Reindear

So it's come to this: I'm the fluffy homo who thinks everybody's gay. I knew it would happen sooner or later; you can only watch The Wizard of Oz so many times before you start claiming that all the colorless drones around you are actually fabulously Technicolored characters out to supply you with great shoes and show you a good time in the city. I might as well settle down with a bunch of cats, don a fuzzy sweater, and order some fruity cocktail at the local cabaret lounge 'cause it's all over for me socially. No one wants to hang with the guy who swears something is going on between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor on Smallville. Readers have only just recently calmed down about my assertion that those Lord of the Rings hobbits really took the fellowship bit to heart. Now it's the Christmas season, and all I'm bursting to do is "out" that faggoty Rudolph.

Don't pretend the allegation surprises you. The animated puppet special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, and you're a damn liar if you tell me you haven't spent at least 20 of those years secretly acknowledging that Rudy was a little light in the hooves. "Why am I such a misfit?" Rudolph sings mournfully, "Why don't I fit in?" It's become hip to joke about the proclivities of his pal, Hermey, the mincing elf who'd rather be a dentist, but no one dares touch Rudolph, either because they're distracted by his friendship with that fag hag fawn Clarice or, more likely, because it's sacrilege to note that one of the most beloved characters of a Christian holiday is an iconic flamer. I mean, really—that nose is on fire.

It's all right there in front of you, laid out as carefully as toupees in Elton John's dressing room: The flamboyant uniqueness of the delicate son; the awkwardness at sports; the boys who won't let him join in those games; the doting mother; the gruff, embarrassed father; the sympathetic gal pal; the belief that things will be better away from home; the instant bond with the aforementioned diminutive pansy; the success that arrives only when our hero is allowed to display his true colors in front of a team of indistinguishable bucks. Please. (And while we're calling a spade a spade, let's rat Santa out as the do-nothing bastard he is: He should make venison of Rudolph's tormentors, but all he's concerned about is his damn sleigh. Man, would I have forced the Fat Man to pay before agreeing to any dangerous nighttime flight.)

An upcoming CBS celebration of the special's anniversary airs a clip of a musical number cut from the show, a reprise of Rudolph's famous "misfit" song. Hermey, emboldened by the reindeer's company, chirps, "Hey, whaddya say we both become independent together?" and the pair launches into the tune, this time joyfully, triumphantly. It's the kind of moment that sends the solitary minds of little gay boys everywhere into hopeful contemplation.

An NPR piece recently tracked down Billie Mae Richards, the now 83-year-old Canuck woman who served as Rudolph's voice. Her take on the material? "Rudolph is a nice Canadian boy," she says. I rest my case.

swiecking@seattleweekly.com

 
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