I was interested to read an article in The Washington Post about how the Elf on the Shelf is really preparing your kids for life in a police state.
At least that's the view of Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor. The article, I'm sure has provoked much ridicule. Who could possibly think the cherubic, rosy-cheeked Elf who shows up in play rooms about now, could be preparing our kids for life as future Edward Snowdens?
Well me for one. Back in the days of happy familydom (cue coughing fit) we enlisted the help of an elf on the shelf, called Stuey, to ensure the kids behaved in the run-up to Christmas. Every time they stepped out of line, we warned them Stuey would rat them to Santa. The news would hit the production line at 1 North Pole and it would shudder to a halt. Santa's permi-frost smile would become a grimace Bundy would be proud of and and Stuey's intelligence would result in the kids being allocated a bucket load of reindeer poo in their stockings.
Make no mistake; Stuey was hardcore. He had an unnerving habit of showing up in the most disconcerting of places, like showers and above the cooker, a blue flame threatening to ignite his rear quarters. The kids would wail at the very sight of Stuey and what his silent and sinister intelligence could mean. He was even equipped with a pencil and an incident report sheet. We thought the Tazer might be going bit far.
To ensure maximum effect, Stuey's entrance was set to the strains of I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell.
Stuey was all watching and all seeing, like the NSA with metal testicles on the back of its truck, a long time before Pinto started warning of the evils of the Elf.
In a recent article she wrote: "It sounds humorous, but hem in their home, it normalizes the idea of surveillance and in the future restrictions on our privacy may be more easily accepted."
You bet. In fact Stuey was so effective we decided not to retire him at Christmas. He would make sudden and dramatic 'guest appearances' throughout the year at times of maximum misbehavior, his elusive smile a thin veneer behind which hatred simmers. To add maximum effect, we'd tell the kids Stuey had been fired by Santa and had all of the passive aggression of a spurned employee.
I'm sorry to say at some point Zara read my previous blog about Stuey and thus discovered he did not move around on his own but required some parental assistance, all of which undermined his power to intimidate. Oh well - Happy Christmas and all that...