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How A Boy Called Christmas Converted Me to the Politics of Greed and Exploitation
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This was the Christmas my young daughter finally cornered me into admitting that Father Christmas doesn’t exist. I felt a small pang of regret that she had taken another step towards graduating into the less colourful world of adulthood, but also a larger sense of relief that I could now stop lying to her. What a few years ago seemed like harmless collusion in a fable to sprinkle a little extra magic on Christmas had over the years become a burdensome deception that seemed a violation of the trust between a parent and child.

Worse, as my daughter had grown older, the content of the lie had become more obviously poisonous – and not only because a childhood spent venerating Father Christmas likely serves as one of the pillars of the continuing patriarchy.

The degree to which to the Christmas story reinforces our understanding of how society should be organised – and at a time before we can think critically – was driven home to me by a new Netflix and Sky joint film production I watched with my family on Christmas Day.

A Boy Called Christmas is the origin story for Father Christmas, explaining how a peasant boy called Nicholas living in a gloomy winter kingdom eventually brought joy to young children around the globe.

By fleshing out a magical realist backstory for Father Christmas, the movie brings into unusually sharp focus how the ideas at the heart of Christmas condition young minds to think in damaging ways about how power should operate in our societies. We have a mysterious authoritarian figure who wills only the best for us. He shapes our world in ways that are not, and should not be, open to scrutiny. His authority must be accepted and trusted. Good behaviour – in the sense of obedience and compliance – is rewarded. And those rewards, conflated with love, are measured in strictly material terms. Consumption is not only good, it is love.

Politics of deception

But A Boy Called Christmas goes one step further than this. It also celebrates to a quite alarming degree – at least, if you are not too seduced by its humour and enchanting story line to notice – the ideological corruption not only of Father Christmas’ world but of ours too. It glorifies the politics of deception, of class war, of a naked, brutal capitalism that has successfully subverted the struggle for justice and equality. And in achieving all this through the wonder of Christmas, it underscores how powerful this type of propaganda is, even for adults.

One early, critical scene actually unmasks the film’s ugly politics and its telling relevance to our own times, even if it does so inadvertently.

The kindly king calls together some of his bravest peasants, including Nicholas and his father, for a meeting at his castle. He observes that life in the kingdom has become cheerless and drab, and asks – in what amounts to a dangerous political miscalculation – what they believe they need for a better life. He gives his destitute subjects a voice for the very first time.

Stunned by the idea that they can express an opinion, the peasants hesitate. Then the revolutionary potential of the moment dawns on them. One calls out “A living wage!” Another cries “Healthcare!”. Yet another demands “Union representation!”.

In the film, this pivotal moment is played for laughs, with the king hurriedly deflecting his subjects from the revolutionary socialism he has accidentally unleashed. But the king’s desperate response momentarily breaks the fourth wall. Even if only for a moment, it is difficult not to see the parallels with our own, supposedly democratic systems. The king shuts down the dialogue he has initiated, dismissing the peasants’ demands. Then with all the weighty gravitas of a Barack Obama in his presidential heyday, the king tells them what they really need: “Hope!”

Hope. Formless, contentless, cost-free hope. The king rams “hope” into their mouths to silence them like a parent sticks a pacifier into a baby’s mouth to stop it crying for attention. His “hope” depoliticises the moment. Like the Holy Grail, “hope” keeps us on a permanent quest – one never realised – for fulfilment, for justice, for a better world. It is the horizon we never reach. Hope is what every leader in a corrupt system offers his subjects instead of rights or equality.

So the king sends the bravest peasants on a mission to find “hope”. He has no idea where “hope” can be found or what it might look like. But find it they must, even if they die trying.

Exploited workers

In response, Nicholas defies his father and goes on a dangerous journey to locate a fabled elf city renowned for the joyful inhabitants who supposedly live there. If “hope” can be found anywhere, Nicholas concludes, it is in Elfhelm. But when Nicholas stumbles on the elf city, he discovers a dark, miserable place. Recent abusive encounters with humans have made the elves fearful of outsiders. They have elected an authoritarian leader to protect them from the human enemy.

To cut a long story short, Nicholas turns things around by saving an elf child. The elves not only accept him as one of their own but take him in as their leader. Nicholas helps the elves rediscover their joy and encourages them to return to making the toys that keep them entertained.

ORDER IT NOW

And everyone lives happily ever after. Or so the film suggests. The elves agree to become Nicholas’ exploited workers, producing toys through the year for Father Christmas to export to the rest of the world. Nicholas returns with a large bag of toys to show the king that he has indeed found “hope”. In a critical marketing exercise, Nicholas takes the kindly king on his flying reindeer to see whether the children of the kingdom’s peasants are lifted a little out of their misery by the magic of a Christmas present. Once the king is reassured that a spinning top or cuddly toy will be effective at preventing his peasants from rising up to demand a living wage and healthcare, he awards Nicholas an annual contract to distribute toys to the kingdom every Christmas Day.

Dangerous propaganda

What’s most alarming about A Boy Called Christmas is the extent to which it reminds us of how in thrall we are to capitalism – even when we understand how brutal a system it truly is. I found myself celebrating this tale of greed and exploitation, of consumption and class war, even as, at a cerebral level, its message appalled me. A Boy Called Christmas bypassed my critical faculties to appeal to my heart – I cheered on the enslavement of the elves, I warmed to the bumbling, despotic king and I approved of the beatification of Nicholas, capitalism’s first and iconic entrepreneur.

A Boy Called Christmas had wrapped up “hope” as a glitzy small present for me just as deceitfully as the king had packaged “hope” for his own subjects.

In other words, the film worked supremely as propaganda, even as I recognised how dangerous that propaganda was. It managed to place another brick in the wall that has been imprisoning my mind for decades.

If it achieved this much with me – as someone opposed to the politics it lauds, as someone who prizes critical thinking, as someone unable to avert my gaze from its subtext – what, I wondered, had it done to my young daughter watching alongside me. She still inhabits the fuzzy realm between childhood’s magical thinking and the superficial rationality of adulthood. The wall around her mind is only half-built, but she will soon be a happy prisoner – as readily, it seems, as I am one.

A Boy Called Christmas left me even more certain I should never have colluded in the deception called Father Christmas. But it also emphasised to me how difficult it is to avoid capitalism’s sophisticated propaganda machine. Its corrupting influence touches almost everything we consider entertainment – even a simple, heartwarming children’s fable.

Bah humbug to you all!

(Republished from Jonathan Cook by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics, Ideology • Tags: Capitalism, Christmas, Neoliberalism 
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  1. Bro43rd says:

    Ah, that favorite bogeyman of the left, dreaded capitalism. I’m surprised J C didn’t segue climate change & racism into this essay too. The fact is capitalism has lifted mankind out of abject poverty & the daily struggle to survive. It is the blade that feeds us but can be used to attack us as well. When one is overweight, one shouldn’t blame the spoon.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
    , @obwandiyag
  2. Stogumber says:

    I agree about the qualms with deception and consumerism. I also don’t think that toys are a good substitute for a living wage or healthcare.
    Jonathan Cook should have left it at that. Toys can be useful for childrens’ development. A “living wage” is normally not something a king can grant, but must be earned. Healthcare could be “granted”, but this only veils the fact that it must be earned, too.
    If this movie has a defect, it is mostly the exaggerated idea about what a “king” (or a state politician) can do. (He can only redistribute what he has taken from the citizens!) This approach creates illusions about a possible alternative to “capitalism”.
    But Cook wants to struggle for some abstracts called “justice” and “equality”. Well, if this is offered as an improvement to things-as-they-are …

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  3. Chris Moore says: • Website

    But A Boy Called Christmas goes one step further than this. It also celebrates to a quite alarming degree – at least, if you are not too seduced by its humour and enchanting story line to notice – the ideological corruption not only of Father Christmas’ world but of ours too. It glorifies the politics of deception, of class war, of a naked, brutal capitalism that has successfully subverted the struggle for justice and equality. And in achieving all this through the wonder of Christmas, it underscores how powerful this type of propaganda is, even for adults.

    Are you saying Capitalism has stolen Jesus Christ’s thunder, commercialized his magic, co-opted his authority, tied it all up in a pretty bow, and packaged it as “Christmas”? I agree. Who did this? Money-crazed ((Jews)) and their Judas stooges. And who, Jonathan Cook, married to a Palestinian, is your enemy? Zionists. And yet, who do you, Jonathan Cook, “socialist” light, Marxist extraordinaire, continue to worship? ZOG.

    You’re a prisoner in a prison you built, Comrade Cook, Zoglodyte 1st Class, neocon Trotskyite ((Jew)) worshiper, libtard, nothing man.

    How long are you going to fester under Zionist tyranny? Forever, because you lack the faith to leave the ZOG plantation. You’re a coward and a slave who built the slave master’s mansion.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  4. Just where could I see the movie “An Alcoholic named Purim”?

    A boy named Christmas is yet another (((production))) meant to desacralize Christmas. The list of authors says it all.

  5. @Bro43rd

    Oh yeah, keep taking the jabs every 4 months for pfizer genius.

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  6. @Chris Moore

    C’mon Chris, Jonathan has done more for the Palestinians than you will ever do. Is your life and income in jeopardy by criticizing the jues or the Zionists? If it is, let us know.
    He has defended the palestinians more than you and me.

  7. We have a mysterious authoritarian figure who wills only the best for us. He shapes our world in ways that are not, and should not be, open to scrutiny. His authority must be accepted and trusted.

    Stalin?

  8. @Bro43rd

    Oh, so now there is no “daily struggle to survive”?

    Yeah, right. Good analysis.

    You fegging idjut.

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  9. @Stogumber

    The king can too grant a living wage and healthcare.

    He just takes the money from the rich and gives it to the people.

    Like Robin Hood.

    But of course your an apologist of and toady for rich people, and so you will trot out some bullshit talking point to “refute” these obvious truths.

  10. Dumbo says:

    and not only because a childhood spent venerating Father Christmas likely serves as one of the pillars of the continuing patriarchy.

    LOL. Sorry, but… What an idiot. Is this child going to grow up as a pink-haired feminist? Lord have mercy.

    And then he still goes and watches some sort of woke Netflix movie — being in Netflix, it can only be woke) that (((of course))) criticizes Christmas.

    Perhaps some people shouldn’t be parents?

    I’d rather believe in Santa Claus. He exists in a way, as do all myths that have a deeper meaning.

    And is it really less stupid than believing in the Holocaust, 9/11, JFK, Covid, and other fairy tales for adults?

    • Replies: @Chris Moore
  11. Chris Moore says: • Website
    @Dumbo

    And is it really less stupid than believing in the Holocaust, 9/11, JFK, Covid, and other fairy tales for adults?

    I wouldn’t be surprised of Cook believed in all of those myths, because his Brit brain has been programmed by Marxist-Zionists. He criticizes the Zionist half of his programming because it wants to kill him and his wife. Same with Whites in America. They bow to the half of their brain that they see as providing their lucre, and rage at the other half. Classic schizophrenia, to match their ((Jewish)) programmers. This is why the country is at war with itself. This is why Cook, nominally an “anti-Zionist,” never manages to get much traction. Maybe he’s trying to convert his wife to Marxism so she can still get money from ZOG while posing as a dissident like the left-wing Zoglodytes in the U.S.

    Married to a schizophrenic Brit like Cook (Brits elites are also notoriously bisexual) maybe she’ll come to consider it a cost of doing business and come to enjoy both her fledgling schizophrenia and her husbands political bisexuality. That’s the “modern” existence, doncha know? The sick, schizophrenic, bisexual ((Jew)) is the model for “modern” man. The rabbi diddlers managed to spread their Zionist disease to both the left and the right in the Anglosphere because the schizo top Brits enjoy being diddled.

  12. Many thanks to Mr. Cook for this movie review. Every now and then a family member gets it into their head to put “Something Special” on the big TV screen. All too often it turns out to be something I’d have paid good money to avoid.

    This year the Christmas Movie was “Die Hard”. After mocking the dumb story line (during the commercial breaks) for a while, I wandered into another room with a borrowed book.

    I’ll surely be on the lookout for A Boy Called Christmas

  13. Bro43rd says:
    @Rev. Spooner

    Not sure where you’re going with that comment, but obviously you haven’t perused my comment thread.

  14. Bro43rd says:
    @obwandiyag

    Typical response of a typical collectivist. Twist my words and ad hominem attacks. So blinded by your hatred of capitalism or is it due to your worship of communism.

    Since capitalism has taken over as the dominant economic system human lifespan has nearly tripled. I’d say thats a good indicator of capitalisms success.

    The top down governance of socialism/communism has failed miserably. It’s an economic system that cannot work without coercion. Even China has had to adopt a form of capitalism.

    • Replies: @Chris Moore
  15. ProDubito says:

    I generally do not read the comments, but in this case I found it necessary in order to determine whether this movie review was satire or an actual libtard’s actual view. I am pretty sure the idea of receiving gifts created by magical creatures would just as easily be conceived of in non-capitalistic cultures, or pre-capitalism entirely.

  16. Chris Moore says: • Website
    @Bro43rd

    The top down governance of socialism/communism has failed miserably. It’s an economic system that cannot work without coercion. Even China has had to adopt a form of capitalism.

    No it hasn’t. Judeofascism is thriving in America. ((Jews)) control the banks, the MSM, the culture, the political class… only by ignoring Judeofascism can you declare socialism a “failure.” Yes, it’s the fascist brand of socialism, but it works. For the ((Jews)), for the Han Chinese, for the more competent “Islamofascists” (as the ((Jews)) call their enemies in typical crude projection).

    Do you deny the success of the Judeofasicsts? Do ((Jews)) not rule America? Are we not still fightig wars for Israel? Are there not more ((Jewish)) billionaires per capita than any other group?

    You really think the Judeofascists gained their wealth, power and dominance by competing independently as “capitalists”? You really think the ((Jews)) are “chosen” and superior as the Judeofascists advertise themselves?

    No, it’s their Judeofascists network, which steals from the people under the auspices of “capitalism” and enriches itself and its cronies, and buys off voters and dependents with Federal Reserve welfare.

    And it pre-dated Nazism.

    • Replies: @Bro43rd
  17. Bro43rd says:
    @Chris Moore

    It predated capitalism. I agree they have corrupted capitalism by capturing the regulatory agent “we” have “consented” to. Now that we have acknowledged that, what to do?

    • Replies: @Chris Moore
  18. Chris Moore says: • Website
    @Bro43rd

    I agree they have corrupted capitalism by capturing the regulatory agent “we” have “consented” to.

    Who is “they”? The ((Jews)) or the Capitalists themselves? I don’t see any Gentile Capitalists opposing ((Jewry)) in any meaningful way. They all seem to be in on the corruption with the ((Jews)). Even going back to WWI, Henry Ford screamed and yelled about the ((Jews)) and then suddenly went silent when the war started.
    https://ss.sites.mtu.edu/mhugl/2015/10/12/henry-ford/#:~:text=Like%20his%20approach%20to%20WWI,from%20further%20war%20%5B5%5D.

    The ((Jews)) control the Fed, the Fed controls Capitalism. Is it all a debt bomb farce, or can Capitalism only work with an honorable, officially “anti-Semitic’ Christian population that keeps out the ((Jews)) and other wicked and corrupt people? And beyond that, is Capitalism ultimately Christophobic Mammonism at war with itself?

    The latter, I believe, which means Christian socialism with aggressively “anti-Semitic” bodyguards, and cultural “anti-Semitism” as a feature. That, or this ignoble decline into corruption, Zionism, Voodoo, degeneracy, oligarchy, and finally mass, endless Welfare/Warfare, predicted in Orwell’s 1984.

  19. anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:

    but also a larger sense of relief that I could now stop lying to her. … had over the years become a burdensome deception that seemed a violation of the trust between a parent and child.

    But, when are y’all going to stop the lying and deception in bringing your innocent young into the pagan polytheist world of Christendom? These are pure sinless souls, placing their entire trust in their parents, while these elders insidiously lead them down the path to perdition.

    Santa Claus may ultimately be harmless, kind of like believing in Superman, but belief in mangods for salvation will prove very expensive for your godless souls.

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