I was at The Artist’s school Holiday Concert this morning before hauling ass up to work. Yes, I have become one of *those* parents. The ones who leave as soon as their kid’s bit is done. I admit it. I used to scoff at those parents back, you know, when I had a part-time job allowing me to be flexible, or when I was unemployed and therefore able to be just about anywhere at any given time. “Wow, how hard is it to wait another 20 minutes until the whole show is over?” I used to think in my mildly superior way. Well, yeah, actually? It can be very hard. Especially when you need to catch a bus to catch another bus and there is no one to hold down the fort for you. So that was me, ducking out as soon as the last notes were sung. Which in my case, wasn’t too bad, since it never fails that my kids are always among the last classes to perform. C’est la vie, I guess. Anyway, The Artist, by virtue of his height, was in the back row, so it made it hard to get good photos of him. He did a nice little sway to the music, which was awesome, and he saw me and his Nana sitting in the 5th row, so he knew we were there beaming up at him.
But all of this was after what I think is probably the worst bastardization of a holiday song I’ve ever heard. Now, I have no idea if this is a for reals song, or if this is something the teacher of this other class made up but, however it came to be, it was appalling. It was all about Santa crashing through the roof of some kid’s bedroom – good so far, huh? But it gets better! Sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”, this was the chorus:
Santa Claus, Santa Claus, you are much too fat!
I was sleeping peacefully and now my bed is flat!
Santa Claus, Santa Claus, how much do you weight?
I’m glad I’m not a reindeer, who has to pull your sleigh!
WTF? Since when has Santa started to be subjected to the Jenny Craiging of our culture? There was more, too, about him shouting “I want a piece of cake!” and then when the sleigh took off again, it was flying really low, and wobbled, etc., cos you know, there’s a fat guy in it! I just sat there with my jaw on the sticky floor and was astounded by the HIGH-sterical laughter around me. Wha’? Now, of course Santa has always been “chubby and round, a right jolly old elf”, and ok, we get that. It’s descriptive, and kind of poetic. But this? Calling him out? Calling him fat? Asking how much he weighs? This? This is fat shaming. And, not only is it fat shaming, but it is fat shaming of the guy who is bringing you presents you ungrateful mothereffing brat. I was appalled. And I really hope I wasn’t the only one, but judging from the wild applause, I may have been. Dude. I mean really. Why? Why is this a thing? It made me a little sad to hear all these sweet kids singing this finger-pointing song with big smiles on their faces. How many of them might go and sing it to another kid, using the kid’s name in place of Santa Claus. It’s a playground taunt just waiting to happen, I swear it is. And not only that, this song makes it okay to call people fat. “haha Santa is fat! And you know who else is fat? You!” And the “oh it’s just a silly song” defense does not fly with me. Words matter. They mean things. And this is reinforcing that fat = goofy + clumsy + too-much-cake-eating. Fat is a joke, right?
This school prides itself on being inclusive. Not only were there Christmas songs, but we had Chanukah represented and if I’d been able to stick around, I know someone would have worked up something about Kwanzaa and possibly festivals from other cultures/religions. The school has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and violence, and each month a virtue is highlighted, so the focus might be on “patience” or “helpfulness” or other positive traits. December’s virtue, in case you were wondering? Is “respect”.
Just not for the fat people. Joy to the fucking world.