You’ve probably seen this trick several times throughout the media but didn’t know you saw it. A headline will read something like “People Want Less Christian Symbols In Public” or “People are Flooding Into the Streets to Protest the Latest Republican Thing.”
The term may vary but the intent is always the same. You’re led to believe that there is a mass of people out there who believe something. That there’s a tide changing and that you either should get on board with it, or get swept away by it. Should you put up a fight about it, you’ll likely run afoul of a lot of energized and angry people. You should get ready for a fight, and possibly get to the net to plant your flag and begin rallying people.
Case in point, check out this latest article from the Daily Mirror which talks about people wanting a “gender-neutral” Santa Claus titled “People say Santa should now be female or gender neutral – sparking debate.” The Mirror sent out the tweet on Monday.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) December 16, 2019
However, if you click on the article and begin reading it — which most won’t and they know that — you’ll discover that this article was actually published last year. You may start to remember the article by the picture they put up with it of a hipster Santa Claus.
But let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty. Who is out here saying that Santa needs to be a woman or gender neutral? You’ve probably already guessed the answer.
After doing some searching I found one guy named Michael Ungar who wrote an article in Psychology Today back in 2017 who said Santa must be a woman from then on and a couple of tweets the Mirror provides, one of which I’m sure was just a joke. Searching Twitter for keywords “Santa” and “gender-neutral” dredges up a lot of results, but all of them commenting that this is a horrible idea and that Santa should stay male.
Yet the article states that in a poll that gave them this information, over a quarter of the 4,000 respondents said that they believe Santa should either be female or gender neutral, 10.6 and 17.2 percent respectively.
The poll in question, which was taken by a graphic t-shirt company, only gave the location of the polled as being in the “US” and “UK.” No further details were provided except the basic age group and number.
“Respondents ranged from 18 to 65+ and were based in both the UK and US. We used Google surveys and gathered responses during October and November 2018,” read the survey description. “Suggestions on how to change Santa were gathered from an open survey of 400 respondents from both the UK and US. A selection of these suggestions were then voted on by over 4000 people across the UK and US, with the most popular visualised in our graphic.”
There’s a lot of unanswered questions about the survey. Did they target a certain section of the country? Did they weigh a certain age group over others? Who did they ask to fill out the original survey?
If I was trying to base any kind of argument or merchandise idea off of the survey, the survey is essentially useless. However, that’s not the point.
The point is that you thought there were people out there actually believing that Santa should change from his wholesome image of a warm, bearded man who delivers presents and eats cookies and milk to a politically correct modernization that has all sorts of social justice nonsense attached to xer.
The anger begins to spread that someone is trying to take something so good away from our culture and the fight begins. The anger from one group causes another group to get angry because they feel like the other group is displaying hatred toward them and battle lines are drawn. If it gets big enough, sides are taken by media figures, politicians, activist groups, and more.
All the while, the source that started the fight is getting clicks galore. All of them based off a lie.
Hardly anyone is advocating that Santa be modernized to fit an LGBT agenda. Let’s say even a hundred or even a thousand are, and they’ve taken to the internet to make it clear that Santa needs to be gender-neutral…
So what? There are billions of people on this planet and one thousand people is a fraction of a fraction. So is 10,000 and 100,000. I don’t think it’s nearly that large and the real number sits somewhere in the four-digit mark, but you get the point. There’s no “movement.”
The only movement being seen is the number of people clicking on an article — if they click at all — and trying to find out more about this trend. In terms of strategy, it’s one that works and has started a serious social conflict in the past. Using nebulous terms to paint a picture of a large of people advocating for something has sparked and triggered actual movements, but all you really have to do is dig just a bit deeper.
There’s no great and powerful Oz, just some sad man behind a curtain.