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December 16, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (12-16-2014)

Because sometime work gets in the way of the ONTery.

It's Time for Regime Change in Christmastown

From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt:

The latest edition of my pop-culture podcast with Mickey White goes up today. I discuss a Christmas television special that our family watches every year - and I was unnerved to see that James Lileks also wrote about the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special as well. Luckily, the two of us headed in different directions in our assessment. He wonders how today's Left would re-edit it, while I lament that for all of the warm feelings it stirs . . . this children's classic makes almost no sense.

First, I get that this is a parable about tolerance of those who are different, and appreciating "misfits" who "don't fit in." Perhaps that was a particularly powerful message in 1964. But the story's need for an intolerant society to depict means that a lot of previously-beloved characters associated with Christmas get turned into absolute quasi-fascistic villains.

Donner, Rudolph's dad, is one of the worst. He's horrified by his son's shiny nose, literally from the moment of his birth. Everyone just accepts that because of the shiny nose, Rudolph will never be able to pull the sleigh. Nobody ever explains why. They treat this as some sort of horrible genetic mutation. In the entire story, no one in Christmastown other than Clarice and Rudolph's mother - who never even gets a name! - can tolerate it. Everyone else instantly reacts with shock, horror, and disgust.

Santa comes across as even worse. He's a jerk who doesn't care about the elves' musical number. The first sign of snow - in the North Pole, where he really shouldn't be that shocked - and he's ready to cancel Christmas. He's got one job!

Finally, when Rudolph is exposed at the reindeer games, Santa tells Donner, Rudolph's dad, he should be ashamed of himself. For what? His son's nose? A birth defect? For polluting the gene pool? Is this Nazi Christmastown?

Read the rest here.

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Or how segregation can happen even without racism (or shapism in this case).

Teh Tweet!

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Tonight's post brought to you by December:

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Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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posted by Maetenloch at 08:48 PM

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