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"'Twas the Night Before Christmas" is a line instantly recognized by anyone in the western world. It's the cherished opening line from A Visit from St. Nicholas.
Why am I in a Christmas mood when it's not even Halloween yet? Because the war on Christmas has already begun. Some politically correct people think one of the most famous poems in history is inappropriate for today's kids and have rewritten it to make it more palatable for the easily offended.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas was written way back in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore. The poem has been a key component of the Christmas tradition for nearly 200 years. It's a poem that created the modern Santa Claus, establishing what he looked like, his mode of transportation, the names of his flying reindeer, and most importantly for generations of children ever since, that he comes bearing a big sack of presents.
Christmas is what it is today because of this poem. But one activist publisher has decided that Santa's pipe pleasure is inappropriate and he wants "bad influence" St. Nick to go cold turkey on his little nicotine habit. Rewriting this historical text, revising history because they no longer like the message. The pipe is gone - has tradition become a pipe dream as well?
Canadian publisher and smoking cessation advocate Pamela McColl has decided to "update" the poem for "the benefit of children of the 21st century." And this nonsense is now on sale at Indigo.
How many kids could you honestly say take up smoking because Santa Claus has a pipe? This is censorship and it's certainly not the first time someone's tried to apply modern liberal mores to classical literature.
Remember last year when an Alabama publishing house announced an updated version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? Replacing the n-word with "slave," and getting rid of the word "Injun"? I ask you, how do we ever learn from history if we rewrite it? There are numerous examples of this and when you start to rewrite things, you end up forgetting what the original actually was, making it harder and harder to separate fact from fiction.
Art is history. Can you imagine prudish people covering up the Venus de Milo's breasts because they're offended by nudity? The world was shocked and dismayed when the Taliban dynamited 2,000 -year-old Buddhist rock sculptures in Afghanistan, because the Taliban thought Buddha was offensive. But I ask you, what's the fundamental difference between Taliban dynamite and ripping out pages of traditional literature?
We can chuckle about this stuff because it's still ridiculous to most people. But this kind of mentality is growing and spreading.
Simple message: Don't rewrite history. Don't censor it. How else can we learn from it? Let people make up their own minds about what's appropriate.
Don't like it? I encourage you to go out write a new classic piece of literature that will change the world. But keep your mitts off our traditions. That's Canadian common sense.