"[H]ow many Christmas fables (subsidized by General Electric, no less) contain a faintly disguised subtext about being a gay elf? Just one! Yep, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
C’mon, Hermy the elf just doesn’t belong, not like the other elves. Dentist is the ‘60s covert word for being gay. Think about it next time you watch it. Hermy proudly shouts, 'I want to be a dentist!' Huh?
And that haircut? Only three people on this planet have that exact same haircut: Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Neutron, and The Dust Devil spokesmodel. It’s right out of a John Water’s film. You go Hermy!" [Face Magazine]
Rudolph's moment of redemption comes not as the cause of any consciousness-raising, but because his difference (superficial as it is) is shown to have utility to the corporate body. He is accepted by his peers not for his own merits, but because circumstances conspired to harness his idiosyncrasy and turn it into profit for his employers. What is the real lesson we take from the fable of Rudolph, boys and girls? Difference will be tolerated and celebrated only if it can be put to the service of the power structure. Otherwise, you're just a wacko, and you can forget about those reindeer games for good. Once again, Santa Claus is portrayed here as an unfeeling, self-absorbed cad -- he makes no intervention in Rudolph's persecution until he needs to save his own ass (at least the TV special got that part right). But does Rudolph get his moment to tell the boss to screw himself; that his hypocrisy won't be tolerated? No, he's the first one tethered to the sled, happy to take the whip of his former oppressor as long as he can feel both useful to the corporation and validated by his peers.
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