A Chicago dad’s letter to Krampus

This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 4-year-old daughter Viva, who loves a good Austro-Bavarian Alpine folk demon.

Dear Krampus,

This is the time of year when most American children are enjoying one of our most beloved traditions: writing to your boss and opposite number, Santa Claus. They are asking him to bring piles of merchandise to our homes to put in a pile with more merchandise for them to tear open and stand atop like consumerist berzerker raiders jacked on the mead of eggnog and holiday cheer.

I am choosing to write to you instead – you, the pre-Christian Alpine bogeyman who according to lore spends Christmas Eve punishing those who have misbehaved. It’s been a year marked by joyous occasions, sure, but much viciousness and rascality, as well, and I think there are some naughty folks who belong stuffed in your sack or whipped with switches. This, my dear devil, is my grown-up Krampus list.

Our neighborhood mugger

I live in Edgewater, a wonderful neighborhood full of friendly restaurants, shops, festivals and activities. It is, however, frequently marred by violence. This week, someone mugged a woman in broad daylight near the Granville Red Line. Now, Krampus, not only was the woman robbed and frightened, but my wife won’t let me get Italian beef in the middle of the night, and she’s afraid when I bring our daughter to the park. That mugger, and the many, many other Chicagoans who give our city its bad rap across the world, must surely be on your radar for some retribution. We need a safer city, and I need unfettered access to sandwiches piled with Giardiniera at all hours.

My daughter’s first bully

It was bound to happen eventually, but who thought it would happen so soon? Someone in one of Viva’s classes was determined to tell her she was “not a princess” because she “doesn’t wear enough dresses.” It’s a very weird (and anti-monarchist but also anti-feminist) message, but one that caused my preschooler to fret and gave her a reluctance to go to class. We were hoping to shield her from the cruel world a little longer, so if you could please stomp around this little girl’s house and shake her up a little, we’d appreciate it. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of bullies to punish this year … so snatch up Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, too, while you’re at it.

The film reviewer for the Chicago Reader

I’ve talked a lot about Star Wars on this blog. I like it a lot, mostly because it’s a joyful pop common denominator between myself, my kid and lot of other parents and their kids. Is it a marketing monster? Sure. Is it high art? No. (Though Slate’s argument that it is a post-modern masterpiece is compelling.) It’s a set of solid adventure flicks (minus the shaky prequels) that make people very happy. I believe I can have Star Wars while also enjoying high art, and I can have entertainment while also worrying about climate change. Someone disagrees with me, though: J.R. Jones at that Ghost-of-Alt-Papers-Past the Chicago Reader. He calls the new Star Wars an “exercise in massaging juvenile-minded audiences” in a review harkening back to an essay he wrote that also got the name of the female star of the film wrong. (It’s fixed now.)

Funny, that several years ago he gave a positive review to the very weak entry into the franchise, Revenge of the Sith. Hmm, is someone being disingenuous to troll a huge fan base for clicks?

You’ll never hear me say anything good about critics, who fancy themselves to exist somewhere between journalists and scholars, but actually exist somewhere between barnacles and tumors. The Chicago breed of critics, most of whom seem to be named “Jones,” are as malignant as any. Pity that this guy is one out of four of the forty-eight “Cream of the Crop” critics on RottenTomatoes.com. Methinks they need to be more rigorous with their rubric for “Top Critics.”

Those who won’t live and let live

This is a big group, unfortunately, who caused a lot of pain this year. From Kim Davis the redneck anti-gay clerk, to pandering hate-monger Donald Trump, to refugee-fearing governors like Bruce Rauner and Scott Walker, to global murdering thugs ISIS, to our countries’ many mass-shooters of all races and creeds, trying to force your own beliefs down other people’s throats was HUGE in 2015. I’m told you often grab naughty people to “drown, eat or cart off to hell.” Most of these folks would upset your digestion, no doubt, but feel free to cart them anywhere away from here.

Us

While you’re doling out penance, I think my wife and I deserve some for some of our Christmas decorations – namely, our “Starbucks Tree.” Several years ago we started buying one another Starbucks cup ornaments (because we like the coffee and the ornaments are cute, and because we are mindless brand-loyal bourgeois monsters), and now the tree is pretty much covered in ceramic cups symbolizing overpriced middlebrow java. We probably deserve a little roughing up or carting away (presumably to Naperville) for this assault on values and taste.

OK, Krampus, good luck on your journey. You’ll be busy in Chicago – hope your cloven hooves don’t get too cold.

Merry Krampus,

Matt

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