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  • Lance Mannion
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Great post! Thanks for sharing! I love Sendak's illustrations. I can see why they stuck in your son's mind.

Happy holidays, Lance.

mac macgillicuddy

Some day he'll come back and ask me what to do when the instructions are wrong.

My 7 year old son already asks me questions like this.

I encourage him to question authority -- just not mine!

Mary Poole

I don't know if he is your oldest, but trust me, the questions don't get any easier as they get older.



In a perfect world, there would be no Christians.
Just a thought.


The Third Reich was probably more open-minded about what constitutes art than most secondary-school teachers. Tell your son not to be discouraged. In college art classes, you can smoke dope and depict whatever subject matter you please and the instructors, if they bother to show up, will worship anything you do and give you an A.

Melanie N. Lee

Dear Lance:

It's September 2005, and I was reading my Christmas Blog from last year, and wondering if anyone else on the Internet besides me has seen Jesus symbolism in the Nutcracker story. You haven't--but I don't hold that against you.

Here's what I wrote in my blog entry of December 13, 2004:

Also that day (December 12), before we went to Elena's house, Becky and I were with Mom. [Elena and Becky are my sisters. --MNL] I went grocery shopping, and cooked hamburgers. I was playing "The Nutcracker" while Becky was washing dishes. She came out into the living room a couple of times to dance.

During one of the tunes, she said she was imaginging vegetables dancing around the manger. I said that you could see images of Christ in The Nutcracker: Clara is us, the Nutcracker is Jesus, the Mouse King is the Devil, the Battle is Armaggedon, and then "he takes her to a magical kingdom" which has people from many countries. She said I should turn that idea into a pamphlet.

I searched the Internet today to see if anyone else had that idea. The closest I saw was from an entry in, discussing the adaptation of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" in "Fantasia 2000":

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Director: Hendel Butoy
Art Director: Michael Humphries
Piano: Yefim Bronfman

SPIRITUAL NOTE: Watch for the death and resurrection of a wounded savior in this wonderful Hans Christian Anderson tale of the Steadfast Tin Soldier.

MNL's Christmas Blog, 2004

Just because The Nutcracker can be seen as the story of a young girl's sexual awakening--and I think it is, too!--that doesn't mean that it can't also be seen as a Jesus story. The Song of Solomon is about two lovers, but can also be seen as God and Israel, or Christ and the Church. God calls himself Israel's husband; Jesus calls the Church his bride.

That said, to me, The Nutcracker can reflect the Jesus story, but more like the book of Revelation than like the Gospel of Matthew or Luke.

Remember, also, that the Nutcracker gets broken, repaired, and transformed, like Death, Resurrection, and Glorification.


Kids live in a fantasy world. Too bad adults have to stifle their creativity with reality, they'll get to that world soon enough. Next thing you know they'll be telling us there's no Santa Claus.

Ryan Davis

"Nobody he admires who does anything well didn't first learn how to follow instructions. Stan Lee, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, all his favorite actors and TV stars followed their teachers' instructions."


All the best ignored and went against their teacher's instructions and followed their creativity. If they were super lucky, they had parents that nurtured and supported that creativity.


Man. I so disagree with you and the teacher.

First, I came here looking for Nutcracker photos. But found your blog, started reading and was feeling the pain of your little boy who, no doubt, isn't quite as little judging from the date on this post.

First of all, Christmas as we know it is based on pagan rituals. Look up Saturnalia. Pope Julius the 1st, in an effort to convert the pagans to Christianity, adopted the traditions we now call Christmas into the Christian faith so people would convert knowing they could keep their rituals.

That "Christmas" tree? That holly? Those gifts and even the caroling? Yeah. That's all pagan in origin and the Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Hindis, etc. have as much right to those tradition as the silly Christians who want to control every silly ass thing on the planet.

Secondly, how dare some backwoods public school teacher stifle your child's imagination and creativity! What a piss poor example she sets. This is why I hate traditional education!! No, no Timmy. You can't use your imagination. Do what I say or else!

Screw that!!

You should have went up to that school and told the teacher that it's her job to instruct, not to cripple.


I like your kid. He's got spirit. Don't rip that away from him. When I read the part about him ripping up the art, I mentally did a backflip and hurrah. I hope that, one day, he knows how massively awesome that display of individuality and strength was.

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