Monday, November 22, 2004


"Santa, tinsel and nativity scenes have been outlawed in some Melbourne kindergartens and childcare centres this Christmas. Fairytale parties and non-religious end-of-year celebrations are being pushed instead in a move branded "politically correct clap-trap" by one expert. A government-funded kindergarten association is also circulating guidelines suggesting end-of-year celebrations in place of a religious event.

Some angry parents are fighting back, saying they want a traditional Christmas. Tracey MacKenzie-George, of Taylors Hill, said she was upset to receive a letter from Orama Street Child Care Centre in Deer Park saying it would opt for a fairytale party day instead of a Christmas celebration. Mrs MacKenzie-George said she wanted her son Cooper, 2, to experience his first Christmas. "It's probably the first year Cooper is getting to know what Christmas is about," she said. "What is childhood without Christmas?"

Brimbank Pre-School Association spokeswoman Kellie O'Connell said the intention was not to cancel Christmas. "We're basically trying to be inclusive and respectful," she said. "The majority of parents understood what the centre was trying to do. It is a need we're responding to. Santa is still going to visit."

Many children at Boroondara Kindergarten in Richmond will also celebrate the end of the year rather than Christmas. Co-ordinator Denise Rundle said children would sing songs and exchange presents, but without an explicit Christmas theme. There will be no Santa and no nativity play. "The children who celebrate Christmas see it as Christmas, but we also talk about it being the end-of-the-year celebration," she said.

Free Kindergarten Association Children's Services has advised that other non-Christian festivals be given equal emphasis. But it doesn't support banning Santa in the name of cultural diversity. FKA spokeswoman Melinda Chapman said kindergartens were "encouraged to respect and reflect cultural diversity appropriate to their communities".

Child Care Association chief executive officer Frank Cusmano said any move to ban Santa was "politically correct clap-trap" ... "Taking away Santa is simply taking the issue to a loopy extreme," he said.



Remember that famous line from George Orwell's Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"? Mr. Orwell, here are two more examples to add to your collection:

1. On April 20 last, sports pages around the country featured a picture of the Catherine Ndereba of Kenya with upraised arms, the "winner" of the Boston Marathon. She won not by virtue of being the fastest runner, but because the female runners had started the race 29 minutes before the men. That day the Boston Globe ran an article carrying the headline, "New Rule Engenders Equal Footing." If giving women a half hour head-start is an "equal footing," then would someone please explain inequality to me?

2. Fox News ran an article in late August about American military women in Iraq. This was the lead sentence: "Today, equality of the sexes includes dying in combat." The article highlighted the statistic that 24 female soldiers had died in Iraq. As of that time, one thousand American troops had perished -- 24 female and 976 male. If we do a little math, it turns out that only 2.4% of combat deaths are female. That's equality of the sexes?

In both stories, the reporter massacred the obvious meaning of "equality." But where was the outrage? The fact that no one murmured a word of protest says something about the mental anesthesia that grips our collective awareness.... So when mainstream media outlets such as the Boston Globe and Fox News use the word "equality" to denote its exact opposite -- and nobody seems to mind -- you know that we're in trouble.

Almost sixty years ago George Orwell wrote a prescient essay titled "Politics and the English Language." Deploring the way language was being used to manipulate and deceive, Orwell wrote: "Political designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Who can doubt that the feminist propaganda campaign has now reached Orwellian proportions? Welcome to the world of Fem-Prop.

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