James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Conservative quackery and Santa Claus

Posted by James McPherson on December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone. I hope your appreciation of the season hasn’t been dampened by recent controversy involving those wildly popular but oft-misunderstood bearded guys.

No, I’m not talking about “Daddy Duck” Phil Robertson and the other guys of “reality” television’s “Duck Dynastyclan, as I see no need to join the discussion over whether clan leader Phil Robertson is a homophobic racist or just a committed Christian (other than to point out that those who claim that Robertson’s free speech rights are being violated are clueless about the First Amendment).

I’m more interested in the controversy involving those other bearded guys — Santa Claus and Jesus — whom a defensive and “very, very blonde” professional spokesmodel Megyn Kelly brought into Fox News’ annual weird, wacky, hypocritical and ultimately pointless (except to fire up viewers and drive up ratings) “war on the war on Christmas” by insisting that both were white guys.

Not surprisingly, Kelly was wrong about both Jesus and the inspiration for Santa. (Incidentally, Bill O’Reilly has now declared the war over, making himself the commanding general in a Christian victory, and the “war on Christmas” is just a subset of the equally ludicrous (at least in this country) “Christians are persecuted” meme, anyway.)

The “white Santa/white Jesus” discussion continued over several days (not much real news before the holidays, apparently), and I actually heard someone on television question whether we even know Santa’s gender. I’m not making that up, though I wasn’t in front of the TV and so don’t know who said it.

Thinking more about it though, it occurred to me that since I am all for gender equality, I should examine the evidence. I then posted my findings on Facebook, but thought I’d share them here, too:

  1. Santa is beloved, despite his obvious weight problem — in fact, people leave Claus milk and cookies, rather than leaving an obnoxious note saying, “Lose some weight, fatso!”
  2. Santa spends a lot of time in a “workshop,” and apparently has a thing for toys.
  3. Santa needs a Rudolph Guidance System to make it through the fog and finds every house — despite no record of having ever asked anyone for directions.
  4. Mommy was spotted kissing Santa Claus.
  5. Santa stays out all night on the night before a holiday.
  6. Claus apparently hasn’t had a wardrobe update for decades.
  7. Santa has been accused of being a “peeping Tom,” spying on people while they’re sleeping.
  8. Santa prefers to do things the hard way — i.e., going down the chimney rather than simply using the spare key hidden near the door.
  9. Santa postpones delivery of gifts until the last possible moment — and then frequently gives you something that someone who really knew you would never give.
  10. Many people write to Santa, but he never writes back.

I report; you decide.

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Posted in History, Journalism, Legal issues, Personal, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Beauty, depravity, religion & politics

Posted by James McPherson on September 9, 2008

A short post today to note that I was excited to see that one of my favorite religious blogs, Eugene Cho’s “beauty and depravity,” today linked to and reprinted my Aug. 19 post titled, “Favoring a Christian president–or not.

Cho is the founder and lead pastor for Seattle’s multicultural Quest Church. He has been featured in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Outreach magazine. He operates a nonprofit neighborhood cafe and is active in the fight against poverty both locally and globally. He has also been called “one angry Asian” and writes that he blogs in part to “reveal that pastors or Christians aren’t stupid religious people that don’t have the ability to engage in humor, critical thought, or have ‘regular’ lives. I’m a Christian and a follower of Jesus but I ain’t perfect, saintly, or perfectly holy. I fart just like you and sometimes, they’re bad. Really bad.” [bold type in original]

In short, though we’ve never met and I’m a middle-aged white guy, Cho seems like my kind of Christian, and I’m pleased that he found my piece worth citing. Check out his site.

Note: Two days after I wrote my August post, Pew released results of a survey showing that most Americans seem to agree with me.

Posted in Journalism, Personal, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »