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Entry 266, on 2005-12-19 at 15:07:36 (Rating 3, News)

Today I heard a rather bizarre news item which was one of those rare incidents which I really didn't know what I think about. It was a report on a band of drunken Santas who went on a rampage through Auckland, stealing alcohol, drinking beer, urinating in the street, and beating each other up. What is so funny about that, you might ask? Its just loutish behaviour by a bunch of drunks taking advantage of the anonymity of a cheap Santa suit.

Well yes, that is true, but I just couldn't help laughing about it, because the image of a bunch of Santas going on a drunken rampage is just so bizarre it has a definite element of humour. When I mentioned it to other people most of them didn't see a lot of humour in the situation. Maybe its just me. It has been said in the past that I have a bizarre sense of humour.

Some people just can't see past the criminal aspect of it. They think that if something is illegal its automatically bad. I disagree with that. Most laws are reasonable, and are a useful guide to good behaviour, but breaking a law shouldn't automatically be a bad thing. Other people say it destroys the wholesome image of Christmas. Well, if it does, its really just a recent consumer-oriented image, and that is one of the reasons the bad Santas do what they do.

The amazing thing is, that bad Santas is a worldwide phenomenon, stretching back about 10 years. Its is known under various names, including Santarchy - a combination of Santas and anarchy. In fact the "movement" was established as a protest against the commercialisation of Christmas, so this is one aspect I certainly identify with. According to the organiser here, there is no ulterior motive in this particular rampage, he said "with us we're just dressing up as Santa and getting drunk. We just like booze." I'm not sure if that's better or worse!

Unfortunately, these things often get out of hand, and it did in this case. Some security guards were hurt by bottles thrown by the Santas (sorry I just can't write that without smiling). But it sounds like the guards provoked the violence by over-reacting to silly but non-violent activities of the Santas.

I've changed my mind about not being able to decide about this, I think that I do approve, as long as violence is avoided. Now I certainly aren't planning on buying a Santa suit and joining them, but I think Santarchy is an amusing and interesting phenomenon, which I would like to see continue.


Comment 1 (156) by L on 2005-12-19 at 17:00:29:

In what I read it said they were protesting against the commercialization of Christmas.


Comment 2 (157) by OJB on 2005-12-19 at 17:01:11:

The Santarchy "movement" generally is supposed to be anti-commericalism, but this particular "event", at least according to the organiser, was just a bit of drunken fun. That is, according to the report in the Herald.


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