Santa site cries for democracy
Imagine you're a child.
The temperature has plunged. Coloured lights are starting to go up on Central buildings. Songs about mutant reindeer filter through the crisp mall air.
It's not yet December, but already Christmas excitement runs through your veins like an electric charge.
Soon, very soon, Santa Claus will reward you for eating all those vegetables.
Meanwhile, you decide to steer your benefactor in the right direction by sending him your list of demands.
You're a child of the millennium, so obviously this will be done via e-mail. Dreaming Pokemon dreams, you tap in santaclaus.com.
When last you did this, your efforts were greeted with a jolly likeness of the world's most beloved trespasser.
But not this time.
Santa has been ousted from his site. In his place, children find this:
'Our opinion regarding the election: It is absolutely shameful that certain parties are attempting to manipulate voters in order to accomplish certain ends, namely undermining the election.'
There follows a list of earnest quotes concerning the sacredness of the democratic process.
We won't bore you with them. Lai See stopped taking the whole United States democracy thing seriously a few days ago when a couple of ballots inexplicably turned up in some couple's letter box . . . in Belgium.
But the Santa site's author clearly fails to see the humour in his nation's electoral process.
Says he: 'For those of you who think 'the less said the better' that is how you end up with a tyranny, and that is why we have the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. In fact, the truth of the matter is: the MORE said the better.'
As we scanned the diatribe, Lai See could almost hear the childish voices asking 'Mummy, is Santa dead?' and the patter of tears falling on crayon-scrawled wish lists.
In fairness, the site does promise Santa-seekers that 'We'll return to our regularly scheduled content soon', before adding 'however this issue is much to (sic) important to remain silent. Don't be a rope seller.'
We're not entirely sure what he means by that, no doubt little Johnny and Suzie will take pains to avoid selling any form of rope.
Santa told them to.
Still, not everyone in the US is taking it all too seriously.
Comedians continue to get mileage out of the presidential limbo.
The host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien had this to say on the electoral subject: 'Al Gore's campaign manager is now asking for the ballots in four Florida districts to be counted by hand. George W. Bush said, 'Well, that will never work. What happens when you run out of fingers?''
Also this: 'While the election is being decided, George W. Bush has been very busy assembling his Cabinet. Meanwhile, Al Gore has been busy resembling a cabinet'.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Brits are having a chortle over a 'Notice of Revocation of Independence' now doing the e-mail rounds.
For those of you who haven't seen it, the 'notice' proclaims that the failure of the US to select a leader proves that the former colony is incapable of governing itself, and must therefore return to the British fold.
It then sets out a list of rules to which citizens of the newly British nation must adhere ('Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up 'vocabulary'. Using the same 27 words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up 'interspersed'.')
Suffice to say, the British are enjoying the debacle immensely.
They've been wanting to get their own back at US presidents since Ronald Reagan referred to their favourite royal couple as 'Prince Charles and Princess David'.