Friday Night Owls: Decades of kids' letters sent to Operation Santa expose violence of U.S. poverty

After 1940, the program permitted philanthropic companies, exclusive companies, and also laypeople to “adopt” the letters of youngsters residing in destitution and also satisfy their Christmas desires. The movie Miracle on 34th Street recommendations the undertaking, and also Johnny Carson made a behavior of reviewing several of the letters on The Tonight Show. The program has actually expanded to the factor where it linked 13,000 kids to contributors, a total amount that might well be increased in 2020. This year, the letters have actually been digitized, and also if you’re interested in embracing a letter, you can most likely to the Operation Santa internet site and also check out the hopes and also wishes of hundreds of kids throughout the nation.

But what these letters show, much much better than any type of PSA or analytical version, is just how terrible American destitution genuinely is. They additionally offer a counterbalance to the means childhood years destitution is illustrated in preferred media, where inadequate youngsters typically act as a means for a lead character to show their kindness, from Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol to the berserk destitution pornography of the vacation pop hit “Christmas Shoes.”  […]


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“Our favorite amusement during that winter was tobogganing. In places the shore of the lake rises abruptly from the water’s edge. Down these steep slopes we used to coast. We would get on our toboggan, a boy would give us a shove, and off we went! Plunging through drifts, leaping hollows, swooping down upon the lake, we would shoot across its gleaming surface to the opposite bank. What joy! What exhilarating madness! For one wild, glad moment we snapped the chain that binds us to earth, and joining hands with the winds we felt ourselves divine!”
            ~~Helen Keller, The Story of My Life, 1903



At Daily Kos on this day in 2008:

The intriguing Nobel laureate Harold Pinter passed away December 24. Although his operate in the movie theater throughout 32 plays was generally commended, his political sights attracted vicious assaults, consisting of one from other Brit and also neo-conservative Christopher Hitchens, that created in 2005 that offering the Swedish honor “to someone who gave up literature for politics decades ago, and whose politics are primitive and hysterically anti-American and pro-dictatorial, is part of the almost complete degradation of the Nobel racket.”

Matt Schudel at The Washington Post composes:

Mr. Pinter’s functions, which birthed the impact of the existential dramatist Samuel Beckett and also the modernist poet T.S. Eliot, checked out such motifs as sex-related stress, envy, solitude and also a bypassing if indistinct feeling of anxiety. The social or psychological equilibrium of his personalities — and also, by expansion, culture in its entirety — was typically damaged by an attacking, acerbic wit.

“Words are weapons that the characters use to discomfort or destroy each other,” Peter Hall, that often routed Mr. Pinter’s plays, when stated. …

… “I’ve never been able to sit down and say, ‘Now I’m going to write a play,’ ” he stated in 1976. “I just have no alternative but to wait for the thing to be released within me.”