The kind editors at The Good Men Project published my essay on their website just in time for the Christmas countdown. Here’s a teaser: The Elf on the Shelf: Indoctrination into a culture of surveillance, or just another iteration of a longstanding–and sometimes unsettling–morality play that’s always been part of Christmas folklore traditons? You read it and be the judge, and then come back and leave a comment below.
Rethinking Your Hatred of the Elf on the Shelf: Christmas Has a Long Tradition of Being a Little Creepy
“Truth be told, I believe kids are in on the joke. Any parent who has woken up having forgotten to move Snickerdoodle the night before can attest to the complicity of their children in explaining away the mistake. Kids want to keep the game alive. They know on some level it’s their parents who are actually watching them, yet they nevertheless delight in the morality play of it all. By externalizing an imaginary critic who assesses their behavior, children are in fact developing a necessary faculty that helps them form judgements about the consequences of their actions.”