Jill Pengelley asks an important question in Adelaide, Australia’s Advertiser newspaper: “Is political correctness spoiling Christmas?” Judging from what one doctor has recently said, the answer would appear to be yes. Writing in the British Medical Journal this month, Dr. Nathan Grills of Monash University in Australia claims that St. Nick isn’t a great role model.
What’s the beef, exactly? Among other supposed evils, Grills points out that Santa doesn’t wear a helmet during “roof surfing and chimney jumping,” occasionally smokes, and chows down on way too many cookies. Grills laments, only half-tongue-in-cheek, that “Santa’s behaviour and public image are at odds with contemporary accepted public health messages.” His solution? Get the portly icon walking and eating carrots instead of riding a reindeer-drawn sleigh and downing plate after plate of cookies.
Some anti-obesity zealots aren’t as lighthearted. We’ve seen the rather un-merry MeMe Roth and one former U.S. Surgeon General all too seriously attack Santa for setting a bad example with his wide girth. And kook activists in Britain even proposed putting Santa on a fitness regimen to shape up his image. (Instead of getting coal, perhaps “naughty” kids will owe an elf some push-ups.)
The recent “public health” attacks on Santa are so ridiculous that internet trolls are already latching onto to how silly (and Grinch-like) it is. But in the spirit of the season, we’re not going to wish coal in the stockings of these misguided anti-fat fanatics. We hope they get presents aplenty—starting with a sense of humor.