Friday, November 29, 2013
Santa the big-bellied bigot
What else can one think when hearing him tell baby Rudolph that he’ll never make his sleigh team unless his red nose stops glowing?
I heard it myself during the re-broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
In 1964, the year this Rankin-Bass Christmas special premiered, the only viewers who might have noticed Santa’s bigotry were African-Americans who at that time were still called Negroes. Now, however, there are many people who can see themselves in Rudolph, discriminated against because they’re different from the majority.
Would Santa allow a transgender reindeer help pull his sleigh?
Would a fat reindeer be shunned even though Santa is fat?
Rudolph’s difference proves to be his strength in the end, but we have to endure 40 minutes of watching the poor animal subjected to abuse and ridicule before Rudolph’s bright nose saves Christmas for Santa. Sure, Santa learns tolerance, but only because it serves his selfish needs.
Is that really the lesson we want children to learn? I should think not.
It’s rather shocking that this show is still airing, in network prime-time, no less. This was the show’s 50th telecast on CBS.
Brian W. Fairbanks
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