Page 9 - Scene Magazine 45-12 December 2020
P. 9

 Scene Around Town
   BY PETER PHELPS
 The current pandemic has put a bookmarker on how we can be Scene Around Town at our downtown Willard Library and Helen Warner branch.
They are however open for on-site Library Express Services with curbside pickup Mondays through Saturdays. You might want to check the library website for hours.
That said, you can always go online to ‘checkout’ what that wonderful re- source offers our community. I did just that recently to investigate information about upcoming holidays.
I discovered that for nearly 200 years, nippers of all ages have recog- nized Santa with his roly-poly body, snow-white whiskers, and churchwar- den clay bowl. But, as our politically correct ‘wokeness’ has taken hold, the inclusion of that jolly old elf’s pipe
in literature is being tamped down
and embers extinguished. The rich tradition, thanks to Pamela McColl, a self-published Canadian writer, is being attacked and might soon fall by the curb to haughtiness and witlessness.
Clement Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas, better-known from its first line, ‘Twas the night before Christmas,’ is a holiday season must-read. But Ms. McColl is promoting the removal of
all mentions of smoking in this ageless poem about the joys and anticipation of Christmas Eve.
In her version of ‘Twas the night be- fore Christmas,’ she advocates remov- ing two important lines that describe Santa’s once-a-year’s evening routine. ‘The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.’ If that was not enough, she also encourages the removal of Thomas Nast’s iconic illustration of Santa holding his clay pipe between his stubby fingers.
Okay, the big elf may be a little porky and could drop a few pounds, and a velvet red suit with white fluffy trim could be construed as a bit overboard. But otherwise, his fashion sense is not
so odd. Think about it, lots of folks car- ry big sacks or knapsacks on their backs to work or to school; and ankle-high or knee-tickling leather boots of all colors are quite fashionable especially during these winter months. And don’t get me started on beards. Look around, hirsute is growing on chins of every size.
But, according to the American Library Association, changes like those
proposed by the punitive publisher to the north, are not positive. Her advo- cated alterations amount to, “An act
of censorship that denies the audience (that’s us) access to the author’s authen- tic voice.”
Must we permit outsiders to con- stantly dictate how parents should raise their young’uns’ based upon a holiday poem that describes Santa’s pipe and encircling wreath of smoke? Santa-tiz- ing St. Nick is, to my mind, out of character.
I believe that the politically correct crusade sometimes gets a little too full of itself. Oh, it means well, but often it steps outside the state-lines of sensi- bleness. Our roles in life should not re- move traditions, but to create new ones that can be cherished on sultry summer afternoons and wicked wintery nights.
Please join me in keeping the smok- ing light on for Clement Moore and all those who write and speak about the joys of this holiday season.
Santa-tizing Old St. Nick
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