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For Immediate Release

 

Contact Walter Skold at: sintknicker@aslansoc.org

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ASLaN Launches Anti-Claus Art Contest
On St. Nicholas Day


December 6, AD 2007 -- 198 years to-the-day from when Washington Irving began the transformation of St. Nicholas, the International ASLaN Society launched an art competition that hopes to eventually knock Santa Claus from his cultural throne.

"We are calling on artists who are seriously sarcastic or sick of Santa to step up and join the resistance against this bloated American Idol," said Walter Skold, the founder of the Anti-Santa Love Nicholas Society.

"Here is your chance to be the Thomas Nast of the growing anti-Claus movement," he said, referring to the 19th Century German-American illustrator "whose work helped to convert St. Nicholas from a saint into someone who is now a fat red huckster from Hollywood."

It was almost 200 years ago that Washington Irving created so many of the modern myths associated with the Americanized Santa Claus, when he published Knickerbocker's History of New York, on St. Nicholas Day in 1809.

"Today is not only the Feast Day of the great St. Nicholas, but also the sad literary anniversary of when so many of the lies which under gird the modern Santa Cult were first introduced into the American consciousness," he said.

Submission details and examples of global anti-Claus artwork can be found at the ASLAN's website.

"We are not expecting overnight success” he admitted, “But growing criticism of Santacus Americanus shows that the cultural climate is right for resisting all the hype, schmaltz, and greed that undergirds our annual Santamania.”

On December 7, in a major reversal for the most re-printed essay in American newspaper history, the New York Sun printed an editorial called “A Fraud of a Santa.”

It pointed out that “Santa Claus seems more like a rep for toy companies than much else. And he represents the ultimate in consumption and entitlement.”

“Apologies to Francis Church, but skepticism concerning the cult of Santa Claus wouldn't hurt a bit,” concluded the editorial. “At least not if it helps the examples set by the real St. Nicholas to define the season.”

"Our experience has shown that there are a significant number of Americans who are sick and tired of the ubiquitous red beast from the North," said Skold. "And just as artists have propped up Santa's kingdom from the beginning, we hope that in 100 years artists will have helped to topple him from his teetering throne as well."

ASLaN is a 12-year old group that promotes resistance to Santa Claus, and respect and appreciation for Saint Nicholas, through literature, art, and activism.

Over the last two decades groups in England, the US, Germany, and the Czech Republic have been started that seek to promote St. Nicholas and to protest what the US Santa Claus has come to represent.

Irving's writings have been regarded by literary critics as the "first notable work of imagination in the New World," and since then poets, illustrators, advertisers, and scriptwriters have used art to produce the popular image of Santa.

"From the global examples we have posted on the contest website," said Skold, "It is clear that the creative imagination can also work wonders to restore image of St. Nicholas that has been so distorted and abused in our culture."

"If people think we are painting Santa Claus in a bad light, they are right," he said. "The whole Santa Claus racket has been very naughty and we intend to give Santa some artistic coal for many Christmases to come."



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Eye-Catching Flyer to download (pdf)


Details & Submission Guidelines First Annual Anti-Claus Art & Photo Competition


2008 ASLaN Christmas Essay: "Just Say No to the Ho Ho Ho.


Article on "Santa Inc"


Examples of anti-Santa artwork from Czech Republic


Article: ASLaN's Belschnickle Gives Coal to Maine Santa


St. Nicholas Center