An Ayn Rand Christmas
I currently work in retail, and so at 11AM last Thursday, I was greeted with the unfortunate realization that the store’s Muzak began playing Christmas music. Being present for over 30 hours a week in said store while presented with a limited range of tunes to play (and replay) does not bode well for me in the coming weeks.
One observation came to me while I listened to a fifth rendition of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” yesterday. The story of Rudolph, that is, the Rankin/Bass stop motion production that most people are familiar with, is one where utilization is everything, and those who can’t contribute according to society’s norms are cast out into the abyss. Or in this case, the Island of Misfit Toys.
To bring up another specter of childhood, Thomas the Tank Engine has the same kind of mentality as well. Trains that are not longer useful are cast out. Sent to scrap. Obliterated. Being useless is one of the deepest fears in the show, one that prides good hard work above everything else, to the detriment of the outcasts.
The problem with such an ideology is its support of a harsh ableism that diminishes the humanity of the disabled and others outside the typical daily grind of capitalism. It gets quite insidious when you think how these narratives are repeated every Holiday season. It’s not just the text itself, but the ritualization that worries me. For more, I found a decent write up on “The Subtext of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” here.
And if there are any Christmas specials where dominant work ideology is critiqued, please let me know. And no, The Christmas Shoes doesn’t count.