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Thread: Silent Invisible Santa Claus This Year?

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    Silent Invisible Santa Claus This Year?

    As a scientist one still has to explain to kids/ grandkids the mystery of Santa Claus, and his ability to work so silently and seemingly invisibly throughout the night. These guys have figured it out, and it should be available on Ebay before long....double cloaking....both an invisibility cloak, and an acoustic cloak...or either separately...deaf mode...blind mode. pretty slick. SEE: https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1911/1911.13206.pdf



    pete
    Last edited by trinitree88; 2019-Dec-02 at 10:34 PM. Reason: typo

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    Santa's sleigh is a time machine so he can travel back in time after delivering toys to a few houses. He's also immortal and doesn't age so he can spend years of subjective time doing this. His elves hack into bank computers and make it look like parents bought the toys, and Santa's also good at forgery and hypnosis so no one ever denies buying that stuff.

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    Gad. I thought it was impossible to make the concept of Santa Claus even more terrifying than it already is, but you two managed it.
    (I was thinking about this the other day, and realized that it's perhaps just as well I don't have children, because I actually could not bring myself to trick a child into believing in Santa Claus.)

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Gad. I thought it was impossible to make the concept of Santa Claus even more terrifying than it already is, but you two managed it.
    He sees you when you're sleeping
    He knows when you're awake
    He knows if you've been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake!

    At least until we can get the restraining order.
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    If I had kids I think I'd tell them the truth at first if just to make my future simpler.

    But I think this thread is supposed to be more about invisibility than about Santa and kids.

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    Western American Culture (?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    He sees you when you're sleeping
    He knows when you're awake
    He knows if you've been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake!

    At least until we can get the restraining order.
    It is interesting the God-like powers we attribute to Santa Clause. Not to mention the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Bogeyman, and assorted Halloween nonsense.

    I don't think it's going to go away anytime soon.

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    Interesting and useful conjecture. While obviously Mr. Claus keeps his secrets very well and we mundane folks will likely never know all of his techniques, I do enjoy the yearly speculations by scientists about how some of them might work.

    One thing I think may reduce his workload considerably that few of these articles consider is that he may not really visit every household in every country, but instead have many allies in the form of local gift-bringers such as La Befana, St. Lucia, the Yule Goat, and Grandfather Frost, some of whom even bring their gifts on days other than Christmas.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    One thing I think may reduce his workload considerably that few of these articles consider is that he may not really visit every household in every country, but instead have many allies in the form of local gift-bringers such as La Befana, St. Lucia, the Yule Goat, and Grandfather Frost, some of whom even bring their gifts on days other than Christmas.
    Two other things that reduce his workload as well, is that not all families are Christian, and don't necessarily celebrate Christmas, and in addition, that some children have been naughty (in fact I think quite a number of them must have been, judging from my own experience as a child, so I think that Santa must be quite forgiving).
    As above, so below

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    hey kids.... now you’re older i gotta confess all that mystical claptrap about santa, the easter bunny, the tooth fairy... it was all just made up magical stuff... you know for fun...... when kids are small, they have small gullible minds.. and it’s just cute and fun to tell them lies...

    but TRUST me about the religion... THAT is real... OK?

    good talk.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    <snip

    but TRUST me about the religion... THAT is real... OK?
    Don't go there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Gad. I thought it was impossible to make the concept of Santa Claus even more terrifying than it already is, but you two managed it.
    (I was thinking about this the other day, and realized that it's perhaps just as well I don't have children, because I actually could not bring myself to trick a child into believing in Santa Claus.)
    It was a debate between me and my wife/mother-in-law. They held that we should maintain a pretense about Santa so that kids would have more magic in their lives. After all, kids have better access to magic, so why not fulfill their potential in that direction? I answered, yes, kids do have more access to magic, so let's teach them about real magic-- the kind we don't have to tell them was a lie later! After all, has anyone ever considered why kids lose their access to magic? Could it be the disappointment of discovering they have been lied to about it, and made to feel like fools? So I always wanted to tell them that people like to pretend there is a Santa to give a kind of personification to the magical spirit of giving and acting out love at a particularly designated time of year. My mother-in-law was afraid I doing so would rob them of part of their childhood-- I think the fear should be robbing them part of their adulthood.

    If anyone wonders what I mean by "real magic", I'd have to say this video is a prime example: https://nypost.com/video/my-heart-fe...ay-to-her-mom/ (sorry I don't know how to avoid the ad.)
    Just think, if we were to say that Santa visited that girl the day she describes, is there really any magic lost if we add that the Santa concept merely embodies our choice to pretend in a personification of the spirit she exhibits? What part of what she is saying does a child lose access to if they are not made to believe in an actual real Santa? She is, after all, a child already, and has something to tell the rest of us about magic. I don't think she needs help with the notion of charity, love, or giving-- I think she needs help navigating the ways we try to control her beliefs, telling ourselves we do it for her own good. (Though yes, someone will have to tell her about how aging works before too long, but at least no one lied to her about it!)
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Dec-19 at 05:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    If anyone wonders what I mean by "real magic", I'd have to say this video is a prime example: https://nypost.com/video/my-heart-fe...ay-to-her-mom/
    WARNING! The cuteness is almost overwhelming.

    But I love your point about "real magic". It makes me think about the magic of the natural world. Rachael Carson's The Sense of Wonder was luckily an essential part of my childhood. (excerpt)
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Gad. I thought it was impossible to make the concept of Santa Claus even more terrifying than it already is, but you two managed it.
    Others have monetized the concept. For example:
    https://www.redbubble.com/people/the...p=canvas-print (advertisement)
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    But I love your point about "real magic". It makes me think about the magic of the natural world. Rachael Carson's The Sense of Wonder was luckily an essential part of my childhood. (excerpt)
    Yes that's well put, and I think it's probably an area where a lot of parents (myself included) feel like they might have let their kids down. It's so tempting to pander to the things they already love, that are easy to love like cartoons and balloon animals, after all you want the kids to have things they love so they discover great happiness while they are so amenable to it. But it might be even more important to help them love the things that will have longlasting meaning for them, things they won't just outgrow. That might sum up the current problem we have with the Santa pretense, and the reasons we lose our wonder, as the article suggests.

    (By the way, that article was written in 1956, and by a woman-- it's amazing how much the attitudes have changed, such that the conventional adoption of the male gender for the hypothetical child hits us today as almost a kick in the gut. That speaks to at least one thing that has changed for the better, if she were writing that article today she could include herself in her language.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Yes that's well put, and I think it's probably an area where a lot of parents (myself included) feel like they might have let their kids down. It's so tempting to pander to the things they already love, that are easy to love like cartoons and balloon animals, after all you want the kids to have things they love so they discover great happiness while they are so amenable to it. But it might be even more important to help them love the things that will have longlasting meaning for them, things they won't just outgrow. That might sum up the current problem we have with the Santa pretense, and the reasons we lose our wonder, as the article suggests.
    [my bold] The Santa Claus experience for me is a game filled with charm and magical thoughts. When we grow-up, we become the hosts for the game where our efforts are rewarded with a special family-time joy, which only can be experienced by adults in giving, not taking.

    Given the importance we assign labels, I think hyperbole would be a better word for lie in this case, though it has a time element to it where it's not to be taken literally.... later.

    Even so, you might enjoy, Six Reasons to Lie to Your Kids about SC
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    [my bold] The Santa Claus experience for me is a game filled with charm and magical thoughts. When we grow-up, we become the hosts for the game where our efforts are rewarded with a special family-time joy, which only can be experienced by adults in giving, not taking.
    And who would want to take away that game, both as kids and adults? But what I'm asking is, does the game really lose anything if you tell the kids it's a game? Don't they love to imagine those fantastic things, and aren't kids great at imagination? I don't think they need to be fooled in order to spur their imagination, we don't tell kids Harry Potter is real but they love it anyway.
    Given the importance we assign labels, I think hyperbole would be a better word for lie in this case, though it has a time element to it where it's not to be taken literally.... later.
    To me the issue is not so much how "exaggerated" is the Santa pretense, it's supposed to be highly exaggerated-- that's all part of the fantasy. The "lie" is not in the degree of exaggeration, it is in the insistence that we force our kids to turn off their critical thinking skills in order to enter into the fantasy. I say, let them have the fantasy, and not turn off their critical thinking skills. Then there's no "lie" involved, and still keep all of the hyperbole.
    Yet here are my responses:
    1) "Lying to kids is awesome." But he is using examples where the kids don't actually believe him-- they know perfectly well it's fantasy! That's the whole point, it's not a lie if they know it's fantasy. That's what I'm saying about Santa too.
    2) "Lying is practical." That's a blanket statement, but what it should really say is sometimes lying is practical-- it depends on the situation. That's also my point here-- Santa is simply not one of those cases where lying is practical, you are not protecting them from any harsh truths. Instead, in my opinion, we are robbing them of the true meaning of a belief in magic-- true magic.
    3) "Lying to kids can be a family tradition." Again he is talking about situations where the kids know it's all fantasy. That distinction is absolutely crucial, that's simply not a lie at all. Come on now, no one is saying it's not fun to enter into fantasy with your kids, we're saying you don't have to be the only ones who know it's a fantasy. That's exactly the issue my mother-in-law had about Santa, she could not see that it's possible for both the parents and the kids to pretend Santa exists. Here the author is giving expressly such an example, and conflating that situation with the completely different ones where the kids are being fooled about it.
    4)"Lying about Santa is utilitarian." Here he says that if you lie that Santa didn't give them what they wanted, you can escape the blame yourself. I'm not even sure we are to take this one seriously, he might be completely joking. But if he isn't, let's take the argument to its logical conclusion-- that parents should seek ways to avoid accountability for what they do. What about when it's not December 25th, shall we apply the principle uniformly all year long? If the child asks for candy at the store, shall we tell them the store doesn't allow that, so it's the store's fault? What would happen to our kids ability to function in the world if parents placed avoidance of accountability above teaching their kids how the world actually works?
    5) "Lying about Santa doesn't undermine the religion behind Christmas." This only matters to those who choose to make it matter, it's irrelevant to the issues being discussed. But here the author claims to know the only ways in which having kids find out they have been lied to affects them. I don't think he knows that at all, but again he brings up the made-up jaguar that patrols the house. My guess is that his kids never regarded that jaguar in the same way they regard Santa-- if they really thought the jaguar was real, they'd be terrified! That would be awful-- getting your kids to behave by terrifying them.
    6) "It makes you believe in benevolent forces." Ah, but this is exactly my point, this is how you can have Santa without lying about it. You just tell your kids the truth-- many people believe in benevolent forces, and perhaps you'd like your kids to believe in that too, so just tell them you also believe in those forces and think they should too. Then you say Santa is a kind of made-up personification of that belief. In short, tell them the truth-- and lose nothing, except the deterioration of their critical thinking ability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    And who would want to take away that game, both as kids and adults? But what I'm asking is, does the game really lose anything if you tell the kids it's a game? Don't they love to imagine those fantastic things, and aren't kids great at imagination? I don't think they need to be fooled in order to spur their imagination, we don't tell kids Harry Potter is real but they love it anyway.
    Yes, Harry Potter spurs their imagination, indeed, and we don’t have to tell them HP isn’t real since we know they will soon realize that HP is a fantasy. I prefer allowing the SC fantasy unfold similarly knowing their minds will solve the puzzle eventually even if we are playing roles that make it a bit more challenging.
    To me the issue is not so much how "exaggerated" is the Santa pretense, it's supposed to be highly exaggerated-- that's all part of the fantasy. The "lie" is not in the degree of exaggeration, it is in the insistence that we force our kids to turn off their critical thinking skills in order to enter into the fantasy. I say, let them have the fantasy, and not turn off their critical thinking skills. Then there's no "lie" involved, and still keep all of the hyperbole.
    I’m unclear what you mean by forcing kids to the point they aren’t really allowed to solve the puzzle. To what extent we promote the fantasy does present a tricky line that, admittedly, does get crossed in some homes no doubt. I’m fine with a bite of the cookie left at the fireplace, for instance, but if they look me in the eye and want a straight answer, and I know they have solved most of the puzzle, then your use of personification is the best solution.
    Yet here are my responses:
    I’m glad it was just six.
    1) "Lying to kids is awesome." But he is using examples where the kids don't actually believe him-- they know perfectly well it's fantasy! That's the whole point, it's not a lie if they know it's fantasy. That's what I'm saying about Santa too.
    Yes, he’s being allegorical not literal. Ironically, he created a fun story of imagination to help them overcome their other scary imagination.
    2) "Lying is practical." That's a blanket statement, but what it should really say is sometimes lying is practical-- it depends on the situation. That's also my point here-- Santa is simply not one of those cases where lying is practical, you are not protecting them from any harsh truths. Instead, in my opinion, we are robbing them of the true meaning of a belief in magic-- true magic.
    But elements of the game ends when the truth is established. The question seems to be the how and when the game needs to change to the adult version (personification). Allow it to unfold on their terms but be ready to help them say that the SC story was really a “we love you in a big way” story.
    3) "Lying to kids can be a family tradition." Again he is talking about situations where the kids know it's all fantasy. That distinction is absolutely crucial, that's simply not a lie at all. Come on now, no one is saying it's not fun to enter into fantasy with your kids, we're saying you don't have to be the only ones who know it's a fantasy. That's exactly the issue my mother-in-law had about Santa, she could not see that it's possible for both the parents and the kids to pretend Santa exists. Here the author is giving expressly such an example, and conflating that situation with the completely different ones where the kids are being fooled about it.
    We don’t really know if the escaped horses line was swallowed or not. If they solved similar fun, family stories, then probably not. Being creative and clever is part of the fun, after all.
    4)"Lying about Santa is utilitarian." Here he says that if you lie that Santa didn't give them what they wanted, you can escape the blame yourself. I'm not even sure we are to take this one seriously, he might be completely joking. But if he isn't, let's take the argument to its logical conclusion-- that parents should seek ways to avoid accountability for what they do. What about when it's not December 25th, shall we apply the principle uniformly all year long? If the child asks for candy at the store, shall we tell them the store doesn't allow that, so it's the store's fault? What would happen to our kids ability to function in the world if parents placed avoidance of accountability above teaching their kids how the world actually works?
    We just don’t know the maturity of his kids. However, I think he is joking more than not.
    5) "Lying about Santa doesn't undermine the religion behind Christmas." This only matters to those who choose to make it matter, it's irrelevant to the issues being discussed. But here the author claims to know the only ways in which having kids find out they have been lied to affects them. I don't think he knows that at all, but again he brings up the made-up jaguar that patrols the house. My guess is that his kids never regarded that jaguar in the same way they regard Santa-- if they really thought the jaguar was real, they'd be terrified! That would be awful-- getting your kids to behave by terrifying them.
    Right, the jaguar was fun irony at play, so to speak. It’s still about the how and when, IMO, the SC game switches to personification, which is mostly a subjective call.
    6) "It makes you believe in benevolent forces." Ah, but this is exactly my point, this is how you can have Santa without lying about it. You just tell your kids the truth--
    How and when, right? Not at age 2, for instance. Perhaps this is the crux of the matter in the family disagreement. I can’t believe that a lot of forcing is suggested. Let the kids solve it themselves; that’s half the fun and almost all the fun for scientists with new discoveries, right?
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Yes, Harry Potter spurs their imagination, indeed, and we don’t have to tell them HP isn’t real since we know they will soon realize that HP is a fantasy.
    Ah, but hang on here, the issue is not whether you should specifically tell your kids Harry Potter isn't real, it's whether or not you should specifically tell them it is, on grounds that you think they'll get more out of it if they think it is real. That's the Santa question.
    To what extent we promote the fantasy does present a tricky line that, admittedly, does get crossed in some homes no doubt. I’m fine with a bite of the cookie left at the fireplace, for instance, but if they look me in the eye and want a straight answer, and I know they have solved most of the puzzle, then your use of personification is the best solution.
    That was pretty much my compromise. I played along with the Santa pretense, but I said that I would always give a truthful answer to a direct question when I saw the wheels of critical thinking turning. I would have preferred to have just told them the truth about Santa all along, but parenting requires compromise. But the main point I want to make is, as I said above, the "truth about Santa" is not "it's all a bunch of baloney so we don't do that", it's "let's have some fun joining in a community fantasy that has the real purpose of promoting a spirit of giving and wonder, i.e., real magic, not Harry Potter magic like invisible time machines for getting to every home that wants him."
    I’m glad it was just six.
    Yeah, well you know, his points were intended as a real argument, so required rebuttal!
    Ironically, he created a fun story of imagination to help them overcome their other scary imagination.
    What I can't understand is why he can't see the difference between that and pretending that Santa is real. The two are just completely different, as only the latter is an assault on critical thinking skills and a kind of resignation that magic needs to be like magic tricks, i.e., smoke and mirrors.
    But elements of the game ends when the truth is established.
    Not really-- every aspect of the game is still in play. The partially eaten cookies, the carrots for the reindeer-- it's all just as fun, and just as funny, if the kids know it's a game. Indeed, even more so-- if it's a game, then the sky's the limit as to what kind of imaginary ideas you can dream up.
    Allow it to unfold on their terms but be ready to help them say that the SC story was really a “we love you in a big way” story.
    But instead of we loved you enough to fool you, why not we loved you enough to give you a version you don't have to grow out of, or perpetrate on your kids, to be true to the real spirit of it?
    We don’t really know if the escaped horses line was swallowed or not.
    But that's the point, it makes all the difference. If it was clear the escape horses story was not intended to be swallowed, then it's all great family fun. If it was intended to be believed, it's messing with critical thinking skills in ways that will later have to be fixed, and for no reason-- the game is even more fun if the kids are laughing too.
    Being creative and clever is part of the fun, after all.
    Absolutely, that's my point entirely-- neither creativity nor cleverness need come at the expense of critical thinking skills, nor at the expense of a working concept of reality. I'd say it's downright insulting of kids to say they can't have the fun of creativity and cleverness unless they are duped in the process! I know you feel it is not so big of a deal that deserves the term "dupe", and maybe it isn't, but if it's not a big deal whether it's framed as real or fantasy, why not frame it as fantasy, and if it is a big deal, then all the more reason to be truthful.
    We just don’t know the maturity of his kids, however, I think he is joking more than not.
    The article has a humorous flavor, but I think it can be taken at face value. It is trying to argue in favor of pretending Santa is real, but most of the arguments conflate that with family games that are obviously not intended to be pretenses of actual reality. Failing to make that distinction is the entire problem.
    It’s still about the how and when, IMO, the SC game switches to personification, which is mostly a subjective call.
    How and when? Not at age 2, for instance.
    Why not? I think 2 years old might be the most important time of all to tell the truth about Santa, that's when critical thinking patterns are being established. I see no issue with saying to a 2 year old, "let's go to the mall, it will be really fun to join everyone there who is pretending it is being visited by a fat guy in a red suit who lives at the North pole who will give you a bunch of great presents on Christmas day. It's a big deal, they will also be pretending he has a bunch of little elves with him who make all the toys. Doesn't that sound like fun to imagine those things?" I really fail to see what is lost in the whole story by telling the truth about the story, 2 year olds are much better at imagination and fantasy than adults are. Let us not project ourselves onto them!
    I can’t believe that a lot of forcing is suggested. Let the kids solve it themselves; that’s half the fun and almost all the fun for scientists, right? 
    That's why I was all right with the compromise that I would never have to literally play the role of Calvin's dad, making up wrong explanations when the child's mind started to think critically. We can laugh at the comic because there isn't actually a child's mind getting messed with there! But I have seen people messing with kids' minds in other contexts, that I won't go into-- and it's not obvious to the kids which times they're supposed to figure it out on their own.

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    Look, it is obvious that there are things we call 'indoctrination', and 'neuroplasticity'.
    Both good and bad ways of thinking can be implanted in children by their peers, parents, teachers.
    I think (IMHO) children can be taught to love, care, tell the truth.. or to hate, cheat and lie.

    Santa is a religion-adjacent, mind-dependent concept. Certainly a better lie than his evil flipside...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dZl3yfGpc

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Certainly a better lie than his evil flipside...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus
    I will grant you that Krampus is just awful, but I wouldn't say it puts Santa into a particularly good light. It makes it pretty easy to see Krampus/Santa as a psychologically manipulative system of punishment/reward. It all looks pretty transparent when you consider "he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness' sake." Or else. Now throw in the studied pretense that Santa is actually real, and do the math.

    By contrast, notice how all the good elements are preserved, and all the psychological intimidation and critical thinking deterioration is removed, if you do one simple thing: tell your kids it's all a heart-warming fantasy that celebrates the spirit of joy and giving. How could anyone object to that?

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    The elf on the shelf is even worse
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AylOtO-AVhs

    yeah, Mom--really mess them up

    Why not lock them in a department store overnight
    https://geektyrant.com/news/a-woman-...indow-dressing

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    The elf on the shelf is even worse
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AylOtO-AVhs

    yeah, Mom--really mess them up
    Yikes, that really sums it up. You see everything we've been talking about in the thread-- at first, the kids are laughing, they are thinking of it as make believe, just something fun to imagine and it gives them joy. How easily it could have been left at that, the parents could explain how they made the video and it's it fun to imagine the elf is real, would you like to watch it again? But no, they double down on the reality of it, and you see the kids becoming more full of false awe, and also more somber. Because if the elf is real, then everything they thought was true about how reality works has to be rethought, and they certainly better watch their behavior because they are always under surveillance. We should have known Big Brother would come in a kid friendly package.

    And the worst of it is, the news story is all fun and games, and oh by the way, there's also a good side to fooling kids, you can get them to behave better! All good, right? Just like newspeak-- wasn't the whole purpose of that to alter reality to get a more obedient population, and make them love being made to be obedient at the same time?

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