Rudolph: shunned, bullied, exploited

The Christmas season tests my patience in many ways. My taste in music and an unfortunate habit of listening… really listening… to lyrics are an example.

rudolph-le-renne-au-nez-rouge02-gConsider Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The unfortunate title character is shunned and mocked by his peers because his nose is different. After Santa, in a desperate emergency, forces Rudolph to lead the sleigh through the dangers of a foggy night flight, he becomes a hero, a celebrity, and popular with the others.

Happy ending? I think NOT! What kind of lesson does this teach children? That it’s acceptable to act like an arrogant little bully unless your victim is a favourite with a powerful grownup? Then you must become a hypocritcal sycophant, a member of the fan club!

And the victim turned hero thinks this is acceptable… the annual exploitation of of his abnormality and gullibility in return for apparent acceptance by false friends who will support him as long as he is useful to someone else.

Our schools now profess zero tolerance to bullying and playground violence. Rudolph should not be sung in any classroom, or acted out in a skit  unless the class discussed the social problem and made significant edits. Better perhaps, to tear the page out of the song book and forget it!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names;
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

Then how the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
You’ll go down in history.

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