On Rudolph

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.

Love,
Sock Girl

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6 Responses to “On Rudolph”


  1. 1 Lauri December 24, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Well said. That’s always bothered me too. I’m also not happy with sexism. But the bullying, the not accepting any difference – until said difference turns out to be a benefit for them…. ack!

  2. 2 tpgoddess0103 December 25, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Yeah, always hated that too. Noticed it particularly while we watched this year. Love that Doolittle knows when you will blog about something!

    Merry Christmas Mrs Sock. There are a lot of us out here crossing all sorts of appendages in the hope that 2009 brings you what you need.

    Hugs

  3. 3 heidilou December 25, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Ya know, you’re right! I haven’t watched that movie in many years, but now I remember it. It was pretty disturbing.

  4. 4 Doc Thelma December 26, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    You’d like this: it was written by the sister of a good friend of mine.

    http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/openletters/7rudolph.html

    For me, it was always the end of Wizard of Oz that bothered me. Yo, Dorothy, you didn’t run away just because you were bored at home. You ran away because the mean lady on the bicycle was going to kill Toto! You just going to hand him over to her and rejoice that you’re “home?”

    Or are we to presume she died in the tornado, like the witch?

    My dad was always bugged that Potter got away with the $8000. He loved the SNL “lost ending: sketch where George and Mary beat him up.

  5. 5 Tanya December 27, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Yes! Great observations and well-written. In addition to the Rudolph abuse (don’t get me started on the island of misfit toys!) I also had a very difficult time watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” this year. Man, his friends, family and peers are HARSH!! What on Earth did Charlie Brown do to deserve being outcast that way? His dog receives more respect than he does. I know that is part of his character development, but come on, folks! Nobody deserves that kind of alienation. And yes, I’m sensitive these days given I have two children who don’t fit societal expectations of the norm. Painful to watch, I tell ya! Painful to live as well…

  6. 6 Janet January 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    YES YES YES YES!!!! Santa Claus alone was completely wrong in that whole movie, much less his own father (although most of the coaches I had were like that one). And then there’s the whole problem of he wasn’t accepted until he could do something useful for everybody.
    Pfft.


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