You’d be forgiven for noting an extra pinch of Grinch this holiday season.
Once-cherished December fixtures have faced newfound scorn: Christmas classic film “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was called “seriously problematic” over allegations of bigotry and bullying in the plot. Candy canes were banned by one school principal. The perennial debate over the (admittedly creepy) “Baby It’s Cold Outside” has flared anew. When Sully the service dog captured America’s hearts with his striking pose by President George H.W. Bush’s casket, a moment of warmth that bridged the political divide, we were sternly reminded dogs are not accountable for their actions and sometimes eat their owners.
Even eggs – you can’t make latkes or fruitcake without them – were deemed off-limits by PETA.
But here’s the good news: There’s more still to ruin about the holidays.
Even if “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” survives this round of PC vetting and ultimately is allowed to stay in the holiday rotation, several other traditions will have to be dealt with.
Let’s start with “A Christmas Story.”
This celebration of gun culture has no place in the modern age. I’m not saying we must abandon the film – but at the least, it should be re-made. Ralphie’s pursuit of his coveted Red Ryder BB Gun could be replaced with, say, letters to Santa asking for equal pay. The movie, as structured, raises all manner of other “problematic” questions: Why does The Old Man have to be the breadwinner? What’s wrong with wearing a pink bunny outfit? And don’t get me started on the Chinese restaurant scene.
But wait, there’s more.
The problems with “White Christmas” need not be explained. They are self-evident.
The game of dreidel, I can tell you from experience, evokes an all-or-nothing strain of capitalism that is out of step with the political mores of our time.
Which brings us to Mistletoe, a weed we’ve let shatter the norms of consent. This holiday season, join me in saying Mistle-No.
What about snowmen? And sleds? I’m not sure why, but they strike me as problematic too.
I’ll attack just one more holiday shibboleth: Mr. Plow.
At first blush, it’s a harmless “Simpsons” episode on the rivalry between Homer and Barney for control of Springfield’s snow-plowing market. And I know – “The Simpsons” already is dealing with grief over its Apu character. But while I think Hank Azaria should be forced to endlessly watch “The Birdcage” and its cultural insensitivities “Clockwork Orange”-style for his voice-acting sins, why stop at denouncing characters when we can banish entire episodes?
Beneath the surface of Mr. Plow, after all, is a subversive cry for privatizing the functions of local government.
So by all means, break out the nog.
Cue the Pentatonix.
Put up a (biodegradable-or-compostable-synthetic) Christmas tree.