December 9, 2011

"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" — a pro- or anti-bullying story?

If you said anti- because you think the bullied reindeer was ultimately incorporated into the group and valued, think again! Rudolph was only accepted because his idiosyncratic feature happened to prove useful to the group. Then all the reindeers loved him....

(Via Overlawyered.)

48 comments:

TWM said...

Neither. It was just a fun story. Damn those who have to ruin the most innocent of things for everyone.

Scott M said...

From Rudolph, according to his abilities. He already lived in a gulag. How much worse could it have gotten?

MadisonMan said...

Rudolph was accepted because he became famous. If he had labored, leading the sled in anonymity, you think Comet and Cupid would have shared the oats? No way.

The rest of the reindeers are just fame whores. I'm looking at you Blitzen.

TosaGuy said...

I am glad this issue is out there because it occupies several professors, who think they are smart, from using their middling minds on something of consequence and, thus, screwing it up.

Seven Machos said...

This is so true! I have railed against this story for years for this very reason.

Scott M said...

Doctor: Rudolph, we've finally figured out what makes your nose red.

Rudolph: Is it pixie dust or, or, leprechaun tails?

Doctor: No, it's a tumor.

Rudolph: You mean like a magical Christmas tumor?

Doctor: No, a malignant tumor the base of which is lodged deep in your brain.

Rudolph: Oh...like a happy, special-

Doctor: You're going to die.

DavidD said...

That's why I like Jack Johnson's version, which ends this way:

"But Rudolph, he didn't go for that. He said, 'I see through your silly games. How can you look me in the face when only yesterday you called me names?'

Then all the other reindeers, man, well they sure did feel ashamed. 'Rudolph, you know we're sorry, and we're really going to try to change.' "

themightypuck said...

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is about coming out.

rosebud said...

"You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen. But do you recall...the most famous reindeer of all?"

If Rudolph is the most famous reindeer of all, why is he the one you have to ask if we recall? That's like saying "Sure, you know all about Hayes, Taft, and Buchanan, but have you ever heard of a man named George Washington?"

Dan in Philly said...

It is neither a pro or anti bullying story - projecting such a message is the fallicy of this age. It is a story which trys to portray realistically how anyone different is treated. The current experiment in re-pregramming young boys against such behavior will likely work in the short term, but I wonder how these boys will react when, as men, they have to encounted bullies who ignore the nicities most have been trained out of.

I think it will be somewhat like the easy pickings the alpha men have with women these days - feminism has trained much of the maleness out of most men, so those who still are not afraid to act like men are as catnip to bored women craving that kind of thing and finding it all to infrequently. The feminists have reprogramed the moderate males and have thereby left the extreme alpha with even less competition and given them more power.

By doing a similar thing with bullies, they are only in the long run allowing those who are willing to embrace the social costs of being a bully to have more and more power, as no one will really know how to stand up to them. Where will this future equalibrium be reached, and will it result in a better or worse society? Time can only answer that question, since no one is really asking it right now.

Sigivald said...

"Reindeer are jerks" is the takeaway.

MayBee said...

I am so sick of this current craze to talk about bullying all the time.

A_Nonny_Mouse said...

Nah; the bully was a girl reindeer named Olive.

Remember, "Olive, the OTHER reindeer, used to laugh and call him names"....

Patrick said...

Jack Johnson does a version of Rudolph, more or less addressing this very issue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzCrdQXKx1U

Patrick said...

Oh God, ChipS is gonna HATE me for not reading the comments

Sorry Chip!

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I agree with Dr. Friday's particular diagnosis of this otherwise benign Christmas song.

Really, this type of 'analyses' is not useful. Next thing you know they'll be saying that playing records backwards...

Heart_Collector said...

Rudoph should have fucked all the does while the other males where out doing the christmas run and he could have taken sweet comfort in the knowledge that his was the new generation of reindeer.

timmaguire42 said...

It's a story of redemption. Don't forget the Island of Misfit Toys--there was a happy ending for them too.

No, that doesn't quite work, their deformities were not the result of character flaws.

How about this: it was a story invented by artists and copywriters at Hallmark to sell Christmas Cards?

Tibore said...

Oh, suuuuure. The Bumble captures others against their will, terrorizes anyone in sight, needs the dental equivalent of castration before he loses the anti-sociability, and was the one who actually put Rudolph and his friends in real mortal danger, but it's the reindeer who are bullies...

;)

Heart_Collector said...

Whats up with the silver and gold guy... 1%er? Jewish?

edutcher said...

The story is about the idea everybody has something of value to offer and people shouldn't be quick to make decisions.

Of course, Obama would be the exception.

Tibore said...

Keeping with the theme, I'm going to call Yukon Cornelius the George W. Bush of the show: He had a cheerful attitude, even under duress, stayed on message, and was not only the only one with the balls to confront the Abominable Snow Monster - a creature that everyone else avoided - when everyone else refused to do anything about it, but also got him working with the rest of society after the butt-kicking.

Yet, ask half of the world about him, and they'll label him as a simpleton instead of understanding him. :D

I'm tellin' ya: That show was prescient. ;)

Shanna said...

"Reindeer are jerks" is the takeaway.

Heh. I kind of agree in that it's basically 'kids are naturally cruel to people are different' story and the fact that in the end Rudolph saves the day is meant to try to tell the kids not to be cruel. We have to teach our kids manners or they'll be awful adults.

The reason Rudolph turns out to be useful and get accepted in the end is because it's a story and without the transformation it wouldn't go anywhere.

Triangle Man said...

Rudolph is much like the Thomas the Tank Engine stories. The fundamental question is always, "are you a really useful engine?"

Triangle Man said...

We have to teach our kids manners or they'll be awful adults.

True in general, but the story focuses on not being jerks to people who may be different than the rest. People may make valuable contributions in unexpected ways.

Triangle Man said...

I should have just said, "I agree with edutcher".

EDH said...

Teddy the Red-Nosed Senator

You know Hitler and Caesar and Agnew and Nixon
Stalin and Lenin and David the Clansman
But do you recall
The most famous politician of all

Teddy the red-nosed senator
Had a very shiny car
If you ever saw it
You were probably near a bar

All of the other senators
Wondered how he got his dames
They thought he drank too many
To play in any bedroom games

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say
Teddy with your nose so red
Won't you help me guide my sled

That's how the police found them
Wrapped around a maple tree
Teddy the red-nosed senator

He's a drunken S.O.B.

He's a drunken S.O.B.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"I should have just said, "I agree with edutcher"."

I agree.

Rumpletweezer said...

Mad TV's Raging Rudolph should satisfy those who think the reindeer and Santa ought to pay for the way they treated him. It's on Youtube.

Dan in Philly said...

" I kind of agree in that it's basically 'kids are naturally cruel to people are different' story and the fact that in the end Rudolph saves the day is meant to try to tell the kids not to be cruel."

I disagree with this. The message isn't directed to the bully reindeer, but to Rudolph. Human nature does not change, and if we legislate bullying out of the playground, we will have it elsewhere, and bullies will just get smarter and more subtle about how to do it.

The lesson is this: if you want to get along with others you can either try to be like them, or you can use ways in which you are different to your advantage. If this movie were made today, would the message really be any different?

Emperical evidence says NO: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Feet

ricpic said...

Hey, no one loves anyone else for themselves alone. It all boils down to usefulness. Even a wife. Even a child. Home is where when you've gotta go back there they've gotta take you back. But they don't gotta love you.

n.n said...

Neither. It's a story about recognizing and respecting individual dignity when it makes a positive contribution to society.

Leland said...

I've actually always saw Rudolph as lazy. I mean it took Santa having to come beg to get Rudolph to lead his sleigh. Finally, Rudolph decided to be a team player and the other Reindeers encouraged Rudolph's ego with talk about being written in history books. The reason most of us don't know the most famous reindeer of all, is because Rudolph didn't work as often as the others.

Joe Schmoe said...

Assumption: all the reindeer feel the same way about Rudolph. In reality, there were probably varying degrees of antipathy and sympathy among the herd. That's why it was easy to turn the group. Children are more unfiltered than cruel.

rcocean said...

The whole Rudolph story is just BS. What Santa never ran into foggy bad weather before Rudolph? He can deliver toys all over the world, except in fog? BS.

Anyway, here's the rest of the story. Rudolph got married and had a lot of red-nosed Reindeer. Pretty soon those red-nosed Reindeer got "Hate Laws" passed along with quotas that at least one red-nosed reindeer had to make a trip with Santa no matter what the weather.

The last report is that anyone calling someone a "red-nosed reindeer" is labeled anti-rednose and dismissed from polite society and from working with Santa.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeesh. First Bitch Magazine finds date rape in a wintery, Xmas love song and now this. What's next ? Santa has a big old hole in his trousers and that is where Rudolph sits when he rides in the sleigh?

Synova said...

They've got a horrible new version of this song on the playlist at work. Funny thing, I've never liked the Rudolph story and always thought about the horrible other reindeer and what jerks they were, but for some reason today I all of a sudden saw the song as a song of hope and accomplishment. Rudolph didn't have to stay isolated, he could do something about it and have a triumph.

It was a very strange moment.

traditionalguy said...

Every social group/family assigns the outcast role to keep the others happy that they are accepted. Doing heroic acts seldom changes opinions since they need them to fell good.

Rudolph's need to go find them another social group/family. Santa and his reindeer posse can just do it themselves.

andinista said...

andinista wz oly acepto cuz hzz txlingo provd valual to d group, taut em to talk cool in d 21Cen. Den, all d blogrzz <333 him big-tiimmm. B4, tho, dey hate im cuz lernin txlingo izz d suxxorr.

Joe Schmoe said...

Wait a minute. I haven't seen Rudolph yet this year, but weren't the younger reindeer just following the lead of the Coach Reindeer? (The adult reindeer with the whistle.) If memory serves he was the one with the rash reaction to Rudolph's nose. If so, shouldn't we be castigating that guy? Instead of bullying, it becomes a story about prejudice and bigotry, another favorite lefty meme.

Gene said...

I'm waiting for the next new thing we fragile souls have to protected against--probably they'll coin a new word to describe it--testosterego. This will be called excess self-worth fueled by too much testosterone.

The solution, no doubt, will be mandatory injections of estrogen. Perhaps even prenatally if the fetus is determined to be male.

Mary Beth said...

Once again adults are sucking the fun out of things children love.

William said...

Ironically, after acceptance by the other reindeer, Rudolph gave up drinking and lost his red nose.

rcocean said...

Strangely, after leaving the Communist Party, along with Burl Ives, Rudolph lost his red nose.

Later, to get a job on TV, and to keep Liberals happy, he rejoined the reds.

No Name said...

So Santa's sled team is a meritocracy. No free rides, no feather-bedded slots. i like it.

SGT Ted said...

The mOral of the story is:

Shut the fuck up you idiot "educators" and let my grandkids enjoy a TV Christmas tradition without you inserting your idiocy where it isn't appropriate. Go molest your own kids minds with your stupid politics and leave mine out of it. You obsessive weirdos.

EMD said...

Is there a 'let's overthink stuff" tag? Because there should be.

EMD said...

I suppose the story teaches kids that bullying someone because they are different from you is not cool and that people different from you may have some worth to society, unlike those Down Syndrome reindeer they euthanize behind the scenes.