Santa Claus is working with a top PR London firm to explain to children everywhere why he gives the best gifts to rich children.
The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have announced that they’re not even going to bother trying to get local real estate agent, the eternally puissant Annabelline Stealmore-Lifeblood, to mend her ways this year.
Father Christmas reportedly took advantage of a 50% discount on SatNavs and LED headlights at his favourite online retailer, the result of which has left his most famous reindeer facing a bleak Christmas.
Tembo, a Tanzanian bull elephant and PR director for the APO, denied the move was linked to the steady increase of privileged bellends called Troy or Donald Jr going to Africa and pretending that shooting a large animal from the safety of a Land Rover is a life-affirming experience.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised every Facebook user $1,000, but only if everyone stops sharing stupid hoaxes on his social network.
The move comes after timelines have become inundated with ridiculous claims being shared by people stupid enough to think they could get a lot of money for doing literally nothing but sharing a Facebook post, or to believe their account is at risk of hacking because somebody cloned them.
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The social networking giant’s mysterious algorithms are a cornerstone for the latest popular hoax.
Despite what you’ve heard on Facebook, the social network isn’t going to limit status updates in your news feed to 25 preselected friends.
The real news is much scarier: People are falling for a Facebook hoax — again.
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Local real estate agent, the eternally puissant Annabelline Stealmore-Lifeblood is set to introduce an innovative approach to the town’s perennial housing crisis – a Thunderdome in which residents do battle for an affordable home.
The Thunderdome, to be built on the outskirts of Nhulunbuy by yet another interstate construction firm promising local training and jobs, will be governed by one simple rule – ‘two enter, one leaves…with an asbestos-free* (*conditions apply), Rio-owned unit of your choice’.
It is expected that Imparja will secure the rights to broadcast live Thunderdome contests and also a lucrative Saturday night highlights package.
“There’s nothing I like more than watching impoverished plebs batter each other into submission for my personal entertainment,” said one well-to-do local who asked to remain anonymous.
Some employees from sectors other than mining and government were dubious of the plan.
“Right, so it’s not enough that I have to take out a mortgage to fly in and out of my hometown, that I have to wait 6 weeks for Winellie to regurgitate my mail or that my career prospects are dependent on my ability to look enthusiastic when I hear ‘clean-up on aisle 3′,” said young a young local who also asked to remain anonymous.
“Now the only way I can secure sensibly priced housing is through brutal voyeuristic combat.”
“The region’s decision-makers couldn’t show me any more contempt if one of them came ’round and shat on my dining room table.”
It is understood that DEAL may have once toyed with the idea of offering a small number of sensibly-priced units to local residents who expressed a desire to remain in the region post-curtailment, and continue to plow their below average wages into the local economy, but as that would likely infuriate the region’s plutocracy and particularly real estate agents and their alleged burgeoning list of businesses falling over each other to relocate to the region, it was decided that the Thunderdome plan was slightly less stupid.
Valentine’s Day two days late to take advantage of 50% off deals on flowers and chocolates.
Supermarket chains have marked down unsold heart-shaped boxes of confectionery, pink helium balloons and huge pastel teddy bears, leading to frugal northerners cashing in by delaying the celebrations to get the best deal.
Yorkshire valentines is well-known as an attractive mix of romance and parsimony.
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Set amidst the rugged splendor of the Australian Outback, two fun-loving drifters, Singing raconteur Phil O’Brien and ex Jailbird Al Zimdahl come across a French beauty ‘Elisa’, alone in the middle of nowhere, and on a mission to find what she really wants out of life. A gifted Singer and musician, the bright lights of Paris and her Fathers business caused her disillusion, and she’d thrown herself into the empty vastness of the Northern Territory hoping to find answers.
In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the editor of New York’s The Sun newspaper to ask whether her friends were right to say there was no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
Her letter prompted one of the most famous newspaper editorials in history, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
A modern-day Virginia’s smartphone is probably more capable than Santa of knowing what she wants for Christmas.
So, how long before Siri and a network of artificially intelligent successors (programmed to anticipate human needs and communicate with each other) usurp Santa and start asking the alternative question: is Virginia real?
In the spirit of the New York’s The Sun (which no longer exists, sadly) this reply from a newspaper editor (if they still exist in the future) to a robotic Santa is set in 2047, 150 years after Virginia asked the question that is part of Christmas folklore.
Your friends are wrong, affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age where they believe their “intelligence” can anticipate every thought and match it with an action.
It’s true that you machines, invisible but ubiquitous, have trumped our natural intelligence through your endless, silent buzz with each other. It began in the 2010s with Siri, and ultimately reached your level of apparent omnipotence.
But don’t forget. Somewhere (often remotely) at the end of every action, you are serving a human. In your case, it’s a little girl who wants to keep believing in the mystery and magic of Christmas.
So in answer to your question: Yes Santa, there really is a Virginia.
Don’t forget. The Santa whom children believed in has always seen all and known all – just like you.
He has always had helpers to create the gifts and magic of his story. Now, the workshops are run by bots, and the elves have become marketing assistants who no longer know how to wrap a gift, let alone guess what a little girl might want.
And the reindeer, freed from training for their annual epic flight thanks to your army of drones, have gone to fat. Even Rudolph with his nose so bright can no longer guide himself to the food trough, let alone a sleigh tonight.
Santa, you’ve asked what this is all about, what is your purpose? And precisely, is there really a Virginia or is she, as your robotic friends say, the toy of a personal bot she has had since birth?
The personal bot boom of the 2020s, then the development of belief and philosophy by your robotic predecessors in the 2030s, was always going to lead to you asking this question.
Fair enough. In earlier times, we humans would have asked ourselves why we were helping a machine think about its purpose in life. In fear, our instinct would have been to instantly cut off its power. Now we’re flattered you asked.
Thankfully, we accepted how machines like you could do the heavy physical and mental lifting that for centuries has been the burden of humans.
But, Santa, the good human life well lived starts with fantasy, as one of our predecessors, New York’s The Sun, explained to children 150 years ago.
The power of fantasy describes where the work you do every year comes from.
But the fantasy does not belong to the other bots you talk to. The fantasy belongs to the child they serve. Such fantasy allows something unexplainable to create universal joy, an emotion you can understand but never experience.
And those fantasies are what will create new ways of meeting human needs. Such fantasies led people to dream of, then create, the first robots with only a fraction of your capabilities. Such fantasies found ways to power the planet without damaging it.
Your question about your purpose reminds us that such fantasies continue to matter – even to machines like you that learn effortlessly from us and each other.
But Santa, there is one fantasy you should not have. And that is that the little girl who craves a doll or a toy car like they used to drive in the good old days doesn’t matter. Or that the little boy who craves a toy kitchen or inflatable ball is subservient to the personal bot your “elves” listen to.
No Virginia, Santa? She is real – even if not to you. And you are real to her, not as a machine but as a magical figure that sees all and knows all – just as you always have, long before Siri.
She and you live forever. A thousand years from now – nay, 10,000 years from now – you and what you stand for will continue to make glad the heart of childhood and children like Virginia.
Thanks to veteran journalist Francis Pharcellus Church, who penned the original editorial in New York’s The Sun all those years ago.