AirTalk for December 12, 2012

Santa’s pipe censored by Vancouver author

Pamela McColl's updated version of "Twas The Night"

A self-published Vancouver author has come out with a “p.c.” version of a Christmastime favorite, the classic children’s poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” published in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore. Pamela McColl, removed lines referring to Santa’s pipe from the holiday tale and included a letter from Santa saying that he’d kicked the habit.

McColl’s edition’s cover proudly claims that it has been edited “by Santa Claus for the benefit of children of the 21st century.” McColl’s edit is already getting some backlash from the American Library Association.  Deputy director for intellectual freedom Deborah Caldwell-Stone likened the rewrite to the much maligned censorship of “Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben.

Is McColl’s version of “T'was The Night” in line with 21st century ideals? Does it matter whether or not Santa smokes a pipe? Is there a way to teach children about the dangers of smoking without altering a classic? 

Guests:

Pamela McColl, publisher “Twas the Night Before Christmas, edited by Santa Claus”

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director, American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom


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