The War on Christmas takes a turn for the weird

Glenn Beck is going to salvage Santa Claus. He wants to reinvent the whole story.

So how do I place this figure there so he is forever pointing to that moment? It wasn’t easy, but this story started to download, and I wrote it over the Christmas vacation. And we have been working on it now ever since, and we have come up with something that I think is game changing. Clement Moore was the guy who did ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and he was the first guy that really changed the look of Santa.

And then Coca-Cola did it, changed the look of Santa. And then Montgomery Ward did it with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and then we’ve been off to the races and off to the malls ever since.

Fair enough. Santa Claus is clearly a malleable cultural contrivance, and anyone can make up just about any story you want about him — and there is an American tradition of making Christmas specials about an entirely fictitious Santa. But I want to know what drugs Beck was on when he came up with his story of Agios, The Immortal, a neolithic hunter.

How can we reshape? My Santa, the Immortal is a very different guy. He starts out right before the birth of Christ, and he is up in the mountains. And he is a warrior. He has lost his wife, and he’s a sad individual. And he’s got a son who loves dearly, and he lives up in the mountains, and he hunts for food.

But what’s interesting about him is he’s also good with his hands, and the way he hunts is completely different. He actually goes up in the mountains, and he makes these giant puppets that he actually gets inside. And he is trying to kill these wild boars by being inside one of these puppets, if you will, of a boar. And he roots around as the boars come in. That way he’s close enough to kill them.

Well, that certainly sounds Christmassy!

Not only is Beck writing a book about this character, but he’s making a movie. There’s a trailer for it already.

It’s got everything you expect in a Christmas movie: camels in the snow, Santa cudgeling people to death and dragging their bodies away, rock climbing, and most importantly, Santa cranking a weird-ass puppet head on a stalk out of his lap.

Yeah, it’s gonna be a mega-hit.


  1. purestevil says

    Rifftrax could be a lot of fun for the telling of the Santa Claus tale.

    Though my personal favorite is David Sedaris’ telling of the Dutch Sinterklaas:

  2. CorvusCorax says

    If we are going to go with gritty Santa, I prefer the 2003 short Rare Exports:
    Warning, brief full male nudity. What has been seen cannot be unseen.

  3. csrster says

    For a moment I was wondering if he might be a distant relative of Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather”. But, er, no.

  4. consciousness razor says

    That’s how our story begins. That’s Santa? Yes, because what does a man do when he’s in that position where he has no hope, no resurrection, nothing? What does he do? He goes on an amazing journey as a hunter, as a gatherer. He eventually is hired by three wise men because he can negotiate, because nobody is going to rip them off, and he knows how to get the very best gifts. And so he negotiates with gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then has to go protect that gold, frankincense, and myrrh and then through a series of events is left there to protect the Christ child, never interacting, just watching.

    Well, that makes sense. He couldn’t be one of the three wise men, so Beck made him stupid.

  5. Saad says

    [Santa] actually goes up in the mountains, and he makes these giant puppets that he actually gets inside. And he is trying to kill these wild boars by being inside one of these puppets

    I think I prefer the Sigourney Weaver and the queen alien version.

  6. davidnangle says

    I’m guessing there’s a lot about liberals in there. And maybe Darwin. And Democrats.

  7. shouldbeworking says

    It sounds like Beck is having an adverse reaction to the meds he “is no longer taking”.

  8. carlie says

    actually goes up in the mountains, and he makes these giant puppets that he actually gets inside.

    I can’t be the only one who thought of Luke in a tauntaun, can I?

  9. tsig says

    “[Santa] actually goes up in the mountains, and he makes these giant puppets that he actually gets inside. And he is trying to kill these wild boars by being inside one of these puppets”

    As the boars move in closer he finds he had made his puppet look like a female pig.

  10. shallit says

    And it wasn’t even Clement Moore. A persuasive case has been made by Donald Foster that the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was actually written by Henry Livingston and stolen by Moore.

  11. Intaglio says

    Hunting wild boar whilst dressed as a puppet of a boar.

    I’m left with 2 observations

    1) Glenn Beck has no f’n idea about how male boars react to intruders
    2) I think he may be channelling “The Hogfather”

  12. marcus says

    purestevil @ 2 Wonderful, one of my favorites. Thanks for reminding me that it’s about time to pull out my “Holidays on Ice” audio, written and performed by the estimable Mr Sedaris. His riff on being a Macy’s elf is fabulous as well.
    Next up: Berserker Santa meats Mad Max, I can hardly wait!

  13. DaveL says

    1) Glenn Beck has no f’n idea about how male boars react to intruders

    I doubt Glenn Beck actually hunts. That would involve being very quiet for extended periods of time.

  14. Kevin Kehres says

    @18 DaveL

    Dammit! Warn people when you’re going to do that! Now I have coffee all over my keyboard.

  15. twas brillig (stevem) says

    left there to protect the Christ child, never interacting, just watching.

    So Beck likes his Santa Claws to be a creepster, eh? I guess he’s just going on the “he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’ve been bad or good…” creepster image Santa always had. I assumed Beck would be satisfied with his creepy Gawd character always watching everything we do. But no, he has to throw Santa in that mold also. Don’t he know Santa was/is a real person, an old white guy caretaker of a reindeer herd with a big ole sleigh to bring all the toys he’;s been building all year??? How dare he rewrite Santa as some hunter of wild beasts who just watches baby-Jebus?
    ewww, creepy, ewww Beck has ruined Christmas for all of us. Mary Christmas to all, and to all a good Beck.

  16. Sastra says

    Looks like Beck’s trying to fight back against American Atheist’s strategy of emphasizing that you don’t need Christ in Christmas. No, look — see? Santa Claus is all about the Jesus story! From the beginning! History! Reminds me of those lame attempts to explain candy canes as representing the blood sacrifice of Our Lord.

    Over at Ed Brayton’s I imagined the film’s climactic moment: Nicholas leans over the dying Christ and whispers “Jeeeesuuuus…. I am your real father!” And ho ho ho.

  17. Saad says

    Sastra, #22

    Over at Ed Brayton’s I imagined the film’s climactic moment: Nicholas leans over the dying Christ and whispers “Jeeeesuuuus…. I am your real father!” And ho ho ho.

    The Holy Quadrality. I like it.

  18. says

    I would have thought just getting back to the original myth of Saint Nicholas, Patron of the Poor, would have been a more salutary message. Instead he’s going for what — Saint Neanderthal of the Clan of the Cave Bear?

    But thanks, Glenn, for the reminder to dig out Hogfather to watch about five weeks from now.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Pigs -wild and domestic- actually have a better sense of smell than dogs, hence the truffle-hunting pigs in France. Santa is going to starve inside his pig costume. And his frustration over the whole business is the start of the Jewish taboo against pigs.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Cue episode including were-pigs halfway through the film.
    Santa scares them off by huffing and puffing but the noise wakes Fafnir.

  21. gussnarp says

    I’ve always thought Beck was crazy like a fox, a con man selling exactly what the rubes wanted. More and more I’m beginning to think he really has lost his mind.

  22. birgerjohansson says

    camels in the snow,
    something something
    haiku not good.
    — — —
    He eventually is hired by three wise men …who think he is Strider.
    Berserker Santa accidentally slays all the centaurs, triggering the wrath of Zeus but Xena intervenes and saves him.

  23. birgerjohansson says

    The script practically writes itself. Santa befriends the barbarian king of the Sand Vikings (Max von Sydow) and the Amazon queen (either Milla Jovovich or Lucy Lawless). Their craft helps the group safely past the sand worms until the very last mile. The Kurgan (Dolph Lundgren) saves Jesus but is mortally wounded. Shortly afterwards they are betrayed, and Santa must duel his evil twin on a narrow stone bridge over an abyss.

  24. raven says

    Beck’s film is a mashup of many different films.

    He could do better.

    Santa meets Darth Vader. Santa meets Sauron and the Orcs. Santa meets Voldemort. Santa meets Dracula the Vampire. Santa meets the Klingons. Santa meets Moby Dick. etc..

    Mix and match any way you want. It can’t get any dumber.

    PS I don’t remember Santa Claus being jesus’s protector and 13th disciple, and a failed one at that, in the bible. OTOH, it’s mostly fiction so it doesn’t matter if it is…fiction all the way down.

  25. Rich Woods says

    Rare Exports: +1

    On an almost entirely unrelated note, I have an urge to go watch some Aki Kaurismaki films now. Cinematic dialogue is so over-rated.

  26. gijoel says

    As Conan looked upon the carnage he had wrought, he finally realised the true meaning of Christmas.

  27. frankgturner says

    Santa, the Easter bunny, Super Mecha Christ operated by the Angry Video Game Nerd and his bullshit faced sidekick and Ash (circa Evil Dead), and King Kong face Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Chucky, Michael Myers, and Godzilla in a Quidditch Death Match refereed by the Jedi on the battle ground where teenagers engage in reaping after Captain Jack Sparrow steals the U.S.S. Enterprize from Darth Vader and crashes it into Santa’s workshop at the north pole. This awakens Smaug and will determine if the X-men and Justice league can invade Earth from the realms of the Elder Gods or if the Reindeer Warriors led by Rudolph prevail.
    Is that enough pop culture icons crammed into a Xmas story for ya? :-) (I cn imagine someone using legos to make a photo story for this btw).

  28. birgerjohansson says

    “As Conan looked upon the carnage he had wrought, he finally realised the true meaning of Christmas.”
    — — — —
    frankgturner owns the movie franchise
    — — — —
    Most of the Orcs were killed by the sand worms, but now Santa’s company must face the undead warriors raised by Angmar the necromancer. They receive a worrying message from their allies, Fafhrd and the Mouser; The Harkonnen have placed a spy in their group to track their way to the hidden cache of desert spice Jesus must ingest to gain his full powers.

    The fights have delayed the company so they can not clear the plains before the Long Eclipse;
    Soon the blind flying carnivores will crawl out and launch themselves into the dark sky by their millions.

  29. birgerjohansson says

    Aki Kaurismaki is sort of a spaghetti western director dumped in the forests of Finland.
    Also, see Hrafn Gunnlaugsson’s “Hrafninn Flygur”. Yum.

  30. birgerjohansson says

    I don’t think Glenn Beck should put *this* Santa in charge of Jesus´safety:

    ““Santa’s Slay” Starring Bill Goldberg, Douglas Smith, Emilie de Ravin
    “Christmas horror comedy from first-time director David Steiman. A thousand years ago, the devil’s son lost a bet with an angel and was forced to spend the next millennium playing jolly old St. Nick (Bill Goldberg) and handing out presents to children every Christmas. Now, the thousand-year wager is over, and Santa wants revenge. He soon begins making up for lost time by going on a murderous spree.”

    So Good Santa is the same person as Evil Santa?!

  31. says

    @39: Is that enough pop culture icons crammed into a Xmas story for ya?

    But you missed the entire Dr. Who franchise! There must be room to work in a Dalek or three….

  32. David Marjanović says

    Rare Exports

    Everybody should watch that once.

    Nobody, I dare say, can watch it twice.

    But you missed the entire Dr. Who franchise!

    OI! SANTA! WORD OF ADVICE! If you’re after a man with a sonic shkshewjriver, don’t let him near the sound SYSTEM!

  33. says

    @ shallit way back at #13
    Here‘s an exposé of the whole horrid, vile poem:

    Clarke Moore is Less On:2007-12-03 04:13:11
    A Visit from Inclement Verse

    Now that the month of Christmas has got well under way (after spending the last couple of weeks rudely trying to elbow it’s way into becoming the six-weeks-of-Christmas-and-then-some and we all gave a great sigh of thanks for Thanksgiving Day for standing up to the nasty great bully) I am ummercifully driven to the dominant question of the season: What is it about Christmas that brings out the crass, the trite and possibly the down-right evil in people?

    Consider this :

    ’Twas the month before Christmas: through the whole universe,
    Stupid buggers were reciting this horrible verse.
    It’s rhymes were pathetic; its scansion was worse.
    And I couldn’t help thinking it should go in reverse
    As Dan Chaucer would say, up the re-citers erse!

    Now before you get all taken a-back at my impiety towards what you probably still think of as a sacred text, you should take into account that the unmerciful driving I mentioned above was done by a crass, trite and possibly down-right evil advertisement that featured the damn thing, and you should remember too that we are here talking of a poem that almost single-handedly proves H. L. Menken’s little bit of gnomishness about no one ever going broke underestimating the taste or intelligence of the American Public.

    Apart from it’s qualities as a verse (which of course it has a sad tendency to completely lack) it is the message of this medium that revolts and distresses.

    Consider these lines taken at random (and not even made up by me): “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,/And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath” or “His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry” or even “He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot” so here we have in quick succession product placement, or whatever it is, encouraging smoking, the obviously excessive drinking of hard liquor (we all know what that does to the capillaries around the nose and cheeks) and, in the face of PETA and all things politically correct, the actual wearing of animal skins and not just wearing them, but wearing them to excess; and then apart from those what we might think of as modern sins, there is plenty to disparage from a more traditional perspective—there’s gluttony with his “round belly/That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly” [euuuuw!]; there’s the parents sloth with their “long winter’s nap”, and one tries hard not to even begin to imagine what sort of lustful things Mama and the narrator were up to, according to their description in the poem they are apparently attired in nothing but, respectively, a “kerchief” and a “cap”, and we won’t even mention all that stuff about exposing stockings.

    And then, as one delves deeper into all this iniquity, one starts to wonder just what it was that they “Had just settled our brains” from and why it gave them all those hallucinations of miniature rein-deer and evil little furry men to begin with.

    And, to darken an already black-as-sinful story, there is even the suggestion that Clement Clarke Moore, who is the guy who usually gets the credit (if credit is the right word for what its writer should have got) might actually have stolen it from Henry Livingston (though ‘Why in the Hell he would want to’ is the question that springs to my mind).

    So with that in mind, and as a little test to see if you’ve been listening, can you figure out which (if any) of the seven deadly sins this vile verse does not encourage?

    …Well … Sorry that was a trick question and you were almost certainly wrong: although not mentioned in the poem, it actually does encourage anger—the trick is that the anger is in the mind of the audience.
    In fact, when it comes down to it, the only good thing that can be said about the whole sorry episode is that at least it wasn’t written by bloody Longfellow.

    Cheerio for now
    from Richard Howland-Bolton.

  34. birgerjohansson says

    I think a Bolivian Army ending is perfectly appropriate, having read the link.
    In fact, I want all annoying protagonists to get a Bolivian Army ending.
    That is the problem with Jesus, he should go out with guns blazing, not this whole “meekly going to his death” stuff.