Santa and his reindeer

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Scoot: Does “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” encourage shaming and bullying?

December 05, 2019 - 12:38 pm

“Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” has been part of family TV viewing during the holiday season since 1964.  Nowadays, however, social media has become a platform for analyzing, judging and condemning the stop motion holiday classic.

Condemnation of “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” sparked last year and has resurfaced this year, too. Comments on social media included criticism of Rudolph’s father shaming him for having a red nose and the school coach appears to encourage the bullying of Rudolph because he’s different.

Another social media post explained that the story of Rudolph is a parable on racism and homophobia with Santa as a “bigoted exploitative p***k!”

Criticism of “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a continuation of the trend of overly sensitive people deriving a sense of power through the condemnation of an innocent holiday story. It should be disturbing to everyone that the innocence of our past is being judged by current-day standards.

Last year, Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted: “Liberalism is a disease.”

It is fair to point out that many of the efforts of the politically correct police represent the epitome of the liberal concept that everything must be fair and equal. While I support total equality, regardless of the group, the sensitivity over protecting everyone’s feelings creates unrealistic expectations of the real world.

While equality is an important aspect of the foundation upon which America was built, there are limits to the concept of everything being equal. There will always be those who are bigger, stronger, prettier and richer and that is because every person is created differently with different talents, abilities and different perspectives on life, in general.

The important part of equality is that everyone – regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. – has equal opportunities in life and that no one faces unfair discrimination; but the expectation of total equality in every facet of life is unrealistic.

One of the problems today is the tendency by many to judge past entertainment based on today’s norms. There are reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” that are currently airing where Andy lights up and smokes cigarettes. In nearly every episode of “Leave It To Beaver” currently in reruns, there are multiple references to the common fear of the kids being beaten by their fathers. If we were to judge those classic shows by what is acceptable today – neither of those shows and countless other shows would ever be allowed in reruns.

The condemnation of “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is part of a disturbing trend in America, and the ultimate message is lost. Rudolph was different – like many kids – but Rudolph persevered through the bullying.  Then one day his unique talent was appreciated, and Rudolph became the unlikely hero.

The story of Rudolph does not teach bullying or shaming – it teaches us that those who bully and shame others do not have the power to determine who we are in life.

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