Thursday, December 24, 2009

Xmas eve at the grotto (1986)

From the December 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard


"Hello little boy, climb onto my knee and tell me what you would like for Xmas. A BMX bike? A computer? Or perhaps you'd like something more traditional like a train set?"

"Well actually Santa, what I'd really like is a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth".

"Hee hee, well, er, how about a nice Action Man instead hmmm?"

"But I don't like playing with dolls".

"Dolls? Dolls! Action Man isn't a doll. He's a real live, or rather real imitation live, bucho macho man. Why he's got muscles on his nostrils; he comes complete with all action SAS uniform, guns, grenades, knives, the lot. And for a little extra you can have a complete change of outfit. There's the riot-cops' gear with a super long club for clobbering pickets. Nothing namby-pamby about Action Man".

"Well, I still think that it's a doll, and anyway I don't fancy all that simulated violence".

"Hmm, okay then, how about something more sedate like the game of Monopoly?"

"But I want to abolish money".

"Okay, okay, look here's a good one. Hangman".

"What's that about then?"

"Eh, let me see. Oh yes, it's rather like one of those interminable game shows that are never off the telly. What happens is this: your opponent makes up a word which you have got to find out by guessing the letters one by one. Every time you guess wrong, that's another step up to the gallows. If you guess wrong too many times then your man is hanged, hee, hee hee".

"It's a bit reactionary isn't it?"

"Well, it is only a symbolic hanging you know. I mean they don't actually hang anyone . . . Wait a minute, these television producers are always looking for new ideas for telly shows, this could be the break I've been waiting for. Hey kid, how would you like to hold the throne for five minutes until I call my agent? . . . "

"Hey Santa, I'm not finished yet".

"What? Oh okay, another half an hour and I'll be on my break anyway. Right, where were we?"

"You were asking me what I wanted for Xmas and I've been trying to tell you that what I'd really like is to have socialism".

"Listen you little Commie runt, how would you like me to jam this plastic pixie right down your . . . Ulp! here comes my boss. Quick - give me a big smile. C'mon you can do better than that. Wider, that's it. Now wave to him and I'll let go of your nuts. Phew! there he goes into Santa's workshop. Boy are Santa's helpers in for a shock. Now look son, let's be reasonable, there's a big queue forming. After all, if they all thought like you, well, where would we be?"

"In a happy sane society".

"I knew you were a pervert. Look son give me a break. I'm not really Santa Claus you know. I'm actually an out of work actor between engagements and I can tell you it's not easy sitting here all day like a white haired ventriloquist".

"Couldn't you get some work in television then?"

"If only I could. I did once manage to get a walk-on part in a soap opera or to be more accurate it was a sit-down part".

"What part did you play?"

(Sigh) "Santa Claus".

"Listen, socialism won't have Santa Claus, nor for that matter will there be such a thing as Xmas".

"But that would mean that I'd be out of a job".

"Everyone would be out of a job, at least in the sense that there would no longer be employment which is what people really mean when they talk about work. Since there will no longer be employers and employed, people will be free to do the kind of work they really enjoy doing and that includes acting, because people will still want to be entertained".

"Good grief, it's as if a veil has been lifted from my eyes, everything is so cleas now . . . "

"You're overacting".

"Sorry, was it so obvious? I studied the Method you know. Anyway, I'm going to do something positive for a change, and to begin with I'll remove this stupid wig. There, I've done it. What a great feeling. Now I think I'll burn the wig. Hee hee".

"You mean that you've grasped the concept that I've been explaining as easily as that?"

"Of course dear boy, it's so simple that even a seven year old could grasp it".

"Well I'm certainly relieved to hear you say that".

"Oh, why?"

"Because now you can explain it to that long line of howling kids. Merry Xmas".

Tone


On a witty festive note, I'd also like to point you in the direction of S. J Perelman's "Waiting for Sanity', which has been reproduced on the excellent Scottish blog, The Socialist Courier.