The Issues With Seth Rogen’s Santa Inc.

Controversy instantly struck the moment the trailer for Santa Inc. was released. Oddly, the film hasn’t received many critical reviews; however, over 1000 plus audience members on rotten tomatoes have bombarded the site by giving the eight-part mini-series bad reviews; This has resulted in an extremely low 4% score from the audience. So why is Santa Inc. being trashed so harshly? It’s because of the film’s clear feminist political message. There’s no subtlety behind it either, where it’s clear that the animated series is depicting white men as evil for holding onto the Santa position. A quick note: The reason why Santa is White comes from the Dutch legend of Sinterklaas; The legend is based on Saint Nicholas, an early Christian saint who gave gifts to people. The figure is a White man with a giant beard, hence the origins of the fictional character. However, that’s not the reason people are up in arms about this series. It’s Hollywood trying to be woke once again. Look, I’m a filmmaker; I haven’t done anything even close to big; however, I do understand the inner workings of the film business. I’ve been on film sets and talked to plenty of executives and producers. I say this because I know that the place had certain views on blacks, minorities, and women. Is that due to white men? Yes. There are plenty of examples of filmmakers being held back because of their race, sex, or sexual orientation.  One of the most famous actresses on the planet, Lucy Liu, has discussed the issues she’s dealt with in terms of racism:

“I wish people wouldn’t just see me as the Asian girl who beats everyone up, or the Asian girl with no emotion. People see Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy, but not me. You add race to it, and it became, “Well, she’s too Asian”, or, “She’s too American”. says the actress on Daily Mail. “I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating. I can’t say that there is no racism. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.”

Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Kirsten Stewart, and plenty of other filmmakers have talked about the politics regarding Hollywood. Again, this was mostly due to white men. I bring all of this up to showcase that the history of Tinseltown isn’t a pretty one. Granted, it is public knowledge by now, but it’s important to reaffirm it. One of the issues of Santa Inc. and so many other shows and films is that there seems to be this agenda against white men. I’m a black guy so I can’t speak about the experience of white men. Yes, these types of men have held back generations of filmmakers, but Santa Inc. makes it seem that all white men are just evil. That’s definitely not the case. Is there a story to be told about why powerful Hollywood executives held back some many minorities? Yes! The issue is never shown on both sides. We never get the perspective from these powerful men on why they act the way they are. This is the same thing with Santa Inc. The series calls Santa a “white man’s game”, without acknowledging the history of Saint Nicholas or even addressing the issues surrounding racism or sexism. I don’t get this notion of shaming or tearing down an entire race because of Hollywood’s shameful past. Or hell, even slavery, and many other of American’s dark subjects that have plagued a certain group or generation.

I get the anger and frustration, but not all white people are bad. Not every White guy has white privilege. Or for the one’s that do, they may not even know it. It’s a major turn off to give a one-sided view on topics like these, especially since it’s supposed to be a Christmas film. There’s no joy in Santa Inc. because it beats you to death with its political themes. The crass and vulgar humor feel forced. More importantly, the film tries to be timely and edgy so hard that it fails at being a Christmas movie; Which is odd because it’s clearly a Christmas themed film, but the social commentary takes away the magic that usually comes with the holiday. Not every Christmas movie needs to be the same. And I’m not saying that films need to stop addressing these themes. It would just be nice to explore this type of subject other than saying that white men are evil because they’re white. It’s the same thing with feminist films that paint the picture that all men are misogynistic assholes. The abundance of political films and shows are really taking the escapism out what movies and television were supposed to be. Every film or show has some type of message or theme. That’s perfectly fine, but when your themes or message is the driving force instead of a compelling and cohesive narrative, you get things like Santa Inc.

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