Good Grief: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer Has A “Gay Subtext” Or Something

Good Grief: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer Has A “Gay Subtext” Or Something

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It’s the holiday season, with Christmas looming large. Insane Social Justice Warriors haven’t been particularly interested in attempting to destroy New Year’s Eve nor Hanukkah, but, Christmas has always been their main target (as long as they still continue to get the day off as a paid holiday, of course). So, of course, we end up with bat guano insane things like this

The Gay Subtext of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Thinking back on the children’s Christmas specials of yore with an adult frame of reference can be a little bit dizzying. There is the suffocating consumerist melancholy of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the existential dread of a magical friend’s impending death in Frosty the Snowman, and the political allegory of Heat Miser’s rise to power that is A Year Without a Santa Clause.

But nothing, absolutely nothing, is changed with a close, analytical reading of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 1964 stop-motion special. I mean, just look at it: Rudolph is totally, absolutely, 100 percent, Neil-Patrick-Harris-French-kissing-Ricky-Martin gay. Anyone who even knows what Queer Theory is can tell you that the subtext of the narrative seems to be a pre-Stonewall contemplation of the power of coming out and embracing sexual minorities into society at large.

If you’re thinking “it can’t possibly go downhill,” nope, sorry!

The film starts in the North Pole, where traditional gender roles are quickly reinforced. Mrs. Claus does all the cooking and nags her husband about not eating enough. The elves, identical in shape and apparel, are at work on Santa’s toys, the boys wearing blue and the girls wearing pink. Rudolph is born to Donner, who immediately hates his son’s red nose and thinks that something so different will keep him from leading a heterosexual life where he pulls Santa’s sleigh and marries a nice doe someday. (snip)

“For a year the Donner family did a good job hiding Rudolph’s — non-conformity,” the narrator tells us, pausing slightly before landing on the right euphemism. This is the closet of Rudolph’s parents devising, which he goes along with thanks to the internalized homophobia that he inherited from both his father and Santa, the superego of the North Pole, who is equally distressed by Rudolph’s difference. Santa even goes so far as to tell Donner that he should be ashamed of his son and try to change him. It’s almost as if Santa is a church elder trying to force Rudolph into conversion therapy.

Of course, Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist, is painted as a flaming gay, and

When Hermey and Rudolph run into each other, they reprise their song about being misfits, singing, “seems to us kind of silly that we don’t fit in.” Now that these two young gay men have met each other, they realize that the oppression of sexual conformity they’ve been living under their whole lives is a total sham.

And even Yukon Cornelius is gay, being the first “lumbersexual.”

And the Island of Misfit Toys? That’s right, they’re all part of the LGBT community!

The Abominable Snow Monster? He’s “a fanged embodiment of violent homophobia.”

And Gay Rudolph and company save Christmas because Santa and the rest embrace the differenceness of gayness!

Some people have entirely too much time on their hands.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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