austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Even a miracle needs a hand

Yes, I love the various Christmas special, but I hadn't been watching them with particular attention on my own. There are a lot of them, some not even by Rankin-Bass, and one of the delightful traits of bunny_hugger is that she's setting the Tivo to record pretty near all of them, including execrable ones like Frosty Returns. One that's on my mind since I kept finding stuff to grumble about was 1974's Twas The Night Before Christmas, which you might remember from the songs. If not, it's one in the Santa Being A Jerk mode, where he decides to skip the town of Junctionville because a mouse wrote a letter to the paper in which he called Santa a phony. It's got a motif of ``those people who try to know stuff instead of just believing are jerks'' to it, raising my wife's ire, and getting me somewhat cranky too. Anyway, some stray thoughts about all this.

In response to Albert Mouse's letter calling Santa a phony, Santa rejects delivery of all letters from Junctionville. Doesn't this specific rejection serve as pretty strong evidence for the existence of Santa? I mean, the post office taking letters to Santa for the merry fun of it is fine, but this takes deliberate effort that I can't see the Post Office bothering with in response to a snide newspaper article. If Albert wanted to know whether Santa really existed, he'd won by the first scene.

Clockmaker Joshua Trundle figures to build a clock that'll play a recording of singing voices right at midnight Christmas Eve, to convince Santa that the whole town doesn't hate him, but Albert --- trying like a jerk to know how such a mechanism works (and for some reason crediting Copernicus with the building of clockwork mechanisms) --- breaks it and everyone despairs. Why not try gathering the townsfolk in the village square at midnight? Surely if a recording would win over Santa's heart, feet on the ground would be only more effective.

Albert and Trundle manage to put the clock back together and play the recording and Santa's won over, delivering gifts to the whole town. Santa rejected all the kids' letters about what they want. How does he know what to deliver? I suppose if he's been at this business a long time he can predict what folks in Junctionville's demographic and economic classes are likely to want --- he can't have ignored the power of statistical analysis and got where he was in this cartoon's Vaguely 18th Or 19th Or Maybe Early 20th Century We Guess Wait Is That Independence Hall day --- but being right about the town as a whole doesn't mean being right about any individual.

Anyway, that's a bunch of stuff I'm needlessly worrying about with this cartoon.

Trivia: When the Palace at Versailles opened in 1682, touring the Hall of Mirrors provided nearly all the visitors their first chance in their lives to see a full-length view of themselves. Source: The Essence Of Style: How The French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour, Joan DeJean.

Currently Reading: Michigan Curiosities, Colleen Burcar.


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