If I had to hazard a supposition on the matter I would guess that the favorite animated Christmas special of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and their followers would be Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. After all, what other Christmas special is narrated by a dirty fat rat who betrayed his friends by naming names in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities? Yes, that jolly snowman who sings of having a holly jolly Christmas is voiced by one of the heroes of the conservative movement, Burl Ives, who pulled an Elia Kazan by deciding to save his own neck at the expense of others who were doing nothing illegal or even wrong. It is entirely appropriate that a defender of fascist bullying tactics would narrate the most famous fascistic cartoon ever embraced by the American people; a cartoon surely people like Beck and Palin have taken to heart for its message of intolerance except in the face of ideological progression.
The centerpiece of fascist ideology is the expulsion of viral components that threaten to infect the body politic. Fascism is very much directed toward the improvement of the State at the expense of the individual. (Consider how the GOP always votes in a bloc with very few exceptions and how those exceptions are usually forced to abdicate their relationship to the Party and swing to the other side or Independence.) The movement draws distinctly from the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and the concept of the Uberman. Of course, in this particular case we must amend things to include Uberreindeer. The reindeer who make fun of Rudolph are certainly personifications of the concept of the perfect Aryan idealization and Rudy is a poor sap whose red nose is as much a virus threatening purity as being a homosexual, Gypsy or Jew was in 1930s Germany. And if you think that making the leap between Nazi-era fascism and the party of Beck and Palin is a stretch, consider that the GOP recently made news with their so-called test of conservative purity. Today that test is put voluntarily to members of their own party; tomorrow it may be put involuntarily to the union at large.
The reindeer games separate the fit from the disabled; the good from the bad; the useful from the useless. Not only does this correspond perfectly with the Nazi history of focusing on athletics and games as a signature of purity, the correspondence is an ideal fit inside most American high schools today. Those famous Berlin Olympics were signaled by Hitler as providence from Above to reveal to the world the inherent superiority of the Aryan race just as economics in the realm of American high school education proves that athletic ability is superior to intellectual abundance. When was the last time you saw news that budget cuts had spared the arts and music programs, but high school football would now become a thing of the past? The reindeer who parlay the concept of superiority because they can leap higher or fly longer call Rudolph names. It never says what kind of names he is called, but surely it is not any great leap to simply plug in names that others who don’t play well have been called: fatty-fatty-fat-fat, dork, nerd, faggot, Jew…and it goes on.
It is Rudolph’s red nose that is the central element of his problematic relationship. Just as it is Hermie’s desire to be a dentist rather than a toymaking elf trapped in a factory where part of the job requires singing patriotic songs to their Fearless Leader. And of course all those toys on the Island of Mistfit Toys simply do not do what they are supposed to do. Actually, that is not entirely correct. Charlie in the Box is considered inappropriate not because he does anything wrong per se, but rather that “nobody wants a Charlie in the Box.” And therein lies the essence of the disturbing fascist message that this beloved Christmas cartoon propagates. If you are not wanted by the masses at large then you are useless and if you are useless then you are expendable. To the extreme if necessary. If you do not conform to the ideals that have been adopted by the prevailing ideology then you should not be awarded the same rights. If you dare believe that you can be something other than what the State expects you to be then you will find yourself strugging for survival against the Bumble. In real life, of course, the Bumble all too rarely becomes a useful product of the State himself, though in cases like Donald Trump it does actually happen that slack-jawed troglodytes are rewarded with wealth and privilege denied the equally unctuous out there who have not proven themselves capable of ideological inculcation on a grand level.
Let us consider things from the more realistically American perspective that Rudolph’ disability was not a glowing red nose, but was instead homosexuality. Let us then say that he could fly as well as Donder or Blitzen. Would he be allowed to lead the team then? No, because missing his red nose he would be useless. Missing the socially accepted contract to propagate the species and produce more reindeer, he would be marginalized for good. He would be exiled to the Island of Misfit Toys because regardless of even a superior athletic ability he would still be an unacceptable part of society. Or would he?
Society, and especially fascists and conservatives, are very willing to overlook defects when it comes to moving their ideology forward. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are two of the biggest airheads in the history of American politics, yet are viable GOP nominee contenders. Tim Allen and Kelsey Grammer are both Hollywood star drug addicts with criminal records but because they have embraced conservative ideals they are not derided as celebrities without a clue when they dare to exercise their First Amendment rights and speak out on political issues. (Just let Sean Penn and George Clooney try that and see what Glenn Beck says about movie stars not named Craig T. Nelson who use their celebrity to speak about politics on shows other than his own.) When Pres. Clinton had an affair in the White House the conservatives moved quickly to impeach him. When a Republican Governor disappears from sight and leaves the reins of executive power in limbo so he can escape to another country to have sex with his Latin party girl he is allowed to keep his job and even allowed to have the gall to say he should not be impeached….even though he was a member of the very Congress who voted to impeach Bill Clinton for doing something far less impeachably offensive. Any time a conservative or neo-fascist individual loses the muddy covering over his olfactory organ and is forced to reveal his red squealing nose he is immediately forgiven by the nattering nabobs of nuttiness that make up the Neo-Fascists who currently control the Republican Party and, surprisingly, Congress. Regardless of the harm done to the country by these particular red noses, those who align with the ideology finally embrace the Christian tenets of forgiven that are so easily sacrified when those with whom they disagree show up with a glowing honker.
Rudolph’s usefulness is not so much about the act of actually getting Santa through the heavy fog. It is about the ability of that nose to prove useful to the political system in order to keep it afloat. What would have happened if Santa had not been able to deliver presents? The entire economic system of the North Pole is dependent upon the same kind of shaky foundation of consumerism that keeps the American capitalist system barely afloat. Well, that’s not entirely true. The North Pole operates an economy based on production rather than consumption but they operate symbiotically.
When conservatism is not controlled by fascist dictatorships it eventually always gives in to progressive thought. Conservatism at one time advocated slavery and denying women the right to vote. Today conservatives for the most part accept that abolishing slavery and allowing women to vote did not necessarily destroy America. Rudy’s engagement of the leader, Santa Claus, to deliver from isolation the misfit toys fits perfectly within the long history of conservative ideology eventually catching up with liberal and progressive thought. It is also completely adhering to the ideological factors of fascism that Santa and the other reindeer only come around to this way of forward thinking when it is revealed that their belief system can benefit from acceptance of extending basic rights formerly denied to individuals. Rudy, Hermie and his misfit friends are no longer misfits only because they have proven their usefulness to the continued evolution of the status quo.