Last week, I wrote about how Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, et. al. were trying to stir up a frenzy over their imaginary “War on Christmas.” Which at the time seemed like the height of going on the attack by trying to make oneself into a victim — but oh, ye of little faith, ye didn’t count on Megyn Kelly and “Santagate.”
In case you’ve been under a rock all week, a writer for Slate wondered why traditional images of Santa Claus were always Caucasian, and she suggested that we consider race-free options (like a Penguin Claus — sort of like the Easter Bunny, or the Purim Hamster). This prompted Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to trash her previous reputation for being more intelligent than her colleagues (remember her arguing with Karl Rove about the 2012 election results?) by convening a panel to debate the issue, which as far as I could tell consisted of just one article (that hadn’t been very widely read until Kelly publicized it). She expressed her outrage that political correctness might trump truth, because it was a historical, verifiable fact that Santa is white, just like Jesus.
When critics began weighing in, Kelly immediately went on the defense, claiming she was being attacked by race-baiting humorless haters who didn’t get that the whole thing was tongue-in-cheek. On top of the fact that the original segment wasn’t particularly funny, one could also point to Kelly’s recent appearance on The Tonight Show, where she insisted she was a serious journalist, not an entertainer. But my biggest issue is that it’s hard to complain about being criticized when she’s the one who started criticizing in the first place.
The whole thing reminds me of sitcom fights where a younger sibling (Cindy Brady?) kicks an older one (Jan?) and when Jan retaliates, Cindy runs to mom, crying,”Jan is picking on me.” (And no, I don’t know what episode that was, it just sounds pretty plausible — plus I promised my own sons I’d stop embarrassing them by using them as examples.)
So as long as I’m in parental mode, I’d give Ms. Kelly the same advice most parents give their offspring: Try to get along by putting yourself in each other’s shoes. And if you’re going to say something as silly as, “Santa just IS white, it’s a historical, verifiable fact,” put yourself in the shoes of a liberally-inclined humorist and see if YOU could resist the temptation!