This year in Washington, Iowa State Rep. Steve King introduced a resolution saying Christmas is important. Really. The measure called for the House to recognize that "on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, a holiday of great significance celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world," etc. It was silly and obnoxious, but it passed by a landslide on Tuesday; either because everyone in Congress fears the wrath of Bill O'Reilly or because, well, duh. But there were a few souls who stood up to Big Santa and his Midwestern minion. Nine out of the 381 members of Congress who voted, voted against Christmas; and, naturally, two of these heathens are from our own godless city: Yvette Clarke, from Brooklyn, and Gary Ackerman, from Queens. We caught up with Ackerman and asked him why he hated Christmas. "We don't get presents," said the congressman, who is Jewish. "Nobody wished me a happy Purim!" But seriously, he said, he voted against the resolution for a couple of reasons. One, he doesn't really think Christianity needs special recognition at the moment. "Forty-four out of 44 presidents isn't a bad record," he said, referring to the fact that every president ever has been Christian, although, in actuality, there have only been 43 of them, but never mind. There's also that whole First Amendment thing. "For the Congress to spend time talking about the coming of the Messiah really broaches the wall of separation of church and state," Ackerman says. So, his Christmas message to Christians who worry for his soul? "Light a candle for me." —Drew Armstrong
Perhaps you were in the East Village this weekend and bumped into a person in a red suit? "You betrrrr wash owt," he breathed, the alcohol mingling with the stench of his long, straggly beard. Yes, that was a Santa, and yes, he was drunk. In fact, he'd been that way since 10 a.m. It was the annual Santa Con Pub Crawl, and Father Christmases from near and far had landed on St. Marks: There was a "Rasta Santa" with a red and white dreadlock hat, a "Slutty Santa" (okay, dozens of Slutty Santas — Alpha Pi Alpha class of 2007 really got around), a "Pimpin' Santa," and scores of inebriated elves, who lined the street smoking and stumbling from bar to bar. We even witnessed one or two Santa fistfights, which must have really confused any children nearby who somehow managed to get past the Slutty Santas. We tried to talk to a Santa or two, but apparently St. Nick "doesn't talk to the press." Oh, well, after all these years, it's nice to at least see that Santa still knows how to have fun. Before noon. In public. —Lauren Salazar
Like anyone else, we always assumed city bureaucrats were dull, passionless paper shufflers. But today the Times proves us wrong by introducing us to one Phil V. Donahue, the director of personnel at the city's Board of Elections and our new favorite person. As you can see, Phil looks like Santa, if Santa joined ZZ Top. He also, the Times tells us, rides his Harley-Davidson lowrider from the Bronx to his office in the morning, belongs to that group of bikers who show up at the funerals of American soldiers, and, most importantly, recently filed a request with his board suggesting that he be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq to help soldiers with their absentee ballots because, he says, "They’re risking their lives for our rights and freedoms and a lot of them aren’t even getting the right to vote, and they’re more affected by the election than anyone." Aw! He wants to go on his Harley, too. But wait — Phil gets even awesomer. Like many New Yorkers, he has a whole other career: "My evil twin is an actor," he told us when we called him up to ask him if he was the selfsame Phil V. Donahue IMDb told us was in an upcoming independent movie, Street Revenge, in which a local street gang finds a briefcase full of money that they later find out belongs to one of New York's biggest crime families. "I play a dirtbag biker named Luke," he tells Intel. "My dirtbag biker partner and I are hired to hold a hostage. She is the daughter of the owner of a waste-management company who will not pay his share to the Godfather. Much bloodshed and destruction come about." Phil has also been in several commercials, he says, and has been known, during the holidays, to appear at parties as a "Mean Santa." We can't think of anyone better equipped to go over to the Middle East and tell those insurgents who's boss. Go, Phil!
Election Official Wants to Help Troops at War Vote [NYT]
So there's this guy at your company Christmas party who keeps putting his hand up your skirt and breathing scotch in your face, but he's not Christopher Hitchens. WTF? Today's Wall Street Journal is on it, tracking the emotionally bankrupt phenom of the Bad Santa:
In 2002, Ms. Donahue began offering a Bad Santa for singing telegrams and party visits. ...Her Bad Santa, whose services start at $110 for 15 minutes, sings Christmas carols with unprintable lyrics, breaks down in tears or perhaps throws gifts across the room.
Because it's The Wall Street Journal, there's a whole "wintersolsticblahblahblahiconimageblahblah" section on the history of Santa the intern probably worked on all week, establishing that men getting drunk and feeling people up at Christmas parties may well be an homage to the Pennsylvania Dutch character of "Pelz Nicholas," rather than, you know, men pretty much using any opportunity to get drunk and feel women up. There's even the inevitable party pooper:
The Santa her company had hired sat on guests' laps, flipped candy across tables and made lewd comments to some of the women. "He was a little obnoxious," said Ms. Requiro, a company director. "I didn't really even want to be near him, because it was uncomfortable. I didn't eat my candy."
You didn't like your candy? You probably cried when he put you on his lap, too.
You Better Watch Out [WSJ]