The Peach

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Baron's Brain: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Closet Case -- Brought to You by CBS

Even as it bans the tasteful United Church of Christ ad for criticizing groups that exclude gay people, CBS is inexplicably promoting the 40th anniversary broadcast of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, a heartwarming Christmas animation that . . . well, for the Brain's money, criticizes groups that exclude gay people! When you think about it, what is Rudolph, pray tell, if not an admonition to embrace social outcasts who are clearly coded, with all kinds of early 60's stereotypical attributes, as gay?

There's the lisping, effeminate, elaborately-coiffed Herbie, who wants to be a dentist. There's the narrator, Sam the Snowman, voiced by gay folk singer Burl Ives, and evincing a Martha Stewart-esque fascination with holiday decorating. There's plaid-shirted beefcake icon Yukon Cornelius (no Mrs. Cornelius in sight).

And what's with that Island of Misfit Toys? Charlie-in-the-Box would be better named Charlie-in-the-Closet. He's an animatronic Charles Nelson Reilly, for God's sake. The cowboy on the ostrich is clearly machismo-challenged. And we never quite learn what is "wrong" with the sweet little doll. The Brain's theory: under that dress, she's a guy!

The point is that the overt, explicit message of the show (not unlike the UCC ad) is precisely to criticize those who would exclude the misfits, and to applaud acceptance and tolerance.

If that message is good enough for five year-olds, it ought to be good enough for the rest of society and even for (gasp!) the White House. CBS has really reduced itself to total, ideological incoherence in celebrating Rudolph and banning the UCC ad.


At 4:41 PM, Blogger opinionion said...



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