Ho Ho Ho?
December 1, 2005 6:46 AM   Subscribe

Personally, I think the mall probably isn't the most appropriate place for that display, but based on what I saw of it on CNN this morning, I think it's great work and should be on display somewhere.
posted by empath at 6:48 AM on December 1, 2005

Heh. Good stuff.
posted by ColdChef at 6:50 AM on December 1, 2005

FYI, the full quote is:

""It's like putting Christmas lights up on your FEMA trailer. It just makes you feel better"

I think the second part makes a big difference to the tone.
posted by anastasiav at 6:50 AM on December 1, 2005

I agree.... the complete quote is much nicer. It feels, well, Christmasy. With just the first sentence, it sounds more snarky than anything.

The mall should have stuck to its guns a little.... I bet they'd have gotten a lot more traffic keeping it, especially if the word got out about it.

Of course, if the guy hadn't been forced to dismantle it, it probably wouldn't have made the Web Wide News, either.
posted by Malor at 7:00 AM on December 1, 2005

ColdChef: "Even Santa Claus, in between sittings with wishful children, complained that some people had no respect for Christmas or free speech."

Santa himself supports free speech! This is front page news!
posted by Plutor at 7:01 AM on December 1, 2005

Santa's got a fucking nerve given his shilling in the cause of commercialisation of Christmas.
posted by biffa at 7:04 AM on December 1, 2005

Sorry about the pull quote. I was going for economy, not snark.
posted by empath at 7:08 AM on December 1, 2005

What would have made it really neat is if he had put in little pools of flood water with little floating dead bodies.
posted by Justin Case at 7:24 AM on December 1, 2005

You're doing a heckuva job, Blitzen.
posted by tpl1212 at 7:31 AM on December 1, 2005

I liked sploid's take on the story, with their breathless, tabloidesque writing style.

Plus they've toned down their hideous redesign, so it's not so unbearable.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 AM on December 1, 2005

"Then one soggy Friday eve
Dubya came to say
Brownie with your FEMA mob
You're doing one heck of a job."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:50 AM on December 1, 2005

Oh, my God, this made me homesick.
posted by suckerpunch at 8:15 AM on December 1, 2005

biffa: Santa's got a fucking nerve given his shilling in the cause of commercialization of Christmas.

Santa is the quintessential example of the kind of myth and culture free speech and free capitalism create. I'm a bit ambivalent to him, of course. He's an inclusive symbol of goodwill and generosity in a "not-just-for-christians" sort of way, but obviously a commercial being. Hell, coca-cola practically invented his current incarnation. Still, if anyone should be able to speak on the ethics and decorum of holiday mall decorations, its Santa. [/derail]
posted by es_de_bah at 8:23 AM on December 1, 2005

"Although most people did enjoy the decorations, a few customers found the display to be in poor taste,"

I'm so glad that Christmas taste is finally up for scrutiny. I mean gaudy dosen't even begin to discribe most Christmas decorations.
posted by elderling at 8:38 AM on December 1, 2005

Elderling: Agree or disagree, I do hope you realize that there is a difference between the phrases "poor taste" and "bad taste".
posted by Bugbread at 8:50 AM on December 1, 2005

Are there more photos around? That looks great.
posted by cmonkey at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2005

Here's the display.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:04 AM on December 1, 2005

Bugbread: Not according to my dictionary.

Speaking of dictionaries, wtf is "dosen't?" :)
posted by elderling at 9:05 AM on December 1, 2005

Ok, sorry. I should have said "'poor taste / in poor taste / in bad taste' are different than 'bad taste' without the 'in'".
posted by Bugbread at 9:25 AM on December 1, 2005

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of outrage over this--I wonder what would've happened had he replicated what the subway station at the World Trade Center looked like on 9/12/01.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2005

Yup, move it to an art gallery.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:36 AM on December 1, 2005

Ok, so having looked at the photos, the thing that strikes me really is that the display is full of people -- people driving bulldozers and filling dumptrucks, people standing outside houses with blue tarps on the roof, with their dogs. People with shovels. People cleaning up. People getting on with their lives.

If that's not the holiday spirit ... we survived this, but we're moving on ... I don't know what is.
posted by anastasiav at 9:42 AM on December 1, 2005

Of course a mall would want rid of something controversial like this. They're all about bland.

I like it. It seems honest.
posted by raedyn at 9:43 AM on December 1, 2005

Coca Cola did not invent the modern incarnation of Santa Claus.

I like this. I wonder if we'll get to see more photos some time?
posted by Drexen at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2005

Uh.. I guess fandango_matt answered my question.
posted by Drexen at 9:55 AM on December 1, 2005

Bugbread: I don't understand, please explain further.
posted by elderling at 10:06 AM on December 1, 2005

They got rid of it for the same reason some retailers are substituting the word 'holiday' for 'Christmas'. Simple marketing issue, offend the least possible number of people.

Interestingly the CNN article refers to it as a 'holiday display' rather than a 'Christmas display' but can't bring themselves to say 'holiday trees'. Instead, it's 'gleaming display of traditional Christmas trees', perhaps made permissable by the 'traditional' angle? Meanwhile a slow-on-the-uptake visitor fails to use the preferred 'holiday lights', instead back-sliding to the old term 'Christmas lights'.
posted by scheptech at 10:15 AM on December 1, 2005

In my experience (and maybe I'm just wrong), "bad taste", by itself, means pretty much the same as tackiness/aesthetic lack of appeal. Like the stuff you linked to. Gaudy, ugly, cheap. Plastic dogs dressed as angels, horribly colored "World's Best Mom" t-shirts, etc. "Poor taste" (or "in bad taste") means offensive/crude (jokes about dead babies, marketing ash from the WTC with the slogan "contains real bone splinters!", etc).
posted by Bugbread at 10:19 AM on December 1, 2005

Why is it that we must always bow and cater to the most easily offended?
posted by wsg at 10:32 AM on December 1, 2005

Humor is an essential component of healing.

The managers of that mall are behaving badly.
posted by loquacious at 10:38 AM on December 1, 2005

mr_crash_davis, please tell me you wrote the rest of this? There are great possibilities.....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:57 AM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Because they make the biggest fuss, and businesses/governments tend to like to avoid fuss.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:30 AM on December 1, 2005

My last post may come off as harsh. In all fairness, some people there have suffered inconceivable losses and are justifiably very sensitive.
posted by wsg at 11:38 AM on December 1, 2005

What I said on MeCha when this was posted before it was taken down was: Anyone living in New Orleans today probably must have a wicked sense of humor, just to get through the day.

Unfortunately that actually doesn't describe everyone.

I'm with empath -- I wonder if someone else will offer to host it for the three weeks, yet, until Christmas. That would restore my faith in humanity.
posted by dhartung at 2:04 PM on December 1, 2005

Drexen, I was overgeneralizing. Santa was in development before Coca-Cola started using him. But your article admits that Coke set the standard for the look and feel of Santa. ANd it's important that, from the multitude of varied Santas, the one we find most recognizable is the product of Coke's marketing decisions. That's what I consider his "current incarnation."
posted by es_de_bah at 2:23 PM on December 1, 2005

(back on topic) thanks for the extra pics fandago_matt.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:27 PM on December 1, 2005

Isn't it great how a few loudmouth whiners can be killjoys for the entire population?

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Christmas shoppers enjoyed the display and found that it brightened the day.

But a handful of tightasses complain about it and, zoop!, it disappears.

Can't offend the tightasses. Nosirree!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:23 PM on December 2, 2005

It's back up. Turns out the mall received hundreds of emails in support of the display and only 10 complaints.

Jessamyn encouraged me to post the comments from a deleted thread to this one, so here they are:

Moderation abounds: the display is returned, the orange X's have been removed from the little doors, and the Seattle PI is opting for the phrase 'Christmas display' rather than 'holiday display'.
posted by scheptech at 12:58 PM CST on December 3 [!]

Turns out the mall received hundreds of emails in support of the display

damn sockpuppets!
posted by matteo at 1:05 PM CST on December 3 [!]

See what needs to happen now is 500 people complain, the mall takes it down, 501 then write to approve, it goes back up... wash and repeat...
The orange cross where a bit tacky for a shopping mall environment, although they add to the artistic integrity of the piece as a whole. imo

I wonder if the artist gets paid to put it up again, hope so, can't be a simple task.
posted by edgeways at 1:08 PM CST on December 3 [!]

Thriffiley confirmed the mall is allowing Evans to put up the display, and it will include a bulletin board with comments from both sides, so people can judge the arguments for themselves.

This move is heartening. A wise choice. Rather than decide that the delicate sensibilities of the public must be protected by whisking away the display, they've devised a way to present the display while including disparate viewpoints on it, and encouraging a continuing discussion. Here's hoping Americans can manage this in other public fora. There will be more discussion and thought created by presenting the display with comments pro and con than by removing it or changing its theme to something innocuous.
posted by Miko at 1:11 PM CST on December 3 [!]

What a shrewd marketing move... Create a little controversy, watch the sheep mosey through the door.
posted by mischief at 1:16 PM CST on December 3 [!]

I am glad the display is going back up, but have no "warm and fuzzy" feelings about the mall management. It was taken down because of complaints, and put back up because of complaints. imo There was zero social responsibility or concern. Just business responding willy nilly. Which may be how they should act in that environment (this is not a thread on that topic). The nature of the public interaction make shopping malls an awful place to display art that may cause some level of controversy.
posted by edgeways at 1:26 PM CST on December 3 [!]

Common Sense: 1
Drudge: 0
posted by cell divide at 1:33 PM CST on December 3 [!]

The N.O. Times-Picayune article features this lovely bit:

Even the administration of Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, himself parodied in the display, offered to let Evans move the display to the lobby of the Gretna courthouse, the artist said.
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:59 PM CST on December 3 [!]

Uh, I should point out that Broussard is parodied in the display for reasons having to do with regional politics, not for the heart-rending video I linked to. That would be insane.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:21 PM CST on December 3 [!]

I'm going to Lakeside Mall this weekend with my camera.

Thanks wsg for posting this.
posted by djeo at 3:23 PM CST on December 3 [!]
posted by wsg at 3:45 PM on December 3, 2005

Ah. My faith in humanity is restored.

I hope the wanker complainers are suitably chastised.
posted by dhartung at 1:12 AM on December 4, 2005

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