Some Suggested Tweaks to Tucker Carlson’s Rant About “Gingerbread People”

A hand holds up a gingerbread human-shaped cookie with the letter P on its torso.
“P” is for “person.” Pietro De Grandi on Unsplash

Extremely normal and well-adjusted Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired a segment on cookies Tuesday night, inspired by reports that a baker in Scotland cooked up some gingerbread “people” instead of gingerbread “men.”

After consulting with the world’s top 2,000 gender-studies professors, I have determined that cookies are neither people nor men. You wouldn’t know that from watching Carlson’s show, which treated the Scottish dessert scenario as an urgent threat deserving of concerted right-wing resistance. Carlson’s guest, right-wing radio host Tammy Bruce, called gingerbread men a “target” of “the left’s culture bullies.” Carlson himself situated the gingerbread people within the greater “war on Christmas,” a “global struggle … being fought very fiercely here in America, but not just in America.”

Given that this multifront war on Yuletide does not actually exist, some might argue that Carlson’s concern trolling should be ignored. Nonsense! Here’s a comprehensive rundown of all the logical pitfalls he and Bruce stumbled into in their 3½-minute segment.

1. De-gendering gingerbread men is not a tactic of the war on Christmas, but of the war on men. No one is forcing gingerbread cookies to take down their gingerbread Christmas trees or to wish other treats “Happy holidays” with their little gumdrop mouths. They are free to exercise their religious freedom and vocally celebrate the birth of Christ, as long as they renounce both their manhood and their masculinity.

2. Carlson says leftists “don’t want to give [cookies] a gender without their consent.” Nice use of a scary buzzword, but gingerbread cookies have no bodily autonomy. They’re made for eating. And didn’t you see Shrek?! They can feel pain!

3. “You don’t even want to know how many bathrooms there are now in gingerbread houses. A lot,” Carlson said of the gender-neutral cookies. A few seconds later, Bruce repeated the point: “I’m starting to think about the complicated structure of gingerbread houses. … I wonder, how many bathrooms can they get into one house?” This is a willful misunderstanding of the bathroom needs of gingerbread cookies, which produce no excrement. Besides, any crumbs they do defecate are sanitary and edible. Secondly, if all gingerbread people in a house are gender-neutral, they can all use the same gender-neutral bathroom. (They can also do so when there are gingerbread men in the mix, because gender-neutral restrooms accept all genders, especially now that gingerbread people have all abandoned maleness, leaving no right-wing gingerbread men left to complain that they don’t want to use the same toilet as gingerbread women and nonbinary cookies.)

4. By Bruce’s own account, the Scottish baker making gingerbread people began to do so on “a whim,” then was surprised by the resulting “backlash.” This is not a tale of angry leftists and feminists enforcing a politically correct world of genderlessness. This is about cranky conservatives directing disproportionate anger at one baker who noticed that cookies don’t have inherent genders. No one’s mad at bakeries that produce gingerbread men, raspberry thumbprint girls, male éclairs, or lady cannoli. The only people trying to enforce an imaginary gender policy on baked goods are coming from the right.

5. Bruce claims she “couldn’t tell” whether the gingerbread cookies in question were men, “because they’re also not wearing clothes, so it’s hard to say what it is that they are and what they’re doing and what they’re not doing.” It’s super progressive of her to note that a gingerbread cookie’s genitals (which you’d totally be able to see if it wasn’t wearing clothes) do not determine its gender, but she should recognize that its gender presentation (clothes) may also bear no relation to its gender identity.

6. As another example of the war on Christmas/war on men, Bruce presents the case of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which a Kentucky radio station played on a loop for two hours in response to an Ohio radio station declining to play the controversial song. “Obviously, Kentucky, for two hours on Sunday, was nirvana,” Bruce said of listening to the same song for two hours straight. False—it was Dean Martin.

7. Furthermore, Bruce has missed the memo on the current feminist discourse around “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Tired: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is about sexual coercion. Wired: In its proper historical context, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a sex-positive anthem about a woman recognizing, and rebelling against, the social conventions that prevent women from aggressively seeking sexual pleasure, e.g., “at least I’m gonna say that I tried [to rebuff his advances].”

8. At the end of the segment, Carlson encourages conservatives to refuse to participate in their own “spiritual neutering.” “We should, at every step along the way, say, ‘I’m not complying with that,’ ” he says. “Call HR on me, I’m not doing it.” No employee is going to file a human resources complaint against Carlson for insisting on calling cookies men. They would, however, have good cause to do so if he continues to use the phrase “spiritual neutering,” which is gross.