ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Dec 11, 2012

Join us next Tuesday to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

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All right, time to compensate amply for last week! What's on your mind? Also, what's Santa's political affiliation?

Let's roll!

I have proof Santa Clause is a Democrat. He is on the voter registration list as a registered Democrat in Chicago and has been voting regular for over 80 years now.


But didn't he also run for President this year in, I want to say, Hawaii?

It is interesting that as communication becomes more efficient our skills at communicating decrease. Years ago, back when I was young and we had to worry about dinosaurs when walking a mile to school in the snow, people sent out invitations and people would return RSVPs through hard copies of messages that a person called a mail carrier would physically take from you and give back to the person who made the invitation. Now that all one has to do is click something to RSVP, suddenly we can't be bothered. I think more people need to be scared of being eaten by dinosaurs to uphold their social graces.

Dinosaurs for politeness!

Although the more we learn about dinosaurs, the less terrifying I find them. It turns out there's no such thing as a brontosaurus, for instance. It's an apatosaurus with the wrong head.

Maybe we should compromise with Saber-Toothed Tigers for Politeness. Those retain their power to terrify.

If I were to ever meet you in person, is it proper to address you as Ms. Petri, Miss Petri, or should I just address you as Turd Bargleface?

I think Miss Bargleface is an acceptable compromise.

(This refers to this interview, by the way.)

I want to let you know I have a friend who works at a comedy book store in the LA area. Mark Hamill is a frequent customer. She finds it interesting that young people will buy "Star Wars" comics and she will point out that Mark Hamill is standing right behind them, and they don't seem to care. I am glad someone your age has the proper respect for celebrity.

Indirect hi, Mark Hamill!

And it's not just Star Wars that he has to his credit. His Joker laugh continues to haunt my nightmares.

This just bolsters my update to the Warhol theory of universal celebrity, which is that in the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people.

If Sant's a dem or rep: are the elves unionised?

There seems to be some debate on this question. I watched "The Hebrew Hammer" last night, and it implied the eleves were unionized, but it implied a lot of things I'm not entirely on board with, frankly.

So Australia declared Apple maps "life threatening" but google maps had me sailing across the pacific and that was pretty rough.

Really? I found the sailing part to be less onerous than the rowing part.

If invitations are sent online, a virus should be included with each e-vite. If a person does not respond yes/no/maybe then the timebomb virus will be activated and terrorize his/her computer. Nobody wants their computers to malfunction so this should be enough incentive for these rude people :)

This sounds like a great way to go if you're aiming for a lot of prompt "No" responses.

Just travel by map, like the Muppets!

Movin' right along...

Gee, I don't know. He runs a huge entitlement program but on the flip side he outsourced his work to the cheap elf labor pool at the North Pole.

Someone reminded me of the P. J. O'Rourke quote re: Santa

"I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle aged male, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.

Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's nonthreatening. He's always cheerful. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's been nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without the thought of quid pro quo. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus."

Santa is a Libertarian because very few adults acknowledge his existence...

But he's so over-covered in the mainstream media, and the comments on his YouTube videos are not up to the golden standard of Ron Paul commenters.

"I want to let you know I have a friend who works at a comedy book store in the LA area..." What the heck is a comedy book store? And why do they sell Star Wars comics and what was Mark Hammill buying anyway?

I sort of assumed that "comedy book store" was a way of putting "comic book store" that I hadn't heard before, in the sense that saying bemused means bewildered and amused is a definition of bemused I haven't heard before.

Google maps says to "sail" across the pacific. At one time it said "kayak;" before that it suggested "swim."

Before that, at least where rivers were concerned, it suggested "ford," but the rate of oxen loss was too high.

I have an email from "Santa Clause" in my junk mail folder. Do you think it might be an email from the real Santa and my computer sent it to the junk mail? Should I open it? Will you open it for me?

Forward it to people who won't answer your invites.

Legolas carries a union card? Does Gandalf know about this?

Elrond, on the other hand, is known for his open-shop policies.

His lead reindeer has a red nose, for crying out loud!

It's rosacea!


That was my mistake and I apologize. I am dyslexic and I meant to type "comic book store" and I either typed it wrong or auto correct changed it to "comedy book store."

Aha! It's growing on me as a coinage, actually. Then again I am the sort of person who thought for a long time that graphic novels were those things near the checkout with men on horseback whose shirts were constantly being blown open, and that a comic book was something by P. J. O'Rourke. 

Santa is a member of the Whig Party. Either exists.

He strikes me as more of a Jeffersonian Republican, frankly.

According to the Internet their logo first featured a T. Rex, but that was scaring the customers, so they changed it to a brontosaurus.


Although even T. Rex doesn't scare me so much anymore, not since I saw this.

Instead of trying to fit Santa into the Democrat/Republican divide, take a look at possible third parties. Kris might be a Communist based on the suit color alone. Or he might be a Green because of the evergreen color, and because his method of sleigh propulsion doesn't use fossil fuels.

Or he might be a [political philosophy you wish to insult] given that he doesn't exist, even if you believe in him, and his only solution to people's problems is to apply magic to them once a year.

They have to moonlight making shoes for next to nothing.

Oh, true!

At least they aren't dwarves, the District 12-dwellers of the fairy tale realm.

Actually, I've been reading a lot of fairy tales lately, and there was one that referred to the same group of "three little men in a forest" as both elves and dwarves, and I was like, dang, Grimm Brothers, that's -- fableist.

Fortunately, they were relatively benign tiny wood-men, so it wasn't a case of defamation or anything.

According to Barenaked Ladies, that workforce is in desperate need of representation:

I'm glad they have the Barenaked Ladies to speak for them.

Judging by how often he gets the munchies on Christmas Eve, Santa was responsible for marijuana being legalized in Colorado.


EVERY house, Santa? EVERY house?

In the Clement Clarke Moore classic, it does say that "the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth/and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath," so maybe he's even flying under the influence.

Santa is a communist. He wears red, he puts people on lists and checks up on them (he knows if you've been bad or good), and he takes all the goods the elfs produce and re-distributes them for free.

List? Sounds McCarthyite to me.


Dinosaurs may be less threatening once you realize they may have had feathers. Also they were prone to wearing chiffon.

Actually, feathers spook me. Boa constrictor < Feather Boa Constrictor.

Soon we'll discover that "the thing with feathers that perches in the soul" is not, as Dickinson contended, hope, but instead some kind of soul-velociraptor.

So paleontologists are early photo shoppers. They explains why one museum has a dinosaur with Clara Bow's head.


Actually, the real story behind this is just as interesting. All the misplaced heads date back to something called the Bone Wars, in the 19th century, when prominent paleontologists were destroying bones right and left in the effort to be first to name a new dinosaur. NPR did a piece on it. (Also, dibs on this for a play topic!)

I like this idea a lot. It would sell "The Most of SJ Perelman," Woody Allen's three books of essays, joke books, magic tricks, Lenny Bruce records, and Donald Trump books.

Serious question, does anyone still read S. J. Perelman? I know people read humorists from before him and after him, but I was under the impression he'd vanished into a historical pothole and our only contact with him was through Marx brothers movies.

Now I have nothing against Rutherford, but I have a bone to pick with his wife, "Lemonade Lucy", who banned alcohol from the White House. Lucy introduced the Easter egg roll to the White House lawn, so may I suggest the First Lady get taken out James Bond style in the first few minutes by an exploding Easter egg?

Hey, First Lady issues were limited in those days...

who inspires the biggest retail orgy of the year is the democrat and God who may be rather stern at times but also talks a lot about loving your fellow men and taking care of the poor and sick is the republican? Is PJ sure about that?

I don't think P. J.'s God is up on his liberation theology...

Hang on. These elves aren't interchangeable. I have been taught that Elrond and Legolas were ancestors of the modern elves, who have since undergone the Elvish Diaspora and been scattered around the world. This has led to a kind of geographic adaptation and specialization. The shoe-making elves, for example, can't survive in the North Pole conditions to which the toy-making elves have adapted, which is why they make shoes for Europeans. (And forget about the cookie-making elves, who are too incapacitated by elf diabetes.)

Noooooo, the Keeblers!

What about the Elf on the Shelf? Or is he black ops?

That is a great idea. Let's put our life savings into creating a chain of comedy book stores. There are lots of empty store spaces where previous book stores used to be.

Strong concur!

Nothing pains me more in my daily existence, unless I throw my hip out by walking too far in non-walking shoes (standing shoes?) than passing the Nike store where the Barnes and Noble used to be. If that's not a commentary on the supplanting of the mens sana with the corpore kinda sana but definitely wearing snazzy footwear, I don't know what is.

...would need a British wing with PG Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, Monty Python, Terry Pratchett....

Goes without saying! The Wodehouse wing would be half the bookstore.

And don't forget Stella Gibbons, whose Cold Comfort Farm I just finished, laughing out loud for a whole airplane flight!

I do. And do you know how upset I was when the NY Times two years ago referred to George S. Kaufman as a "now-obscure playwright"?

Thank heavens you do!

My one consolation as a devotee of Benchley and the rest of the "now-obscure" Algonquin gang who have slid out of print and only show up in books of Witty Things Algonquin Writers Said At Lunch One Time is that so many of their jokes hold up today, yet so few people read them, that, with minor restructuring, you have an instant joke advantage at cocktail parties.


But I want to write "Garfield Minus 'Garfield Minus Garfield'" just to see if I'd get sucked into a black hole for trying it.

Let me know what happens with your last burst of mangled radiation (probably just a straight Family Circus panel) before you vanish!

You have nothing to worry about when it comes to Facebook privacy. We at Facebook will no disclose your Internet habits. Your frequent Google search for drawings of 19h century literary men wearing dresses will remain our secret.


I say to you tonight, there is not a liberal Santa and a conservative Santa -- there is a united state of Santa.

So Chrismas 2004.

Don't forget to see the movie, which is equally LOL-inducing.

It's so well-structured I can see why it would make a good one! I'll add that to my list!

Would carry the Compleat Dave Barry.

I think a really good Comedy Bookstore would have a special Dave Barry Commemorative Bathroom with all his books lined up on the shelf, in proper display order and True Honor.

This is why I don't get the current habit of calling Democratic state BLUE and Republican states RED, because anyone over 40 knows Communists are Red.

And anyone over 240 knows the only true Reds are those durn Redcoats.

James Thurber (not the American University professor).

Oh, hands down, goes without saying.

Who was liberated by a sock. Was Yoda an elf?

I was never entirely clear on Yoda's exact species.

Here he is in holiday garb, if it helps.

Santa is belongs to the Bull Moose Party as a progressive Republican, something that no longer exists. Ties in with the reindeer.

And if it's true about Rudolph being a communist, that would explain why the other reindeer were calling him names.

If Santa stuck to delivering toys that were hand-crafted by artisans, maybe. But since he delivers industrially-manufactured products, he's far too commercial for Jefferson. Also, he delivers toys to Great Britain and refuses to favor France. At the same time, I don't think he's a Whig, because he does not support protectionism, nor does he need internal improvements or a banking system. Christian Democrat, maybe? Still thinking.

That's true, there is a strong Hamiltonian streak there, given that he is a Titan of Industry. I take it back.

Perhaps, after all, the lesson is that there is enough in Santa Claus to suit him for all of our kickball teams.

There's no wreath of smoke. Everyone knows the big red guy uses his one-hitter while flying. No way does he want to get pulled over by some cocky cop in an F-16.

"And you say you're visiting every household in the United States to deliver this... product? Also, we have an outstanding warrant for your arrest after a hit-and-run incident involving Grandma and a reindeer."

Canadian, right? Being that (magnetic) North Pole is somewhere in that realm? So shouldn't we be wondering if he's part of the Bloc Québécois instead? Or that, alternatively, with his prevalence residing in every mall across the nation, there is some high chance of voter fraud here....

Aw, but where would the fun be in that?

The Mayans

And on that note, have a grand week! Keep reading the Compost and feel free but unobligated to follow me on Twitter!

I love this time of year. Our chorus group loves going from house to house singing our favorite Christmas songs. This year we are singing Stephen Colbert's "Another Christmas Song", Sarah Silverman's "GIve the Jew Girl Toys", "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher" from the play "Billy Elliott", Red Peters' "You Ain't Getting S--t for Christmas", and "I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Clause." We seldom get invited into the homes for hot chocolate, but that is fine. We do it for the love of it.

Oh, that sounds great! Those are classics!

In This Chat
Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week,,, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)
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