Tag Archives: santa

A ’54 Convertible Too, Light Blue

1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster, Pennant Blue

A few years ago I wrote a short post about one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Santa Baby" originally recorded by Eartha Kitt in 1953. I introduced that post with a screenshot of a conversation on twitter where it is revealed that there are a number of people out there who thought the Kitt’s song was using the name Santa as a codename for another person who happened to be her sugar daddy, rather than the most straightforward interpretation, Santa WAS her sugar daddy.

That conversation included a mention of a bad cover by Michael Buble, but that part didn’t register. Buble is someone whose work I just do not care for at all, so I apparently glossed over that bit.

So I was surprised earlier this week to come across a video of a guy singing an "aggressively gay cover of Santa Baby" which the singer said he’d decided to compose because of Buble’s "aggressively straight cover" of the same song.

Which is when it finally clicked with me: wait? Straight male singer Michael Buble recorded a cover of Santa Baby? Why would a straight male singer cover that song? I mean, that really is a bit WTF, you know?

And then description that it’s "aggressively straight." Did he change it so that he was singing to Mrs Claus? Asking Mrs Claus to give him all the outrageously expensive and extravagant gifts in the original?

I had to know. But I also refuse to listen to him sing. Fortunately one is able to find lyrics online. He doesn’t sing to MRs Claus. No, it’s to Santa, buddy. And oooooooh, boy! The people who slammed this as being an awful cover were being generous.

Several of the lyric changes just make no sense. For example, Kitt’s original included a line asking Santa to trim her tree with gifts bought at Tiffany’s. Tiffany’s is a famous jeweler. And they do sell ornaments. Very expensive ornaments made out materials like sterling silver or crystal, and sometimes decorated with gemstones. I always thought that Kitt’s lyric didn’t necessarily mean for Santa to buy her Tiffany ornaments, but rather to buy her enough Tiffany jeweled necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and so on to completely cover a tree.

Anyway, Buble changes that specific line from "with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s" to "with some decorations bought at Mercedes." Which I assume means Mercedes Benz, the car manufacturer. Mercedes Benz does license some companies to make ornaments based on some of their classic cars and their hood ornament… but the vast majority of these cost at most one-tenth as much as Tiffany’s ornaments. And unlike Tiffany’s jewelry, which could in theory be hung on a tree as if it were an ornament, a real car doesn’t work that way.

There are other problems with Buble’s cover, but I’ll only mention one more because it let’s be segue into talking about the original song. Whereas Kitt asked Santa for a "’54 convertible… light blue" Buble asks for a "’65 convertible… steel blue." Because light blue is apparently too girly for him?

Also, it is worth noted that Kitt recorded the song originally in 1953, so when she asked for a 1954 convertible, she meant the brand new, latest model. Not a classic.

Speaking of that convertible… for years I always assumed that Kitt was specifically asking Santa for a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster {pictured above}. One of the factory colors the ’54 model was available in was Pennant Blue. And it is a sweet looking car, right?

After I went down the rabbit hole of the aggressively straight (and bad) cover of the song, I decided I needed to listen to the original a few times to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Pulling that up in my digital library reminded me that Kitt recorded a sequel the very next year. In the sequel she describes out Santa got her everything she asked for last year–but now a lot of the presents have developed problems so she’s asking for upgrades.

In the sequel, she refers to the previous year’s car as a Cadillac, specifically. That would mean she got a 1954 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, likely in Viking Blue Metallic (the other available colors, Newport Blue and Cobalt Blue Metallic are not what most people would call "light blue"). Which is still a nice car {pictured below}, though I don’t think it looks as cool as the Corvette.

Anyway, enough talk about the song. Let’s listen to the original, eh?

Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby (1953) – original TV broadcast performance on Christmas Eve Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby (1953)

1954 Cadillac Eldorado in Viking Blue Metallic.

’Zat you, Santa Claus?

What's wrong with a black Santa?
What’s wrong with a black Santa?
Once again, some butt-hurt white guys are calling for a boycott and otherwise losing their minds because someone has hired an African-American man to play Santa at a mall. I could re-iterate the fact that the historical Saint Nicholas wasn’t a white guy. Or I could go on a rant about people who claim that queers, women, and people of color are the ones who are too sensitive being the ones getting up in arms, but I’d rather talk about Santa.

The real Santa.

I’ve made an extensive study of the topic. Part of this is because for more than 20 years I’ve been writing at least one new Ghost Story to read at our Holiday party. And I’m the sort of obsessive writer who has to run down every rabbit hole of information even slightly related to any project I’m working on. So if you want to get an earful of information on St. Nicholas, various countries’ folklore surrounding Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, Ded Moroz/Grandfather Frost, Pere Noel, La Befana, Tomte, the Hogfather, or all 13 of the Jolasveinar, I’m your guy.

And then there are the companions or anti-Clauses: Krampus, La Pere Fouettard, and Black Peter. And allied mythical creatures such as Julesvenn, Julenisse, and Santa’s elves.

But all of those things are simply the means by which people have sought to encode into folklore the truth about Santa Claus. Fortunately, a version of the truth is being shared around and turned up on my Tumblr feed this week, so rather than paraphrase that, I’m just going to quote Charity Hutchinson:

In our family, we have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit.

When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready.

I take them out “for coffee” at the local wherever. We get a booth, order our drinks, and the following pronouncement is made:

“You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [ Point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.

You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE. Tell me the best things about Santa. What does Santa get for all of his trouble? [lead the kid from “cookies” to the good feeling of having done something for someone else]. Well, now YOU are ready to do your first job as a Santa!”

Make sure you maintain the proper conspiratorial tone.

We then have the child choose someone they know–a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it–and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.

My oldest chose the “witch lady” on the corner. She really was horrible–had a fence around the house and would never let the kids go in and get a stray ball or Frisbee. She’d yell at them to play quieter, etc–a real pill. He noticed when we drove to school that she came out every morning to get her paper in bare feet, so he decided she needed slippers. So then he had to go spy and decide how big her feet were. He hid in the bushes one Saturday, and decided she was a medium. We went to Kmart and bought warm slippers. He wrapped them up, and tagged it “merry Christmas from Santa.” After dinner one evening, he slipped down to her house, and slid the package under her driveway gate. The next morning, we watched her waddle out to get the paper, pick up the present, and go inside. My son was all excited, and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The next morning, as we drove off, there she was, out getting her paper–wearing the slippers. He was ecstatic. I had to remind him that NO ONE could ever know what he did, or he wouldn’t be a Santa.

Over the years, he chose a good number of targets, always coming up with a unique present just for them. One year, he polished up his bike, put a new seat on it, and gave it to one of our friend’s daughters. These people were and are very poor. We did ask the dad if it was ok. The look on her face, when she saw the bike on the patio with a big bow on it, was almost as good as the look on my son’s face.

When it came time for Son #2 to join the ranks, my oldest came along, and helped with the induction speech. They are both excellent gifters, by the way, and never felt that they had been lied to–because they were let in on the Secret of Being a Santa.

So, yeah, Santa is sometimes black, sometimes asian, sometimes young, sometimes old, sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, sometimes genderfluid. Santa is sometimes pagan, sometimes Buddhist, sometimes atheist, sometimes Jewish. When I’m fulfilling the duties of Santa, then you better believe that Santa Claus is as queer as a clutchpurse full of canaries.

Some people think that nothing can exist that is not comprehensible to their little minds (to quote the late Francis Pharcellus Church in his famous New York Sun editorial responding to a question from a little girl named Virginia). They think admitting those things exist somehow takes something away from them. That somehow kindness shown to some people must always cost someone else. And that’s just wrong. Any heart where love, generosity, and kindness abounds is the heart of Santa. And when you share kindness, you don’t lose it, you gain more.

And that’s the only thing that matters.
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The true face of who?

The true face of Santa Claus.
Face reconstructed from the saint’s skull, and five traditional icons (click to embiggen).
So, a Fox News person (Megyn Kelly) made the incredible claim, on a 10pm news show last week, that Santa Claus was white, and that African American children may feel uncomfortable with a white Santa, but the real Santa was white, because he was a Saint in Greece, just like Jesus was also a white man, and so people who write editorials about having Santa portrayed as a person of color need to just suck it up, because you can’t go changing historical facts because they make you uncomfortable.

If you go watch the video, you will see that I’ve actually made her argument slightly more coherently than she did.

Anyway, there are so, so many problems with that, and John Stewart on the Daily Show hit most of them in a far more funny and succinct way that I could. But there are some points John didn’t get to… Continue reading The true face of who?