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How would Malcolm Gladwell of “The Tipping Point” explain Christmas?

November 18, 2009

In the December 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, satirist Craig Brown does a Malcolm Gladwellesque analysis of Baby Jesus, Santa and Presents. For example:

He is grotesquely overweight. He is childless. He lives in the chilly and undesirable North Pole. He insists on dressing in a bright-red jumpsuit with fur trimmings. He can only ever find employment on one day a year, and, even then, it is night work.

On every accepted level, Santa Claus is a total loser.

Yet this is a man who heads up a brand that commands 98 percent global recognition. Furthermore, he is universally adored.

How does he do it?

In a controlled research investigation involving uninterrupted surveillance videotaping, a sustained loop of twinkly music, and state-of-the-art ­merriness-determination equip­ment, a Dutch santologist named Hans Bunquum discovered the secret to Claus’s phenomenal success.

“The conclusion is both remarkable and inescapable but also—most importantly—counter-intuitive,” Dr. Bunquum told me over a glass of organic lemonade in his stunn­ing waterstulp, or waterside studio, near Rotterdam. “To become the object of universal love, one must first live with a red-nosed rein­deer, and then gain a premier position as the sole registered employer of elves in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s as simple as that.”

Speaking of Santa, what’s going to happen to the North Pole if nothing but talk happens at Copenhagen?

Participate in the solution: learn about Hopenhagen, sign a petition, make a video, change carbon emitting behaviors, join us on the next ride, Santa Ride, Dec. 4. Meet in Ventura at the corner of Telegraph and Day Road at 5pm or join us at 5:30pm at the Artists Union Gallery where California Street meets the sea. We’ll ride from there by 6pm and visit galleries and art studios ending with a wild party!

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