Mixed Messages

You’d better not pout, you’d better not cry
You’d better be good — I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good —
so be good, for goodness’ sake.

I just today realized the problem with the commercialization of Christmas. The point of the above song is that IF you’re good, you will be rewarded. Conversely, if you’re BAD, your actions will be noted, and your stocking will be shorted accordingly.

Yet, at the same time, we are admonished to “be good, for goodness’ sake”.

If we apply logic to this, that’s the same as saying “art for art’s sake” — or that art is worth making simply because art is worthwhile.

That means that the song is saying that being good is its own reward. That it is the right thing to do. That’s why one does it.

NOT FOR THE REWARD, or because someone is watching who’ll provide some payoff.

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