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December 06, 2010



So when did the shift happen from the imagery of St. Nicholas to Santa Claus?

The theme of his costume and his rituals appear to be pretty unchanged over the years...

Do you think it's true that early Coca Cola ads actually shifted our perception of him in American folk lore? They make this claim on their website. http://bit.ly/L6Fr


What Coca Cola actually accomplishes, i dare say, is the comodification and branding of Santa Claus. The final secularization of St. Nicholas. Protestants thought this move would emphasize the spiritual significance of the birth of Christ (i.e. the Dutch give gifts on Dec 6 and attend church on Dec 25) but it has had the opposite effect in late-capitalism --it has gutted Christmastide of any spiritual significance.

By the 1920's, the birth of modern propaganda/advertising, the move in America is already drifting away from the more mythic Thomas Nast images in Harper's. The features are simplified and 'modernized' for easy consumption. This makes the Coca Cola Santa possible by 1931ish.

As you know, many people think they are making Christmas more Holy by keeping St. Nicholas out, but all they are accomplishing is a promotion of pornographic materialism. I say, if you want to resist the commodification of Christmas then re-enchant it with more myth --as the Victorians did. This is the genius of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" ... but now I'm spoiling my list of films.


And if I might be so bold, I'd dare say 'secularization' of Christmas and St. Nicholas (Coca Cola Santa) reveals that late-capitalism has its own metaphysics rather than being a rejection of metaphysics.

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Cinema Out of Joint

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    Cinema Out of Joint is an ongoing reflection on films that best describe the mood, situation, and going-on in Time Out of Joint. It's a glimpse into the films I wrestle with, that have gotten into me and I can't shake ... or don't ever want to. Cinema Out of Joint is intended to serve as an ongoing guide of landmarks as the soul wayfares through the wondrous and perilous landscape of cinema:


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