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Thread: Go ahead for Santas' 'Ho, ho, ho'

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    Default Go ahead for Santas' 'Ho, ho, ho'

    NZ Santas' freedom of speech is upheld
    12:10PM Tuesday November 13, 2007

    Kiwi Santas will get to say whatever they like when greeting children, even the now controversial "ho, ho, ho".

    Recruitment agent Westaff hit headlines in Australia after claims that Santa trainees had been told to replace their "ho, ho, hos" with "ha, ha, ha" as it might scare children and offend women.

    Westaff Australia's national manager Glen Jansz told Adelaide's Sunday Mail claims there were concerns the term "ho" could be offensive were false but confirmed the edict had been issued.

    "The reason behind that is we find that in some cases the little kids can get a little bit scared of the deep `ho, ho, hos' and we ask them to be mindful of keeping their voices to a lower level," he said.

    Westaff New Zealand has no such qualms, claiming their Santas are trained to deal with anyone from the most brazen to the meekest of children and would make up their own minds as to the most appropriate phrase for each child.

    The agency, which employs about 70 Santas in shopping centres nationwide, even included the traditional "ho, ho, ho" catchphrase in its advertisement on job-hunting website Seek.

    - NZPA

    From here .
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    Oh give me a break. If women can't tell an innocent "ho-ho-ho" from some misogynistic reference, then they'd best hide at home for the season. I'd think that the big fluffy beard and weird red suit would be more frightening to small children than the voice. I'm glad Santa's First Amendment rights are being upheld in NZ
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    Why do they always have to look for hidden meanings in simple things?

    Santa Claus and the big no, no, no
    5:00AM Sunday November 25, 2007
    By Michelle Coursey

    Santa Claus as we know him - boisterous, round-bellied, cuddly - has become an endangered species.

    As the Jolly Fellow gears up for his busiest time of the year, reports are coming in from around the globe that political correctness is threatening his persona. Nothing is sacred - everything from his figure to his mode of transport, even his signature phrase, are under fire.

    In Australia, Father Christmases are being banned from saying "ho, ho, ho". The Australian branch of recruitment firm Westaff - which also trains about 70 Santas in New Zealand - told its wannabe St Nicks that "ho, ho, ho" could frighten children. In Adelaide, one Westaff trainee Santa claimed the class of 30 had also been told "ho" was American slang for a prostitute, and therefore a derogatory term for females.

    Westaff New Zealand is not following the lead of its Australian counterparts, and confirms local Santas can make up their own minds about greeting children.

    But it doesn't stop there. Environmentalists are also trying to alter Santa's image. The nine reindeer which pull Santa's sleigh through the sky would apparently emit methane with a global warming impact equivalent to about 40,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases - almost as much as a plane on a 122-million-mile trip. Thus, US scientists have come up with a new hybrid sleigh requiring only eight tiny reindeer, or modern hydrogen fuel cells, to power it along.

    More here

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    Alright, lemme see here ...

    But it doesn't stop there. Environmentalists are also trying to alter Santa's image. The nine reindeer which pull Santa's sleigh through the sky would apparently emit methane with a global warming impact equivalent to about 40,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases - almost as much as a plane on a 122-million-mile trip. Thus, US scientists have come up with a new hybrid sleigh requiring only eight tiny reindeer, or modern hydrogen fuel cells, to power it along.
    Sad to see that some journalists in NZ are as stupid as the ones we have in the US. This poor fool has linked two unrelated sets of comments under the banner of environmentalists, because everyone knows that only crazy people want to protect the environment. The first is some comments by an obscure British politician, Lib Dem Transport Spokesman Tom Brake. The source of the second? A tongue-in-cheek speech about inspecting Santa's sleigh. Did this maroon think that Bush pardoning the turkey before Thanksgiving was real, too?

    Santa has also found himself on the frontline of the war against obesity. British Santas have been told to set a good example for children by slimming down. One UK shopping centre has set up a boot camp to make its Santas "fitter and healthier".
    Notice the order in which the information is presented here. It's sort of an inverse pyramid. The one real example is presented at the bottom of the paragraph, after making it sound as though this is a wide-spread phenomenon. Truth is, the one example is the only example. (Go ahead, google it yourself. All the articles out there read the same way.)

    It appears reason has prevailed on this issue locally - rumours one Westaff New Zealand client requested a "skinny Santa" for its mall were urban myth. "I haven't heard of that, no," a spokesman said with a laugh.
    One of the first rules I learned as a journalist: don't print stories that say 'rumor x isn't true' because people have a tendency to 1. only remember the rumor, not the denial and 2. think the rumor must be true, otherwise it wouldn't be a rumor. But, again, this article is about making people think there's a controversy where there isn't.

    But the traditional Santa Claus concept has changed in recent years.
    Well, duh! The phrase 'traditional Santa Claus' is absolutely meaningless--made only more so by the phrase 'changed in recent years.' Does he mean this Santa, or this one, or this one, or this one ...

    Instructions for Westaff Santas on both sides of the Tasman include keeping their hands visible at all times - even wearing white gloves to facilitate this.
    Probably good advice for the protection of all involved, but haven't white gloves always been part of the kit?

    They're also told not to promise gifts parents can't afford.
    Again, good advice which has probably been given to mall Santas for decades. Hasn't he always been rather non-committal about whether or not you were going to get that pony?

    Many malls or shops have customised sofa chairs to allow children to sit next to Santa instead of on his knee.
    Many? Three? Fifteen? 1,829?

    Of course, this is another case of making an innocuous change seem sinister. It may be for liability reasons--and if so, not an unreasonable change to make. Or maybe it's just because they think that kids will be less likely to be scared sitting next to Santa rather than on his lap.

    They have also done away with the tradition of giving children lollies.
    Again, the omnipresent, omnipotent 'they' who ruin everything. Even if it is true--and it may be--why not stop giving lollies, which some kids can't have, and start giving something like stickers, which all kids can enjoy?

    Sorry, but all this 'War on Christmas Stuff' gets me riled.
    Last edited by KiwiHopeful; 25-11-2007 at 09:22 PM.
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    Do you get the impression that the people who must give a whole lot of attention to dreaming up these sillinesses, don't have anything better to do with their time? With all the REALLY important issues that require urgent attention in the world today, this sort of thing comes across as so utterly trivial it's embarrassing.

    I know they think they mean well where the protection of young children is concerned, but a pervert is a pervert whether he's dressed in a Santa suit or not and will get his kicks wherever and whenever he can and not just at Christmas with Mum looking on. Why make thousands of children and hundreds of Santas miss out just because of one or two possible miscreants? The real issue is to seek out and deal with perverts properly rather than slap a blanket ban on this and that. It seems to be a case of 'guilty until proven innocent'.
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    I agree, MB. In the US we refer to this as 'manufactured outrage.' Some 'journalists' get a kick out of these 1/2 true stories that make people talk about the 'good old days' and how 'political correctness' has gotten out of hand.

    As for the pervs, as a teacher I can tell you that there's a double-edged sword when it comes to liability. Without a doubt we want to protect children. One perv in a Santa suit, or in a class room, is one perv too many. The flip side of the issue, though, is that mere allegations of sexual abuse (substantiated or not) can ruin lives.

    The sad thing is, I've seen several cases of inappropriate relationships between students and teachers, and several cases of alleged inappropriate relationships between students and teachers, and can tell you that (at least in US public schools) you're less likely to have problems if it's true than if it isn't. Guilty people always have a plan and spent a lot of time making sure their victim isn't going to say anything to anyone about their 'special' relationship. It's the poor sod who put his (or her) arm around a crying kid who always finds himself (or herself) explaining their actions to their boss, the police, a lawyer.

    Wait, weren't we talking about Christmas?
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