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(Child to an Elf on the Shelf) Snitches get stitches.

Snoop on the shelf

Snoop on the shelf published on

It’s no secret I don’t like the Elf on the Shelf. Between my built-in prejudice against cutesy “traditions” that date back to the medieval era of, oh, 2004 or so, and a healthy aversion to normalizing surveillance culture, I was never going to warm to this little creep.

Now, though, I seem to have company. The Elf has made its move in Britain, and the backlash is underway. (Apparently Britain’s embrace of the surveillance state outweighed their distaste for newcomers. Which is saying something, since anti-immigrant sentiment helped convince them to commit national economic self-disembowelment. Am I blaming the Elf for Brexit? I am absolutely blaming the Elf for Brexit.)

And in the meantime, 2016 has given me one more reason for Elf-loathing. Or am I wrong to feel uneasy about an army of red-capped zealots, rabidly loyal to an absolute ruler, reporting our every move to him?

This is way above your pay grade

This is way above your pay grade published on No Comments on This is way above your pay grade

I don’t know why I’m as captivated as I am by the language of spy movies, books and TV shows. But whether it’s the euphemisms in a George Smiley story or the verbal tics of Elizabeth, Philip, Stan and the occupants of the Rezidentura, I eat that stuff up.

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I never got this briefing. Instead, I stumbled on The Conspiracy when I was nine years old by seeing a present (the game Battleship) hidden on a shelf in early December… and then receiving it from Santa on Christmas Day. I didn’t talk to my parents about it until months later.

In retrospect, the explanation that might have worked is that Santa stows gifts above a certain size at children’s homes, because there’s only so much room in the sleigh.

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