EDITORIAL: Have faith in fantasy despite real-life woes

 IBJ Staff
December 18, 2010
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IBJ Editorial

Some days, it’s hard to believe in Santa Claus. It’s altogether too easy to be “affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age,” as the New York Sun’s Francis Pharcellus Church wrote in his famous response to an 8-year-old girl’s inquiry about the existence of the Jolly Old Elf. Yes, Virginia, we were a civilization of skeptics even way back in 1897. It seems that’s one area where society hasn’t made much progress.

Perhaps that explains why so much of that century-old newspaper editorial still rings true. The harsh realities of life have relegated such fantasy to the exclusive domain of the young and the naïve—and that is a mistake. If ever there was a time for us to embrace the idea of Santa Claus working in the shadows to make our dreams come true, this is it.

As Church pointed out, the naysayers hold a little too tight to the notion that seeing is believing. And what they see today doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in our collective prospects: double-digit unemployment and rising taxes, failing banks and falling stock prices, corporate corruption and partisan politics, religious wars and tragic deaths.

“They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds,” Church wrote, going on to make the point that all our minds—adults or children—are little. “In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him.”

There’s modern-day proof of those words of wisdom, too. How else can you explain the heated debate over what should be slam-dunk policy issues like banning smoking in public places? Only “little minds” would get worked into frenzies every time it snows (in Indiana, during the winter. C’mon, people). And there’s simply no other rationale for the popularity of so-called entertainment like “Jersey Shore” unless you’ve been drinking spiked eggnog.

But Santa Claus offers a timeout from reality. He is a slap in the face of skepticism. Santa represents good, old-fashioned faith.

Faith. The word itself makes some “little minds” nervous, given the religious connotation, but rest assured that Santa is as ecumenical as they come. Despite his historic ties to a Christian holiday, Santa transcends religion. He’s the incarnation of hope—the promise that somehow everything will be OK. And we need that now more than ever.

So, like Church, we’re believers. We believe in the good that balances out the bad, the beauty that makes the ugliness bearable, the love that makes it all worthwhile.

Our predecessor’s oft-quoted words are as valid today as they were 113 years ago:

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist … ” Church wrote. “Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus.”•


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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?