McCarthyism and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This past Tuesday, marking the coming of Christmas, CBS aired the animated classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which has been entertaining millions of youngsters ever since it first aired in 1964. Although it is very entertaining, and always will be, I have doubts that entertainment was its original purpose. The original intent was to introduce the anti-Communist principles of Joe McCarthy to the youth of the 1960's behind the mask of a simple Christmas story. In this Whack I will attempt to take off the mask and reveal the ugly face of McCarthyism behind Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Christmas Town, the setting of Rudolph, is a fictional communist country ruled by a dictator: Santa Claus. Now everybody knows Santa rules through fear, there is not a kid in the world who isn't afraid of Santa. "He knows if you've been sleeping, he knows if you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so you better be good for goodness sake." What the hell is that all about? When I heard that as a kid I was scared to death. To this day I still check for phone taps, two-way mirrors, and constantly look over my shoulder in fear Santa is watching. But still every child and every citizen of Christmas Town loves Santa, the same way the Russians loved Stalin, the Chinese loved Mao, and the Cubans love Castro.

In Christmas Town there are two castes of citizens: reindeer and elves. The reindeer are the upper-class citizens from which Chairman Santa selects his personal army, you know Dasher, Donner, Comet, Cupid, etc. The elves work their whole lives in government factories, for very little pay, making goods used for exports. The plot of Rudolph centers around the life and struggles of two characters, Rudolph, a reindeer, and Herbie, an elf.

Rudolph is the son of Donner, a big wig in Santa's secret army. Donner has big plans for Rudolph, but those plans may be foiled by the fact that when Donner's wife was pregnant with Rudolph she was exposed to radiation which caused a genetic mutation in the embryo, and thus Rudolph was born with a red shining nose. Santa makes it very clear that Rudolph will never be a part of his secret army with his shining nose. Thus Donner tries to hide the nose, but during training to become a Santa Youth the fake nose falls off, and everybody sees Rudolph's deformity. As a result Rudolph is alienated by his peers, and this causes him to run away.

Now the significance of the red nose is obvious. Rudolph has a red nose to show that he is like Joe McCarthy in that he can smell a Red a mile away. Thus unlike the other citizens of Christmas Town, Rudolph recognizes the dire situation of Communism, and thus chooses to escape from its iron grasp.

Herbie is an elf working in a government factory who fails to find satisfaction in his work. Herbie would much rather be a dentist, but he cannot open his own practice because free enterprise is prohibited in Christmas Town. Herbie is mocked by the other elves for not fitting in, and he escapes his loneliness by quitting his job and fleeing Christmas Town. It is not long before Herbie and Rudolph meet up with each other, and together they journey to find themselves and their identity.

On their journey Herbie and Rudolph meet up with Yukon Cornelius, a shifty capitalist looking to open the market in Christmas Town, and together they wind up in the Land of Misfit Toys. The Land of Misfit Toys symbolizes America, since in essence America is a country filled with people from all over the world who simply didn't fit in. However the three refugees are not permitted to stay in the Land of Misfit Toys because all the citizens there are afraid they would take away jobs and college scholarships. Now I always thought it would have been cool if the three were stranded in the cold wilderness and Herbie and Yukon had to eat some venison to survive, if you know what I mean. Call me sick, but I just think it would be ironic since Rudolph's father is named Donner. However the writers chose to go that happy ending route.

Meanwhile, through the whole story, there is this snow monster who reeks havoc throughout Christmas Town, and to Herbie, Rudolph, and Yukon. This snow monster represents a united Germany which is a enemy to both the communists and the non-communists. Of course in the end the snow monster, Germany, was tamed by Yukon, foreign capitalists. I don't know why this was thrown into the story, but it did help move the plot along nicely.

To make a long story short, the three return to Christmas town, Rudolph helps Santa and all the citizens see through the fog of communism, Yukon spreads capitalism, and Herbie opens up a dentistry (sorry I can't really think of anything romantic that Herbie symbolizes). Thus everybody lives happily ever after blah blah blah.

O.K. I'm done, are you convinced? Well either way, to conclude for this week: he knows if you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake, and he's knows if you've been bad or good- so you better be good or he'll cut off your pinkie and shift you off to Siberia.

For this week's special feature I give you the top ten things on Feff's Christmas list, since it is not too late for Feff's friends, family, or enemies to get them for him:

10. A woman
9. An acceptance letter from Princeton
8. A car that hops
7. A jump shot
6. About 5 more inches (I'm referring to my height, pervert!!)
5. More visitors to Feff World
4. A blimp (just to fly around in and stuff)
3. A three foot high afro
2. The WWF Intercontinental belt
1. Joe Hewitt's head on a platter :):):):)