Sunday, December 18, 2011


I really must protest in the strongest terms, the use of the carol Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, each Christmas. It is alarming that such content should be broadcast at all, but especially to young children—and, make no mistake—this carol is geared to our little ones.

At a time when provincial governments are introducing legislation to curb bullying, the behaviour of this gaggle of reindeer towards Rudolph is unconscionable. I have always understood reindeer to be gentle animals in need of preservation, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea with this reported behaviour.

According to the record, it was simply his difference to them, namely his peculiar nose, which caused them to scorn and ostracise him. If the report is correct, the reindeer laughed at him and called him names, unacceptable behaviour at any time, but indecent at this time of peace and love.

As if that wasn’t enough, they wouldn’t let poor old Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Clearly, they considered him an outsider, conforming insufficiently to their traditions and company—he was not one of them at all.

Rudolph’s stoic response stands out in clear contrast. We don’t hear a word from him of censure or complaint, although I’m not sure whether his absence of retort was loving regard for his erstwhile brothers and sisters, refusing to respond in kind, or he was simply cowed into silence.

There is also no record of Santa Claus intervening. Didn’t he know what was going on? If he chose to ignore it, he was complicit in the reindeers’ actions. Perhaps the magnanimous old fellow didn’t want to hurt their feelings, which wouldn’t help his authority. Donner and Blitzen may now be laughing at him!

If he did sense some awkwardness among the reindeer, perhaps he thought elevating Rudolph to a place of prominence, befitting his nose, would solve the problem. It certainly changed the reindeers’ appreciation of Rudolph, their behaviour changing from derision to adulation in a moment.

I can’t help feeling that this sudden change in attitude might not last. What will happen when age reduces the brightness of Rudolph’s nose and is no longer able to pierce the fog? Will Santa Claus abandon him again to the taunts of the others.

That idea may occur to Rudolph, but differently. Perhaps, if he can find a way to dull his nose—hide his light under a bushel, so to speak—the others would accept him after all. If so, he could teach us each a lesson for caving, er, fitting in to the crowd. Which Way to go Rudolph!?

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