I keep threatening to come back here on a regular basis, and I don’t, but every once in a great while I’m reminded how the world suffers from my waning vigilance and gross inattention, and I’m ashamed to realize how bad things have gotten. And I’m not talking just about President Orangutrump and his bilious lackeys. Most of this I can swallow. I take a pill that helps. (No, not Xanax). But sometimes, things get too far and I need to step in.
I found this little gem on Facebook this morning. You can read it on your own time, but the gist is that Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer has “triggered” a whole bunch of melodramatically over-sensitive little flowers and the only solution to their vexing, simmering itch is to light up Twitter with indignation–to delightfully entertaining ends.
First off, this isn’t new. Who above the age of seven has watched this heart-warming holiday tradition without chuckling over what a complete asshole Santa, Coach and Rudolph’s Dad are at the beginning of the movie. But come on, they’re no different than everyone else’s republican dad ever, their love submerged beneath a suffocating preoccupation with social status, a concern about what might be whispered behind their backs at church, or how the guys “down at the club” are going to give them a razzing, even if only to use pseudo-dominant behavior as a means to distract from their own senses of unfulfilled dreams and inadequacy. I mean: come on. Why is the patriarchy such a bunch of jerks? Because they’re miserable, and deep down they know it–perhaps not consciously, but certainly at a deeper, cellular level–with absolute certainty, just as they know they’ll never fill that dark, beckoning void in their souls. Has no one ever read Updike? Not that I’d encourage anyone to do such a thing.
The Tweet-storm at #RudolphTheRednosedReindeer has been impressive; much of it, fortunately, tongue in cheek. But there is not shortage of self-defined social reformers eager to protect us from the Scourge of Bitter Santa–just as they leapt to shout “date rape,” however belatedly, over that steamy holiday icon, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” That essay, and its dirty-minded revisionism, will find it’s way around the interwebs any day now, as it does each year. But that’s another story. Or is it?
The theme here is outrage junkies leaping to (often self-aggrandizing) accusations or offense or inappropriateness without regard for context. The question is: why do we have to be so candy-assed about our grievances, regardless of substance? I poke at the leftists because they’re “my people” despite how little they want to do with me, but it’s the same on the conservative side of things, where knickers are forever twisted by all matters associated with veterans, guns, flags, and–worst of all–the Dixie Chicks. Thanks, Obama.
Maybe…just maybe…this show is about ignorance ceding to understanding and acceptance? But that doesn’t fit with the undercurrent of vindictiveness inherent in revisionist post-modernist extremism. The agitated and aggrieved (i.e. “triggered”) aren’t looking for tolerance and a better world so much as they’re salivating for revenge. They don’t want to propagate understanding and unity–they want things to burn, presumably because they were unhappy in high school. Some people get it:
To me, and any rational, functional human, Rudolph is nothing less than a tale of the triumph of those who live outside orthodoxy, and to those who strive to shatter the concept of “normal” without name-calling and retaliatory reverse discrimination. But if we’re going to play these games, consider cool Cornelius; what’s he but an earth-raping prospector eager to strip mine the north the moment he finds a lick of treasure. Or the sweet little gay elf whose toxic self-loathing leads him to cripple the noble wild Bumble Beast by yanking out all his teeth and dooming the once proud king of the north to a lifetime of servitude in chains? Metaphor for conservative environmental policy? Cautionary tale on the tenuous nature of freedom and democracy 120 years after the supposed end of slavery? I think so. And what about these bigots branding Cornelius as a hipster? Because he’s got a beard and earmuffs and liked corn meal? Well, I can’t be the only bearded misanthrope out there who puts down his johnny cake to wave a hearty “fuck you” at those appearance-based presumptions.
I find the whole lot of you problematic.