December 23, 2006

Just Say No to the Santa Claus Drug

That is the title which the Times Record (Brunswick Maine) used when they were the first US paper to publish the 2006 ASLaN Christmas Essay on Friday, Dec 22.

Of course they continue to publish the infamous "Virginia" essay, a tradition of US Journalism which is outlined very well in this intersting article:

The grudging emergence of American journalism's classic editorial: New details about “Is There A Santa Claus?” American Journalism, 22, (2) Spring 2005

That article include references (footnote #18) to older newspaper editorials and articles which have taken the road less traveled, and bashed ole Claws. If readers can track down the original of any of these below, please send them to

To be sure, “Is There A Santa Claus?” has attracted criticism and protest. In 1951, for example, participants at an anti-Santa demonstration in Lynden, WA, complained that the editorial encouraged Virginia O’Hanlon to view her skeptical friends as liars. See “Santa Survives Protest,” New York Times (23 December 1951): 24. A columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, in 1997: “Fie on Francis P. Church! Fooey to Virginia O'Hanlon! One hundred years ago, those two got together and cooked up what is America's best-known editorial. … It’s not that I don't hold stock in Church’s sermon. But allow me to add a little known but highly pertinent fact to the story: Francis Pharcellus Church had no children. If he had, he would have written something like, ‘Ginny, talk to your father.’ Then, he would have jotted down a note to the dad: ‘Nice try, pop. But reconciling lies is your job.’” See Andrew Herrmann, “It’s A Wonderful Lie,” Chicago Sun-Times (9 December 1997): 37.

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