Sunday, December 25, 2011

Crazy Eddie the Motie wishes you a Merry Christmas, part 1

For Part 1, I'll let Next Media Animation wish you a funny Merry Christmas. First, the fantasy.

Christmas is approaching, but will the poor people in the US get anything from Santa this year?

Unfortunately, Santa also suffered in the economic crisis. He moved to the South Pole, Mrs. Claus is divorcing him, and the elves are all hooked on coke and snow. Who will come save Christmas? The Chinese, of course!

So what does the Chinese Santa bring? There's no Elf on the Shelf to scare naughty kids, there's no gun show from Santa, there's only bunch of gifts and red envelopes that are filled with cash. By combining the Chinese new year's tradition, the US and the rest of the world will be saved by the generous Chinese wealth. Hurrah!
There is another video, but it isn't as funny and it's also pure self-promotion for NMA, so I'm not embedding it.

On to the next video, which portrays a exemplifies the Christmas spirit here in America during this Long Recession.

Layaways were popular when times were tough during the Great Depression. Some Christmas shoppers are turning to layaways again this holiday because of the state of the economy. But at some K Mart and WalMart retail stores, there's been a Christmas miracles. Anonymous donors nicknamed "Layaway Angels" have been paying off the balance on the layaway account of strangers.

One California K Mart was visited by a "Layaway Angel" that donated $10,000 dollars to accounts that were delinquent and contained kids clothes and toys.

Although this is a heartwarming story for Christmas, not everybody agree that layaways are a good idea. While they allow those too poor to get credit to buy gifts for the holidays on installment, layaways frequently come with fees for handling and for delinquent payments.
How sweet!

Of course, this wouldn't be Next Media Animation without some pointed snark, including the reality behind the first video I posted above.

Still haven't done all your Christmas shopping? How do you think Santa's elves feel?!?!

Whether it's a flat-screen TV, iPhone 4S or martial aide, those presents don't get manufactured and put under your tree all by themselves!!!

At Santa's workshop in Guangzhou, China, little elves are working around the clock to make sure this year's Christmas is a joyous one.

Next Media Animation is here to provide a special, behind-the-scenes look. Enjoy!
Be sure to look for the dig at Wal-Mart, a corporation whose sustainabilty policies I've examined and found wanting.

NMA has even more snark for the season, including poking fun at the gun owners in Arizona who are having their family Christmas photos taken with a fully armed Santa.

Santa Claus is the enduring symbol of the Christmas season, spreading joy and good tidings to millions around the world. But the image of jolly old St. Nick is now changing, some say for the worse.

In Arizona, families can have their photos taken with Santa while toting rifles at the Scottsdale Gun Club. The club's general manager, Ron Kennedy, says his members love the photos, which are "a fun and safe way to express their holiday spirit and passion for firearms." Others feel the photos are inappropriate, especially in the state where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was gravely injured by crazed shooter Jared Loughner in an attempted assassination.

Around the world, security guards in the Coex Mall in Seoul, South Korea are being encouraged to dress like Santa as they carry out their daily duties. The merry men were recently filmed demonstrating their martial arts skills as part of an interview with mall security director Kim Young-mok. He says the costumes are designed to create a happy environment during the Christmas season, but make no mistake. By the looks of their moves, they're more than ready to karate kick a suspected thief back to The Island of Misfit Toys.

Is Santa's new image just festive fun, or is it a telling reflection of our increasingly violent culture?
This video just earned this entry a tag I wouldn't have used otherwise. Guess which one it is.

Finally, there is the kerfuffle over NMA's reporting about Elf on the Shelf. First, the original video.

A doll and accompanying book called The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is rapidly becoming a seasonal favorite among American families. The rub goes: moms and dads shell out US$30 for the package, and hide the infant-sized elf in a different part of the house each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas for their children to find. The elf keeps careful watch over the little ones throughout the season, supposedly reporting any naughty behavior directly to Santa Claus.

The Elf on the Shelf is the brainchild of Carol Aebersold and her two daughters, who self-published the book locally in Kennesaw, Georgia in 2005 under the label, Creatively Classic Activities and Books. Word slowly spread, and by December 2009, it reached the top spot on Barnes and Noble's online bestseller list. It was reported last year that Aebersold and company had sold about 1.5 million Elf on the Shelf units in total.

But some are skeptical of the message The Elf on the Shelf presents to children. Kids might be less likely to "be good for goodness sake" and more apt to behave solely for the purpose of scoring presents under the tree. Not to mention the product's jingle, "The Elf on the Shelf is watching you, each and every Christmas", might be a little too Orwellian for some parent's comfort.

Still, there are likely to be many elves on shelves this Christmas season, whether you think they're encouraging, cute, or just plain creepy.
Now, the video about the reaction from the manufacturer/publisher.

On Dec. 12, Next Media Animation released a satirical animation about The Elf on the Shelf, a doll marketed by Georgia book publisher CCA and B. It got attention of the company's lawyers, who sent a letter to NMA threatening legal action for alleged defamation and trademark infringement.

"Elf on the Shelf all the rage for Christmas 2011? drew upon a publicly expressed sentiment that the infant-sized elf doll — which, according to the accompanying storybook, keeps careful watch over a household on behalf of Santa Claus — is nothing more but a creepy way to coerce children into behaving and parents into buying Elf on the Shelf products. These ideas were taken to their hyperbolic conclusion by NMA in our parody of The Elf on the Shelf viral marketing as part of a more general satirization of how such products threaten the ethical pillars on which Christmas is built, namely, "to be good for goodness sake."
Some people neither think that "all publicity is good publicity" nor have senses of humor. I'm glad NMA believes in the former and has the latter.

Merry Christmas!

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