by Catherine Smith
Amanda Marcotte, a feminist writer for liberal news and opinion site Salon argued “Hallmark movies are fascist propaganda” in an op-ed written on Christmas day. She followed up her attack on Christians who wish each other “Merry Christmas,” by directly comparing Hallmark Channel Christmas specials to Nazi propaganda, The Blaze reports.
In the op-ed, writer Marcotte seeks to expose the dangers of the “empty-headed kitsch” that is Hallmark holiday film.
“There’s plenty of reason that empty-headed kitsch fits neatly in the authoritarian worldview,” she writes. “It’s storytelling that imitates the gestures of emotion without actually engaging with real feeling. The Hallmark movie steers clear of the real passion or deeper emotion that tends to be the engine driving more artful fiction. Characters who have real feelings, after all, can prompt empathetic reactions in the audience, and empathy for others is the greatest single threat to the authoritarian mindset. And so schmaltz walks through the paces of ‘love’ without touching on any of the messy but compelling realities of it.”
This guiding hand of “normalcy’ drives the narratives – “and unsurprisingly, that idea of ‘normalcy’ doesn’t have a lot of room for the true diversity of American experiences.”
ICYMI because you were enjoying the holiday: My piece analyzing the way empty kitsch like Hallmark movies works as fascist propaganda (which is why conservatives say it belongs to them). https://t.co/BpiVHSM5jX
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) December 26, 2019
Watching the family friendly channel’s holiday programming is like taking “a trip into an uncanny valley of shiny-teethed, blow-dried heteronormative whiteness, with only a few token movies with characters of color,” Marcotte said.
Hallmark movies “constitute the platonic ideal of fascist propaganda.”
Marcotte likens the present-day Hallmark films and the films approved for viewing in Nazi Germany:
That is probably a startling statement to some. When most of us think about fascistically propagandistic movies, we think of the grotesque grandeur of Leni Riefenstahl’s films celebrating the Third Reich — grand, but cold sweeping shots of soldiers goose-stepping and flags waving, all meant to inspire awe and terror. But the reality is, even in Nazi Germany, the majority of movies approved by the Nazi minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, were escapist and feather-light, with a Hallmark movie-style emphasis on the importance of “normality.”
She predictably swipes at conservatives, Nazi Germany and the Trump presidency.
“Hallmark movies, with their emphasis on returning home and the pleasures of the small, domestic life, also send a not-at-all subtle signal of disdain for cosmopolitanism and curiosity about the larger world, which is exactly the sort of attitude that helps breed the kind of defensive white nationalism that we see growing in strength in the Donald Trump era,” Mancotte writes.
Mancotte continues to say, “If you don’t believe me, listen to authoritarians themselves. At the Federalist, which is ground zero website for generating frankly fascist “culture war” arguments, Hans Fiene (a Lutheran pastor) argues that, “culturally speaking, Hallmark Christmas movies are noticeably Christian.”
In a recent interview, Hallmark Channel chief executive Bill Abbott signaled that the company is “open” to making gay Christmas movies. Then, earlier this month, the channel came under fire for pulling an ad that portrayed a same-sex wedding. Soon after the company apologized and began running the ad again.
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Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.