How (and What) Does Santa Know?

Pierce Winslow

I just whipped out the parents’ ultimate Christmastime argument for good behavior.

“Santa is watching. If you don’t want a lump of coal in your stocking, you’d better go to sleep.”

Being an off-the-hook intelligent six-year-old (who miraculously still believes), she asked “how does he know?”

I used the tried and tested “magic” answer.

Her response was “no, really, how does he know?”

I gave her an off the cuff answer that was truly plausible, although probably not appropriate, but true to the Discord credo (of not being at all well):

“Well, honey, about ten years ago President Bush approved the Patriot Act which allows him to tie into the phone and cell phone networks, internet, and CIA satellite surveillance systems to spy on private citizens. So Santa knows everything.”

She got a look of shock on her face and rolled over and went to sleep. So I got to thinking, as owls often do, why don’t I have a look of shock on my face while I roll over and go to sleep?

It’s amazing the girl still believes in Santa amidst such a cynical time (she reads Zano, after all). My brother clued me in to the whole Santa thing when I was three. With that revelation, I put the whole Tooth Fairy thing to the test by putting my newly fallen tooth under my pillow without telling anyone. I awoke the next morning, with a bit of a knot in my stomach, and checked for my reward, knowing it wouldn’t be there, but with a bit of hope. The truth was revealed. That did it for the Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny, and Jesus Christ.

So what does all of this say about our society? Not so much my “discovery”, but the possibility of what the government may discover about us? On the way to work the other day I heard a story on the radio about some woman who was busted for going into a Wal*Mart store, gathering the ingredients for crystal meth, and actually brewing it right there in the store. At that moment I wondered, how is that done? How could you even try that? I wanted to Google that shit to find out, but I didn’t, because I knew that big-brother was watching. I am by nature a very intelligent and curious guy (Zano’s characterization of me as a Bond villain is not far off). I have also wanted to look up bomb making, router spoofing, naked female midget wrestling, and any number of other big-brother-noteworthy info nuggets, but haven’t because of their very big-brother-noteworthiness. Isn’t this supposed to be the land of the free? Or the free basing? Why do I feel like I can’t use the greatest informational tool in history to access the sum of all mankind’s knowledge openly? I’m not planning to open a Wal*Mart crack department; I just want to know how this woman could possibly have pulled this off.

Obama, who in my opinion is an adequate president (the stimulus wasn’t a bad idea in principle, but a lot of the shit he stimulated was ludicrous), promised to dismiss the Patriot Act. Instead of ending the Patriot Act, he started using it…competently.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

– John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (Jesus, could you lose some of that name?)

While such powers have resulted in a number of high profile captures and assassinations (Yeah, Bin Laden was assassinated; I don’t have a problem with that, but who are we kidding? Lettuce not smooth-over the reality of what we did illegally), what has this environment done to our society? The shit spewed daily here at The Daily Discord could easily be construed as subversive. In my ‘hood, where nothing ever happens—except for that one dumbass a month that slams into that phone pole, no exaggeration—there always seems to be strange vehicles parked across the street from my house. One of them even looked like this:

There always seems to be strange vehicles parked across the street from my house. One of them even looked like this.

Am I under close surveillance? In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, I am “mostly harmless”. And yet, I feel insecure in an environment intended to make me feel secure. This is a load of shit. And how much of my cell phone, internet, and spy satellite bill are paying for surveillance of me?

I could get more verbose, I’m good at that, but I have pretty much said all I have to say on this topic. There is no need to provoke big brother any more than I already have. I just have one more thing to say:

The red fox is down.

Dogs barking, can’t fly without umbrella.

The chair is against the wall.

Johnny has a long mustache.

Merry Christmas. And for those non-Christian readers who are offended by that, to quote one of my heroes, “Happy Birthday Jesus”, wherever you are.

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Pierce Winslow

Pierce Winslow is the Discord's Brain, Chief Engineer and C.E.O. He co-founded the Discord along with Mick Zano in 2008 and they have both been sorry ever since.