Anthropology, Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, History, Sociology

Santa Claus vs Bigfoot

Joshua Blu Buhs, author of Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend has a written an article for the Washington Post‘s Short Stack blog that makes an unlikely, but nevertheless illuminating comparison between the mythical creature that is the subject of his book, and another mythical figure more appropriate to the season: Santa Claus. As Buhs argues, “though comparatively domesticated, his rough edges hidden behind a great white beard and cherubic cheeks,” as with Bigfoot, the myth of S. Claus has volumes to tell us about ourselves and the culture we inhabit.
As Buhs writes, “We tell stories about Santa Claus not because we believe in him, but because those stories convey messages we want shared—about generosity and pure love and respect for others. And that’s why we tell stories about Bigfoot. Not only to argue for and against the existence of the Big Guy, but because through those stories we come to understand more about ourselves, our neighbors, and our place in this world.”
Navigate to Buh’s article on the Short Stack blog for more, or see this excerpt from his book, this interview, or Buhs in dialogue with Sigrid Schmalzer, author of The People’s Peking Man, about the cultural significance of Bigfoot in contrast with his oriental analogue, the “yeren.”