Slate.com is proving that those who believe that far-left progressives have their own brand of puritanism have a point.
This puritanism largely, but not totally (because we can never forget their fervent desire to serve as everyone's Thought Police), explains the website's recent ridiculous attacks on the TV show Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and on the Hallmark Channel's runaway success with Christmas-themed movies.
It didn't look like it was going to go this way in late October, when the website's Tierney Bricker positively covered Hallmark's plans for the last two months of the year (bolds are mine throughout this post):
"We Own Christmas": How The Hallmark Channel Found Massive Success With the Holiday Spirit
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas—on The Hallmark Channel, anyway.
The network kicks off "Countdown to Christmas," its annual round-the-clock holiday programming event, tonight with the premiere of Marry Me at Christmas, the first of 21 new original movies set to debut during 2017's festive line-up. When it comes to holiday programming, Hallmark gives and receives, as it provides its tradition-loving audience an endless supply of Christmas cheer to enjoy from Halloween through New Year's Eve, while consistently breaking their own ratings records in the process. Leaning into their seasonal programming made Hallmark Channel the highest-rated cable network among women ages 25 to 54 (aka the demo every advertiser wants to see underneath their tree) in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The Hallmark Channel's goal with "Countdown to Christmas," which launched in 2011 after airing their first original holiday movie in 2000, was "creating a destination and understanding this appetite" for seasonal fare, Bill Abbott, CEO of Hallmark Channel, said, noting the channel acts as a "safe space, a feel-good space" in a marketplace that has gone "past the point of edgy."
Tierney's work featured several positive comments from viewers who heavily consume Hallmark's Christmas fare.
Unfortunately, Abbott's "safe space, a feel-good space" comment triggered Zachary Jason, a Boston-based writer who "has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Guardian, and the Boston Globe," and apparently rarely writes for Slate.
Jason went after the Hallmark Channel on December 15 (HT Rush Limbaugh) by dragging in virtually every leftist hot-button there is, including but not limited to Donald Trump, the presidential electoral map, race, sexism, diversity, and even white nationalism:
The Hallmark Channel’s 21-movie fusillade in the War on Christmas is a ratings sensation. I’m watching it all to find out why.
At a rally in November 2015, Donald Trump heralded, “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, that I can tell you.” Of all his empty guarantees, the president has perhaps fulfilled none better than a counterstrike in the War on Christmas, and no battalion has fired more rooty-toot artillery for him than the Hallmark Channel. In 2017, the network is premiering 21 original Christmas movies (up from 20 last year)—42 hours of sugary, sexist, preposterously plotted, plot hole–festooned, belligerently traditional, ecstatically Caucasian cheer. To observe the first holiday season under the Trump administration, I’m bearing witness to them all.
Hallmark Channel, owned by the Kansas City, Missouri–based greeting-card giant, has boomed since Trump began campaigning. In 2016, Hallmark was the only top-15 entertainment channel with double-digit ratings growth, and viewership has jumped another 16 percent this year. (Jason failed to mention that 2015 was also a record year for Hallmark — Ed.) Meanwhile, Hallmark’s Christmas programming, which this year began before Halloween, generates more than 30 percent of its annual ad revenue and has helped Hallmark become the season’s highest-rated cable network among women aged 25–54. More than 70 million Americans watched Hallmark Channel Christmas movies last year.
The network has already approached that number in 2017, with three weeks and five premieres remaining. And the network’s strongholds map to Trump’s Electoral College victories.
After watching a few of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas films, the network’s burgeoning red-state appeal comes into focus. As much as these movies offer giddy, predictable escapes from Trumpian chaos, they all depict a fantasy world in which America has been Made Great Again. ... (Plots are) centered on beauty-pageant heroines and strong-jawed heroes with white-nationalist haircuts. There are occasional sightings of Christmas sweater–wearing black people, but they exist only to cheer on the dreams of the white leads, and everyone on Trump’s naughty list—Muslims, gay people, feminists—has never crossed the snowcapped green-screen mountains to taint these quaint Christmas villages. “Santa Just Is White” seems to be etched into every Hallmark movie’s town seal.
It's amazing to see how Trump manages to live rent-free and take up nearly all the space in so many leftists' heads.
Abbott has said that Hallmark Channel aims to build a “safe space” in a TV market that has gone “past the point of edgy.”
How dare he? (Notice how Jason left out "a feel-good space," the better-described element of Abbott's October quote.)
One competitive advantage the "safe space" Hallmark Channel has is that it is one of a very few channels which can be left on all day without adults worrying about what kids or grandkids might see or hear.
While G-rated, every Hallmark movie contains many shots that lovingly capture the burning eroticism the birth of our savior ignites—a tongue quivering for eggnog, lips biting at the sight of a man setting an angel atop the tree, orgasm at the assemblage of a train set.
That's enough insulting sarcasm. It would appear that Zachary Jason desperately needs to get a life.
Meanwhile, Slate's Christina Cauterucci needs to get a grip.
You really have to be desperate for a topic if you decide you need to devote nearly 1,100 words to going after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for a number of politically incorrect offenses, as Cauterucci did on Thursday:
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Is Your Latest Problematic Fave
For generations, ever since the story was written as a poem in 1939 and popularized as a song a decade later, Rudolph’s lesson was interpreted more simply: Don’t make fun of people who are different, because everyone has something to offer.
She should have stopped there, because that's really all there is to it. But of course not:
... Rudolph “doesn't want to teach you kindness or charity, or any of that crap; it only wants to teach you spite and how to commit hate crimes,” claimed a blogger in 2010.
... In 2013, Michael Schaffer argued in the New Republic that the story “presents a fairly grim, Hobbesian vision of society: If you want to be accepted, you have to prove your economic utility—which, in the case of magical flying reindeer, appears to only involve the annual sleigh-pull.”
... After an older Rudolph’s nose cover-up falls off in public, revealing its red glow, Santa tells Donner he “should be ashamed” of himself for raising such a son. (This interaction is one of the clearest bits of evidence that the whole tale is an allegory for being gay in a homophobic society.)
For readers who are begging, "Please make it stop," I will.
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Articles like the two discussed here exemplify what you get when you force everything to be seen through a political prism.
How miserable these people must be.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.