Matt Vespa: When it comes to entertainment, I’m really not in the cultural conservative camp. I watch what I want to watch, whether that is Game of Thrones or Rocko’s Modern Life. Yes, I like action movies. Yes, I like bloody horror films. Yes, the bloodier and gorier, the better in that category. Around Christmas time, yes, I will confess I sometimes watch a Hallmark Christmas movie. They’re cheesy. All aspects about it are too good to be true, but to get into the season and to take a break from my usual viewing of graphic violence, I’ve seen worse. Apparently, though—it’s very problematic because everyone is white, there are no feminists, no Muslims, and the male leads have white nationalist haircuts—whatever that means. It’s your typical contrarian drivel from Slate, a Washington Post-affiliated site. Oh, and the areas with the strongest viewership are in states where Trump won. I smell collusion. I smell propaganda, right? No, I actually don’t because I’m not a progressive, but the analysis is quite entertaining [emphasis mine]:
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. 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. Real and fictional heartland small towns with names such as Evergreen and Cookie Jar are as thriving as their own small businesses, and even a high school art teacher (played by Trump supporter and the face of Hallmark, Candace Cameron Bure) can afford a lavishly renovated Colonial home. They brim with white heterosexuals who exclusively, emphatically, and endlessly bellow “Merry Christmas” to every lumberjack and labradoodle they pass. They’re 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.
Okay—well, moving beyond the moronic question why aren’t there any Muslims in a Christmas movie, some parts of this breakdown are true, like the implausible plots of some of these films. Yet, everything else is just total crap. Not in the sense that it’s wrong, but who cares? Honestly, who the hell cares if Santa Claus is white? As a person of color, I couldn’t care less. Santa is an old white guy who brings joy to millions of children of all races and creeds on Christmas, or so the legend says. It’s about spending time with your family, gift-giving, and a reflection of what you’re thankful for as the year comes to a close—NOT wondering why there aren’t any feminists in the friggin’ Christmas village. Not everything has propagandistic intent. Not everything is for a sociopolitical analysis. Not everything is political, but this is the Left. They will make you care, they will ruin your Christmas to talk about white privilege and other nonsense, and they will break you and beat you until you submit; until everyone is on their side of the arc of history and as equally miserable as they are in life. So, I’m not a die-hard Hallmark fan, but because of this—yes, I will watch a few more of this network’s movies, no matter how embarrassing they are. Well, maybe after Home Alone and Die Hard—the best Christmas movie of all time.
Hallmark is problematic now; the Left loves those bath salts, huh?