Apparently this year is the first year since 1971 that all of Canada will have a White Christmas (“White” being defined as at least 2 cm of snow by the weather chanel). And here we sit in Prince Edward Island waiting for more snow Christmas Eve, followed by rain or freezing rain later, probably Christmas.
But this post is not about the weather, per se. No, this post is about the most famous reindeer of all…
You see, something has always bothered me about the entire Rudolph story. It didn’t sit well. It was upsetting, rather than uplifting. And really, shouldn’t a story about the underdog rising to hero be uplifting to a kid? But I’ve never actually voiced any objections, probably not having the language to do so, until I sat down and watched it with my girls tonight.
The story starts with a newborn Rudolph, whose father Donner, is not at all pleased that his nose glows. Enter Santa, Rudolph’s future boss, who solidly declares that he will never pull Santa’s sleigh with a nose like that. Follow this by attempts by his father to cover up his physical anomaly with some kind of nose squeezing disguise, shunning by most other reindeer, the reindeer coach kicking him out of the reindeer games, and on and on. It is only by proving some use to the team does the story ever seem to resolve into global acceptance.
And as I ranted about this out loud to my girls, to ensure that they received the message about how unacceptable this all was, Dolittle looked at me and said, “You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you.” And of course, she was right.
You see, to me, the most unacceptable part was the initial rejection from Santa, the father, and the coach. These are characters who should have had unconditional acceptance of Rudolph. “All of the other reindeer” included those characters. They were adults… characters in positions of authority… who acted as bullies to those who were different, instead of role models of appropriate acceptance. And while I realize this is a legend, to me it is morbid storytelling, and for the life of me I cannot understand how someone would think it would make a marvelous tale that should be sung about for years to come. And by singing about it, aren’t we saying that bullying is ok as long as eventually everything works out in the end? Because it really is not ok. Not ever.
So, because we are expecting more snow tonight, I have no doubt Rudolph will be leading the team again this year. I will personally leave the dear boy a special carrot because I too have had a boss that was a bully, and I know how much that stinks. Rudolph, I hope things are going well for you now. And that things have really changed for you and for all those who dare to be unique up in the North Pole.