Politically Correct Holiday Stories

Santa reads signs held by demonstrators
Signs say, Santa is a sell-out. Save the Elves. Free the reindeer now.

If you want to see how American society has changed in the 21st century, you need only to read Politically Correct Holiday Stories for an Enlightened Yuletide Season.

James Finn Garner’s slender bestseller updates classic Christmas tales for 1995 politically with-it readers, replacing terms that reinforce demeaning societal stereotypes with others deemed not sexist, ageist, racist, nationalist, or any other otherwise offensive-ist:

‘Twas the Night before Christmas becomes “‘Twas the Night before Solstice.” Frosty the Snowman becomes “Frosty the Persun of Snow.”

The story of a flying, horned quadruped becomes “Rudolph the Nasally Empowered Reindeer.”

The Nutcracker and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol retrain their titles, but get internal makeovers for the politically enlightened ‘90s.

Readers in 2020 will find Garner’s little book as quaint as Scrooge’s nightcap. America dumped political correctness when it emptied its Y2K jugs of stored water.

Demonstrators on the lawn.

Today in America it’s no longer politically correct, let alone socially correct, to attempt to avoid offending people unnecessarily. In 2020, vicious verbal attacks on anyone with whom one disagrees are considered normal.

Today’s readers won’t get it when Garner’s Santa says, “Happy Christmas to all, but get over yourselves!!”

America can no longer laugh at itself, and that’s a serious problem.

Politically Correct Holiday Stories:
For an Enlightened Yuletide Season
By James Finn Garner
Lisa Amoroso, inside illustrations.
Macmillan. ©1995. 99 p.
1995 bestseller #9; my grade: B-

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

people and animals from fairy tales drinking together around a table
Get a load of those 3 porkers.

James Finn Garner rewrote 13 classic fairy tales to replace any language that would offend the sensibilities of “Politically Correct” 1990s readers with language that will make ordinary folks laugh out loud.

Thus in Politically Correct Bedtime Stories:

    • Little Red Riding Hood becomes “a young person.”
    • The Emperor in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is not naked but merely “endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle.”
    • The Little in Chicken Little’s name is a family name rather than a “size-based nickname,” and
    • Cinderella is put on the road to romance by an individual calling himself her “fairy godperson, or individual deity proxy.”

Garner’s long-distance nod to the historic origins of the tales is marked by a decorative capital letter, drawn by Lisa Amoroso to illustrate the story, and placed as the first letter of each story in the best tradition of early manuscripts.

Despite its extremely short length—79 pages—Politically Correct Bedtime Stories is not a work to be read in one sitting. To appreciate Garner’s humor, without being overwhelmed by the silliness, it’s best to read the stories one a night for 13 nights before bedtime.

Garner’s book was a flash-in-a-pan bestseller, ideally suited to the time in which it first appeared, but almost lusterless today when people seem unable to laugh at absurdities uttered by public figures.

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories:
Modern Tales for Our Life & Times
by James Finn Garner
Viking. ©1994. 79 p.
1994 bestseller #6; my grade: B-

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni