Friday Night time Owls: Many years of kids's letters to Operation Santa reveal the violence of US poverty
After 1940, the program enabled nonprofits, private companies, and lay people to “adopt” letters from children living in poverty and fulfill their Christmas wishes. The film Miracle on 34th Street refers to the undertaking, and Johnny Carson made a habit of reading on some of the letters The Tonight show. The program has grown to the point that 13,000 children have been linked to donors, which may double in 2020. This year the letters have been digitized and if you are interested in receiving a letter you can Visit Operation Santa’s website and browse the hopes and desires of thousands of children across the country.
But what these letters show far better than any PSA or statistical model is how violent American poverty really is. They also provide a counterbalance to the way child poverty is portrayed in popular media, where poor children often act as protagonists to demonstrate their generosity, from Tiny Tim in A Christmas story about the insane poverty porn of the holiday pop hit "Christmas Shoes". […]
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TOP COMMENTS • SAVED DIARIES
“Our favorite entertainment this winter was tobogganing. In places the shore of the lake rises abruptly from the water. We drove down these steep slopes along the coast. We'd get on our toboggan, a boy would give us a push, and off we went! We threw ourselves through drifts, jumped into hollows and threw ourselves on the lake. We shot across its shiny surface to the opposite bank. What fun! What exciting madness! For a wild, joyous moment, we snapped the chain that ties us to the earth and tied our hands with the winds we felt divine! "
~~Helen Keller, The story of my life, 1903
TWEET OF THE DAY
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos that day in 2008:
The provocative Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter died on December 24th. Although his work in the theater has received widespread acclaim across 32 plays, his political views drew cruel attacks, including one by British and neo-conservative Christopher Hitchens, who wrote the 2005 Swedish Award "to give someone who made literature for who has given up politics and whose policies are primitive and hysterically anti-American and pro-dictatorial is part of the almost complete deterioration of the Nobel Bat. "
Matt Schudel at the Washington Post writes::
Mr. Pinter's works, drawing on the influence of the existential playwright Samuel Beckett and the modernist poet T.S. Eliot explored topics such as sexual frustration, jealousy, loneliness, and an overarching, albeit indistinct, sense of fear. The social or mental balance of his characters – and therefore society as a whole – has often been undermined by acrid, sardonic humor.
"Words are weapons that characters make each other uncomfortable with or destroy," said Peter Hall, who frequently directed Mr. Pinter's plays. …
… "I could never sit down and say, 'Now I'm writing a piece,'" he said in 1976. "I just have no choice but to wait for the thing inside me to be released me."