Weekend Plans Post: Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar Pat
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    says:

    So…

    How does it feel to be a cop 😉Report

  2. fillyjonk fillyjonk
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    says:

    “Rebooting the elf,” so they are surveillance devices and not actual little beings?

    I would have found that far creepier when I was a kid than the idea of some kind of rodent-sized humanoid just hanging out in the house.

    (I dunno. My childhood experience with Santa was….different, I guess. The Santa my parents presented WANTED us to be good, but also recognized we weren’t perfect. Not that we shouldn’t TRY but the fact that we failed didn’t necessarily result in coal or even fewer presents.)

    I don’t have any plans for the weekend. This was a pretty awful week, between finding out a friend has cancer, my brother and sister in law having a near-miss COVID exposure (for about a day we thought they had been exposed to someone who is now sick, but the timing was such that they weren’t close to that person after THEY got exposed) and issues at work where it was implied I had Not Been Sufficiently Caring towards a student who was claiming they deserved a higher grade than they actually earned. In normal times I’d go antiquing or something but “normal” is unrecognizable now so I guess I’ll clean house instead?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      Are we not all surveillance devices in addition to being actual little beings?Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I am sadly not that little of a being. And while I may see things, it takes a lot for me to be arsed to report it to authorities these daysReport

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk
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          says:

          Anarchist Elf on the Shelf. “Hey, yeah. Santa and I had a falling out. I’m not going to report to him or nothin’. I just need a place to crash for a month.”

          (Hey! I thought. That’d be pretty cool! So I googled it and while there are a handful of Elf of the Shelf pictures of the elf wearing a Sons of Anarchy vest, there are no pictures of an anarchist elf in my cursory look.)Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      It’s funny you mention this but we had to talk my son down about the elves which of course he learned about from his preschool teacher. I am pretty sure it was discussed in a normal non-threatening way but his takeaway was ‘there are little things in the house watching me…. at night.’ It took us forever to figure out what the hell he meant before we realized it was Santa’s elves/elf on a shelf.

      Anyway my wife hates the ‘elf on the shelf’ thing for the reasons discussed on this thread and by dhex below. I just think it’s sort of dumb and the last thing I need is another chore. We probably wouldn’t do it for those reasons even if it didn’t apparently freak my kid out but the fact that it does means I can rest assured I’ll never need to get one.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m slightly annoyed because Elf on the Shelf is based on a vintage “pixie elf.” My grandma had one, I remember it fondly. She just hung it up on the wall at Christmas, no secrecy, no surveillance, just another fun Christmas thing.

        After she died, some of the stuff she had owned was stolen out of her house before family could divvy it up, including the Christmas decorations. Some years later I found a similar but not identical elf in an antique shop and bought it for old times, and then “Elf on the Shelf” hit, and….well, it feels kind of like the Michael Bolton bit from “Office Space.” I haven’t put my elf out for a few years because of it (despite not having children who might be freaked out)Report

  3. Avatar dhex
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    says:

    elf on the shelf is an xmas superstate primer conspiracy that’s being played out in the open and not enough people are upset about it.

    think about it: what better way to prepare kids for living in the panopticon? and there’s no impetus to stop it on either end, because whether you’re a donk or a publican you need a superstate to do what you think government should.

    (this is no crazier than any other critical theories about children’s toys, and it’s a lot more entertaining)

    the past few years have become an extended hide and seek game with the elf on the shelf – the kid puts it somewhere hilarious (in the freezer, inside my coffee grinder, etc) and we put it other places (on the lego table surrounded by broken buildings, hanging upside down from a bannister, etc). but this is his last year.

    the kid doesn’t know it yet so we’re planning on one of three scenarios for xmas day:

    1) we damien hirst the elf and glue mount him to plywood.

    2) using popsicle sticks and tin foil, create a tiny guillotine surrounded by tiny popsicle stick people, and behead the elf

    3) a series of spoofed text messages to the wife from a kidnapper, including pictures of the elf with duct tape over his mouth, maybe crying…and then we refuse to pay so it ends with some pictures of the woods…the dark, dark woods.

    1 is fine but too obvious a gen xer reference it’s my least fav

    2 does a good job of teaching about the dangers of left and right wing populism but it’s a lot of glue and i try to avoid stores these days

    3 is the most emotionally satisfying and probably the funniest i just gotta figure out how to spoof sms messages to signal

    i had thought about giving him covid and making a lego icu…but that’s a little dark for the holidays.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to dhex
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      says:

      The Panopticon is Real. You can either be aware of it or you can remain unaware of it. The Elf does a good job of explaining the Panopticon to little children. As they grow older, they can go through the same evolution that all of us do on Santa.

      Santa is Real.
      Santa does not exist.
      Santa is a social construct that allows people to give gifts semi-anonymously.
      Santa is real in the same way that any egregore is real.
      You are Santa.

      My favorite story involving Elves on Shelves involved the Elf getting involved with rule enforcement. The little guy failed to put his crayons away after a session of coloring. So Buddy (that was the elf’s name) took the crayons and drew on the counter, writing his name and so on. The child was so upset that he wrote a letter to Santa explaining that *HE* did not draw on the counter, it was *BUDDY* who drew on the counter and asked his parents to mail the letter. They mailed it and the crayons got put away henceforth.

      The Panopticon is Real.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        And even that can be a teaching moment. “Kid, we all agree it was Buddy and not you. But sometimes you have to deal with things that are zero percent your fault but one hundred percent your responsibility. And besides, now we know Buddy’s gonna draw on the counter, so we better make sure he hasn’t got anything to draw with…”Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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          says:

          Yes, indeed. (I really should reach out to him and ask if the crayons still get put away.)Report

          • Avatar dhex in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            much of my pique comes from that we’d specifically said “no elf on the shelf to hell with your statist constructs maaaaan” and my in laws were all “oh hey we’re awful”

            that said i’m leaning towards lego mad max for the elf’s end this xmas eve…the kid’s lego building projects are already fairly ad hoc and max max-ian (e.g. batman has a hulk body, technics arms, and eats pets)Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Santa is a Platonic Ideal.

        at least in the way it was presented to me as a kid: that Santa is this being that loves you, and wants you to do what’s right, but even if you don’t, hey, he loves you, so you still get toys.

        I am quite sure my parents’ faith (a sort of Progressive-Christianity Protestantism) informed how they presented Santa.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to dhex
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      says:

      Yeah, when I first heard about it, it occurred to me that it’s the most American thing I could imagine.Report

        • Avatar dhex in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          it is really american, tho. i think that’s a cultural observation rather than political.

          the elf surveils and tattles.
          the elf “sees all”.
          the elf has a direct connection to the dispenser of stuff.
          if the elf is displeased it threatens the stuff.

          now we never played this game–because it is an awful lesson for kids–and instead played “where can we hide this horrible thing?” that became the game, rather than pretending the elf was some kind of semi-real, semi-mystical holiday cop/demigod.

          (his name is “mr waffles” because i repeatedly put him in the frozen waffles box)Report

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