Fuming over a modern, nonsmoking Santa
Depending on your point of view, the latest version of Twas the Night Before Christmas is either an abomination, an appropriate update or a risky entrepreneurial attempt to make a buck.
In self-publishing the book, Pamela McColl of Canada excised references to Santa smoking a pipe and added a letter from Santa in which jolly St. Nick also specifies that he wears fake fur out of respect for the animals. McColl said in an interview she understands firsthand the problems that smoking causes.
She said she mortgaged her home and spent $200,000 to print the book.
Whether this was a smart move is uncertain – she’s promoting it now, less than two weeks before Christmas, but it won’t be released until September, when any buzz she creates now will be lost. But one point on her side is that she doesn’t have to pay for the rights because the 1823 poem is in the public domain.
Critics have a point that, as the American Library Association said, she is altering a classic work of literature. But calling it censorship goes too far.
Lighten up. It’s Christmas.