While stalking people on Facebook last week, I noticed a status update from a good friend from college. It really stuck with me and I had to find out more of his thoughts on the particular subject. The original status read, "It's one of my favorite holiday traditions - calling Santa a damn bigot on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Umm, what??? Santa, a damn bigot??? That just didn't sit well. So, I chatted up my friend RB and asked what on the good green earth he meant by his statement. Here, in full detail, is the conversation that followed...
Me: Ok. So, you watched it with your kids, right? Now, why on earth would you say that Santa is a damn bigot???
RB: Let's break it down... What is the first thing Santa does to Rudolph? He comes in when the kid is like an hour old and mocks him for having a red nose. What if had Down's Syndrome? What if he had a cleft palate? I suppose Jolly Ol' St. Nick would probably harass him for that, too.
me: hahahaha! You know, I never thought of it like that.
RB: Then - to top it off - he kicks Rudolph's parents while they're down, too. Here they are, wondering how they're going to raise a child that is different, and then their hero (and boss) comes in and says "Jesus Christ! How could you make such a monster?" Imagine if your boss came by to look at your new son - and said "Holy hell! That thing is a monster! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"
Me: True, I would not want my boss to come in and say that. He IS a damn bigot!!!
RB: Now - give Donner some of the blame, here. He should've stuck up for his son, but due to the probable deity-like reverence that the reindeer have for Santa, I can understand why he'd want to please the big man in red.
Me: True. It's like, "sorry, son. not gonna love ya if the big man doesn't." But, it isn't just the fat man. What about Comet, when he is running the reindeer games? He practically poos in his pants when Rudolf's fake nose comes off.
RB: It's not just Santa, for sure - Rudy's new buddy Fireball is understandably freaked out by the deformity and reacts accordingly. Comet (the Reindeer Games coach) is a **** (expletive that rhymes with stick), though. But I envision Santa as the "iron fist in a velvet glove" ruler - like if the reindeer don't do what he says, he looks at them and says "If you don't like, I have one word for all of you - venison!"
Me: Mmmmm...Reindeer stew. Well, not sure if you noticed, but he passed on his prejudiced to the reindeer in other ways. When they logger man (what the hell is his name?) goes over the cliff with Abominable Snowman, they are like, "Oh we are so sad, but the 'little ladies' can't stand this cold. we best get their weak-asses home."
RB: You are referring to Yukon Cornelius, the greatest prospector in the north. And yes - there are several instances of misogyny in Rudy - I mean, hell, they even say "You women can't go! This is man's work!"
Me: I know, right??? What the hell are we teaching our kids, anyway? Hey kids, Christmas is all about putting down women and treating "different" people like crap. And if you don't like it, well, no presents from Santa!
RB: But check out the all men in this children's classic - [RB, I simply can't use your words to describe Santa here, so instead, I will insert my own] slightly bigoted, chubby man who wants to rule the reindeer and force children around the world to be "good" (Santa), overbearing loudmouth boss (head elf), a father you can never please (Donner), a coach who singles out the weak and makes them feel inferior (Comet) and a flesh-eating snowman.
I can support Clarice's father's opinion of Rudolph, though - as a father to a little girl myself, I don't care what the little bugger looks like - just get the hell away from my daughter. That philosophy will stand until the day I'm in the cold, cold ground.
Me: I think Bowser would have to agree with you on that last point.
RB: So then - what happens at the end? The male chauvinist Donner gets his butt handed to him by the Snowman, and depends on his deformed son to rescue him. And then Santa realizes "Hey! Maybe I can benefit from the freak's malady! Time to exploit the mutant!"
If you want a textbook reaction on how we should teach our kids how to act, look to Clarice, Rudolph's new girlfriend.
Me: More people should be like Clarice, I agree. Do you think that when this was made it was only perfectly handsome Don Draper type men in charge? Or were they all just doing lots of drugs?
RB: Scotch and cigarettes used to sponsor the show.
Me: I also feel bad for the little elf that wants to be a dentist, too. I mean, with all those damn sweets the elves eat, you would think they would want SOMEONE to take care of their teeth. Not to mention the fact that if one of my children wanted to be a dentist, I would be rather proud.
RB: There's job security in being a dentist - especially if you're the only one in town.
Me: Oh, and even the Misfits on the Island won't accept them because they aren't TOY misfits.
RB: Don't get me started on the Misfit Toys. "We're going to exclude you and banish you - but hey, put a good word in to Santa for us, would you?"
Me: I know, right? Like we may be deformed, but you are SUPER freaks. We might like you if you help us get in with the popular crowd (ie: Santa and his gang)
RB: That Flying Lion King (King Moonracer) is like the bouncer at a crappy club - nobody wants to go there, so they develop an inferiority complex. Then, when someone actually DOES want to visit, he gets all high and mighty.
Me: Wow. You must watch this a lot. Who even knows what the Flying Lion King's name is???
RB: I've seen this show literally every single year of my life - so I know it better than I know the theories of algebra, economics and auto mechanics.
But what gets me is the behavior of Santa the entire show. He's apparently bulimic - as evidenced by his drastic swings in weight throughout the show.
Me: I never realized one could have such strong opinions about a Christmas classic.
Sounds to me like the stress of the season just gets to him. Maybe he needs some Ativan or Xanax to help control those mood swings.
RB: But most of all - he's just a jerk. Look at his treatment of the reindeer. Look how he suffers through the elves' performance of "We Are Santa's Elves" - then as soon as its over, he sweeps out of the room and simply says "it needs work"
Me: Hahaha! I've never really analyzed it this much. Do you have too much free time on your hands?
RB: They say you can get the true measure of someone by how they treat people that are in a lower station than them. Rudy and Hermey treat everyone equally. So does Yukon. But Santa barely gives anyone else the time of day at the North Pole.
Hey, fat man! Who made those toys? Who flies your tubby ass around the world so you can deliver the toys and take all the credit? Who puts up with your crap for 364 days?
Just because you drive a freaking sleigh doesn't mean you did jack. The elves, the reindeer and Mrs. Claus make you who you are - and if you can't appreciate that, then I hope you get eaten by the Snowman!
The other Christmas programs are just creepy. The only one I can truly get behind is Charlie Brown - and that one is mostly for Linus's speech on the true meaning of Christmas. It's the message that we should be passing onto our kids - not even the religious aspects (though that's important).
It's not about toys, or cookies, or trees or whatever - but we celebrate the birth of Christ, and embrace helping our fellow man. If you ask my 4-year old, she will tell you that December 25th is Jesus's birthday. She's excited as anyone about presents and toys, but she knows that giving and loving people are what we are really celebrating.
Realize what's important. We all want to give our kids tons of presents and everything they want for Christmas - but what we all REALLY want is love, family, friends and being together. Christmas is about love- not an Xbox (though that's a close second for me).
I am off my soapbox.
Me: Awww....so sweet, RB! You are exactly right, it is all about being with your family, having compassion for mankind, and celebrating Christ's birth. Buuuuttt...presents are pretty nice, too.
You know, I'm gonna have to edit down the sappy stuff in the blog...
RB: Please do. I would kick my own ass if I re-read all that.
Me: Actually, i think i might keep all the sappy stuff, with your disclaimer that you would kick your own ass.
RB: Sigh - fair enough.
And there you have it. A far too in depth conversation regarding the politics of Rudolf and Santa. Seriously, RB. We really need to get out more.
Happy Holidays, everyone!