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Glenn Beck’s Immortal Santa Claus

The movie business is soon to release several movies showing the tough side of Santa. Sony Pictures is soon to release Winter’s Knight, a take on the Viking tradition of Santa. Other filmmakers are working The Anti-Claus, a film about the dark figure of Krampus of European tradition. But none of the big screen projects under development sounds more ambitious or image-changing for Santa that what resides in the mind of Glenn Beck, who plans to release his tale “Immortal” in 2016.

Beck claims the inspiration for his based-on-nothing-real story for Santa comes from seeing his children obsess over Santa, elves and gifts one Christmas and bemoaning their lack of attention to Jesus Christ. If only he could make those two worlds collide.

Of course, being Glenn Beck, the critics are already shredding him. Salon calls his story horrifying and can only remind you that the story is going to be hard on kids.

In Beck’s story, Santa is alive and well before the birth of Christ and is a father himself. As a hunter and a gatherer Santa suffers a tragedy when his son is devoured by wolves, which leaves him on a wandering path of grief. On this journey of despair he finds work with three wise men and is paid to protect their bounty of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Of course, his path collides with that of the Christ child, who he follows through out life. Here is Beck’s preliminary preview of the project:

Santa thus becomes a disciple and, in a yet-to-be-explained part of the story, endures something magical at the Sermon on the Mount that makes him…Immortal.

On his website, Beck explains: “The premise behind it was how can I take a guy, Santa, and completely reshape him and make him into something even more magical than what we already think. How can I tell the story of Santa and place him into the actual first Christmas story without damaging the actual Christmas story? I can’t do any damage to that. I can’t have kids go yeah, well, that was Santa that was feeding the sheep. I can’t do that. So how do I place this figure there so he is forever pointing to that moment? It wasn’t easy, but this story started to download, and I wrote it over the Christmas vacation. And we have been working on it now ever since, and we have come up with something that I think is game changing. Clement Moore was the guy who did ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and he was the first guy that really changed the look of Santa.”

Beck, of course, is not the first to re-imagine Santa Claus.

But his book and movie empire is called American Dream Labs and it is supposed to tell faith based stories.

We wonderwhy then does Beck not tell the true story of St. Nicholas — and leave the violence and fantasy completely out of the Santa tale?

The real St. Nicholas was an ardent defender of Jesus Christ who once went to jail for slapping a critic who publicly doubted the divinity of Christ. In the jail, as the legend goes, Nicholas gets a visitation from Christ and Mary, and has his priestly robes restored to him. The event shocked the prison guards and elevated Nicholas to legendary status even among his peers. He went on to a life marked by miracles that spread his fame far and wide.

Beck seems instead intent on creating another super hero that dangerously blends doctrine (Sermon on the Mount?) with fictional characters of his own creation.

He is fooling himself if he thinks he can have the impact on Santa’s image that Clement Moore did in the 19th century. Moore wasn’t dealing with nearly two centuries of mangled Santa imaging. Moore was dealing with a fresh figure who was clearly a curiosity to the newly media-aware American public.

Beck is a media mogul in his own right, no doubt. But his approach on Santa Claus is ill advised and we doubt his grandchildren will grasp Santa any better than his children did.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.

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