The lead up to Christmas is always my favorite part of the whole holiday. The anticipation, scents, and sounds make me so happy that I can almost forget the winter world is a cruel and barren wasteland.
And then it ends and, not being a fan of New Year’s, I feel quite adrift.
All there is to look ahead to is my eventual return to university and that is not a rosy prospect. It’s not that I’m bored or lack for things to do. But I feel wistful and a bit depressed. There aren’t so many bright colors or maniacally forced happiness and I honestly miss it.
So my cynicism, which I hold at bay during most of the Christmas season, returns in one big and apathetically bitter landslide.
Gift giving is one of the strangest and oldest social phenomena ever. There’s this weird element of trust. You spend capital on someone, they spend capital on you, and you surprise each other with tributes that will hopefully be loved, accepted, and appreciated. It’s like Russian Roulette! Your gift runs the risk of being received completely coldly, of hitting wide off the mark. Or maybe you have an uncomfortably uneven exchange- and what does that mean about your relationship?
As someone on a certain side of the OCD spectrum, this doesn’t fly with me and so I mastermind my gifts for others long in advance to try to balance extremely thoughtful with not creepily thoughtful with inexpensive with not disposable junk. And then I refuse to except gifts from other people unless they let me buy them. It’s a system that could use a little fine-tuning.
And that’s why I was really relieved to read this recently, because I’m not alone. And then a commenter posted this and I felt even more validated.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
This song brings the chill inside too. So I’m not conclusively saying in on this one. The lyrics are exceedingly problematic (i.e. rape-y) by today’s standards which has led to reimaginations of the song which, I’m sorry, are not musically brilliant even if they do get a point across. Like, super cheesy and don’t fit the meter. But then there are people questioning if that creepiness was inherent in the song originally, or have societal readings and song context changed to make it so… sinister? And here’s one of the articles that covers that.
Complicated. All I can say is that whether you believe the song is problematic probably comes down to your interpretation of it (rape-y = problematic, progressive love song = not so much).
Burgermeister Meisterbürger’s Social Status
Henceforward known as BM. This is something that’s been puzzling me for a few years. BM would appear to be the ruler of the gloomy city of Sombertown in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. A burgher is “a citizen of a town or city, typically a member of the wealthy bourgeoisie.” So he’s essentially a mayor, I guess? And then the Kringles across the mountain of the Winter warlock are toymakers to the king. And then BM bans toys and toymakers to the king. As a mayor, where does he come off legislating against the king’s personal artisans? That seems like a very dangerous political position and a rash overreach of local power. Really it’s no wonder he gets deposed. Just surprised he’s not guillotined.
The Movie Not Even Burl Ives Can Save
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Just kidding, that one is brilliant and Paul Newman is gorgeous.
No, talking about Rankin & Bass 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Why is Santa such an ignorant, prejudiced dumpster goblin? Why is the jolly charming and positive Mrs. Claus married to such a butt nugget? I have theories, but not answers. Mrs. Claus is a raging co-dependent and Santa Claus has an eating disorder combined with mood issues. And you know, once I frame it like that I can really empathize because I was know piece of cherry pie when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. Or, you know, he could just be an arse hat.
And that’s just scratching the surface. Santa thrives on the slave labor of his rather fascist elves and you know, vilifies and rejects Rudolph for his shiny nose. The lead elf changes his voice to a simpering and sycophantic one when Santa’s around.
And Hermy/Herbie (they call him both in the movie but we’re going to stick with Hermy)… You do you, son! Be a dentist. But also no professional training and no access to anesthetics, I’ll probably pass. You kind of have to wonder if he’s supposed to be gay and dentist is just a 1964 code. His hair is so pretty. I don’t see how he can be straight.
Clarice is disturbingly sexualized! Mrs. Donner doesn’t have a name!
The asshole reindeer in charge of teaching reindeer games is a super jerk to Rudolph, but as a PE instructor that’s not super out of the ordinary (actually he reminds me of my middle school PE teacher).
So Donner leaves Christmastown to find Rudolph after Rudolph runs away and Amelie (I named Mrs. Donner) and Clarice have to stay because “this is man’s work” and Santa just says “Whatevs” (‘wharves,’ says autocorrect) until Rudolph returns. And then Santa’s like “Oh, I’m worried because it’s two days until Christmas and I need your Dad to lead my sleigh team”.
OH, THAT’S WHY YOU’RE WORRIED?!
And eventually Clarice and Amelie go off looking for sexist crumb brain Donner (Yay female empowerment!) and because we have male script writers this pretty much devolves into being captured, along with Mr. Amelie, by the Abominable Snowmonster and, in Clarice’s case, almost being eaten.
Yukon, Rudolph, and closeted dentist Hermy extricate them but Yukon ‘dies’ in the undertaking. And the three remaining Y chromosomes realize they ‘must get the women back to Christmastown.’ But you know, Santa wouldn’t have given a pig’s patootie about that because the lady folk aren’t pulling his sleigh.
And Rudolph only is because Santa finds a way to exploit his physical abnormality. Rudolph, do not accept his crocodile tears and calculated apology! Kick that bastard in the balls.
Maybe then he would be really desperate and have to ask Amelie or Clarice.
Lastly: Santa Claus isn’t real and your parents eat the cookies.