths of some of the people who are responsible (in my humble opinion) for propagating some of the greatest ills in our country (okay, they're not selling drugs or porn, exactly, but still...Donald Trump?!? Come On...) They might as well have put the Enron guy in there, just for good measure.

So, I'm interested to know what other people's reaction was when they saw this commercial...Am I being too sensitive? Overreacting? Overdramatic? Surely not, since I never do any of those things...Right? What are other people's thoughts on this? Anybody have any other "great travesties against the American public" they would be willing to share?

Serve it up...

3 comments:

Ashley Custer said...

Nope, you definitely were not overreacting, that was ridiculous! Yet probably more than anything, it bothers me to see people put so much stock into Santa Claus and give him the attributes that should be credited to the Savior, thereby completely replacing the real reason for the season with a caricature!

Clark and Kelsie said...

I don't think you were over reacting at all. You hit it right on the head. America wonders so often why there are so many adulturers, criminals, smut, and other such things overtaking the population. You got it exactly right. It's because they idolize these "celebrities" and these "powerful people". I totally agree with everything you said. And as far as Martha Stewart is concerned, she is suppose to be this amazing home-maker, but let me just say that I know many incredible women who are amazing home-makers and do it full of love with no desire of filling their pocket book...Plus, they've never been to prison! Anyway!!! It saddens me that the celebration of the birth of our Savior has turned into a capitalistic holiday! So I will leave you with this... MERRY CHRISTMAS AMANDA STANFILL, in the true sense of the phrase and the season! May we all remember the reason for the season!!!

Shawna said...

Amanda, I just found your blog! I'm excited to read your musings.
Shawna