Professor Says Elf On The Shelf Is Preparing Your Child To Live In A Dystopian Police State: Philosopher and cultural theorist Michel Foucault warned of a future in which society is under constant surveillance. He used the "panopticon" -- a model prison watch system designed by 18th century political philosopher Jeremy Bentham -- as a symbol of modern societies that use surveillance as a form of disciplinary control.At first, this seems like overblown conspiracy stuff -- hysterical, silly even, and full of bah humbug anti-Christmas sentiment.
That future may be here, in the form of a sprightly little elf telling children that they better not pout and they better not cry, because Santa is coming to town -- and his little helpers are always watching. (Huffington Post)
But look at the retro image of the little red elf. Very 1950s, 1960s. Pleasantville all around. Our little elf isn't helping Santa make toys; he's watching you. Me. Us. Always, watching. Not protecting -- watching.
Huffington Post has an article about the "Elf on a Shelf" who watches us all, especially children of course. Watching to report back on the naughty ones. Watching us whether we're good or bad, just always … watching.
Professor Laura Pinto thinks this is preparing children for the police state.
"When a family adopts the elf and gives him a name, the elf takes to his watchtower in various parts of the house and monitors the children's behavior. During the Christmas season, children are told that they must play by not only their parents' or teachers' rules, but also by the elf's rules.
In Bentham's panopticon, the inmates never knew exactly when the watchers were watching, so they were forced to behave at all times as if this were a possibility. " (Huffington Post)
And it gets down to this:
"If the children are the subjects, then Santa is Big Brother, and his elves are the Ministry of Truth. Pinto's concern with the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon is that the children see the surveillance not as play, but instead accept it as real." (Huffington Post, Pinto)On the surface, sure, this is fun and cute and no doubt on the conscious level sinister aspects never entered the minds of authors, parents and teachers. But swirling beneath the surface those sinister elements do the work in parallel eso metaphysical ways.