Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Santa Claus is not necessarily trash

A popular cult film in France, Le Père Noël est une ordure [Father Christmas is a scoundrel ], produced in 1982, starred Gérard Jugnot as a sleazy commercial Santa Claus.

Dressed as Father Christmas, Félix was earning his living on Paris sidewalks by carrying a billboard and distributing leaflets for a local strip joint. After a minor shoplifting incident and a scuffle with department store personnel, Félix lost his white beard and had to run for his life. The rest of the film is a symphony of delightfully sick humor, enhanced by splendid acting, with exotic dialogues that countless French aficionados of my generation know off by heart.

The world has just learned with amazement of another evil Santa Claus, Radovan Karadzic, who has spent the last decade or so running for his life.

A few days ago, in a totally different domain, my friend Corina informed me of the existence of an extraordinary Italian monk, Friar Cesare Bonizzi, known as Fratello Metallo (Metal Brother).

In the unlikely event that this white-bearded Capuchin could no longer count upon records and rock concerts to earn precious dimes for his monastery in Milan, he would surely be able to do Santa Claus stints.

After hearing the above stuff, I'm prepared to vouch for the fact that Fratello Metallo is not a disguised scoundrel fleeing from justice.


Today, it's surrealistic to discover Karadzic's website [display], including "10 favorite ancient Chinese proverbs as selected personally by Dr Dabic". I hope the authorities have the good sense to preserve this legacy site, which is a tiny fragment of the long history of evil and terror in the Balkans. It's almost like finding a nice little unpublished postscript to Mein Kampf.

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