Photo: AP (K. Mohammed)
I am resting at an undisclosed warm-weather location, living the Real Housewives of Atlanta lifestyle, if they were retirees looking at Social Security checks in the mail each month. Each morning's newspaper headlines bring a surrealist haiku. For example: "Missing Elf in Sanibel," or my personal favorite "Deputies Arrest Lewd Santa at Wal-Mart." Of course, after yesterday's tragic incident in Los Angeles where a guy in a Santa suit murdered several people, set fire to a home, and then killed himself (why don't these murderous people ever kill themselves first before going on these horrific rampages?), the molesting Santa harassing a woman at a big box union-busting schlock shop seems less shocking.
But the photo I saw in USA TODAY (as my late, beloved ex used to refer to it "The McDonald's of newspapers.") this morning -see above- took the sinister Santa trope to a whole new level. Now no one would belittle the sacrifices made by our troops in Iraq, especially when they are away from home for the holidays. But you have to acknowledge the creepiness of the petite soldier, almost child-like, sitting on Santa's lap while wielding a massive machine gun. And a nice touch is the Crucifix on the ground. (wouldn't that be sacrilegious?) Merry Christmas! Is this like the latter-day Crusades? Is the point to send the propaganda message: Bow down to us, infidels? I find the image absolutely terrifying and abhorrent. But that's because A. I am a lapsed Catholic who objects to most of what the institution of the Papal Catholic Church has ever done, and B. I am a pacifist and this war was based on lies and Bush's goals for imperial profit.