In a recent Tweet, the Huffington Post shared a video compiling scenes from the Christmas television favorite “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” claiming that it sends abusive and bigoted messages to our kids and calling it “seriously problematic.”
So, I hope you DVR’d “Rudolph” when it aired on CBS the other night, or that you have a physical copy of it somewhere, because this Christmas classic’s (yes, I said “Christmas”) enduring lifespan may be coming to an end in our politically correct culture.
The Huffington Post claims that viewers are complaining about the messages in the short movie online. I don’t doubt that. In the past decade, there seems to have been a noticeable uptick among some groups of people to upend commonly accepted American traditions and values. Now, it seems 1964’s “Rudolph” is their latest target.
If you don’t like “Rudolph,” don’t watch it. There are a lot of programs on television I don’t like. I have the freedom to change the channel, or just turn it off. I don’t understand why “Rudolph” haters don’t do the same. Instead they take to the Twittersphere to drum up support for their unconventional viewpoints. Meanwhile the next generation may be deprived of this Christmas classic. When will it end? What will happen to “Frosty the Snowman” (1969), “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965), and other popular family-friendly programs that typically air this time of year? I mean, after all, “Charlie Brown” dares to share the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t you just shudder harder than Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman at the thought of that?
Along with whatever negative messages viewers may find in “Rudolph,” the Huffington Post failed to examine the positive messages that really permeate the movie:
- Rudolph overcomes shyness and public embarrassment about his nose to befriend Clarice
- Rudolph meets Hermey (the wanna-be dentist) and Yukon Cornelius and they team up to take down the scary Abominable Snow Monster
- They show forgiveness by befriending the Abominable and inviting him to Santa’s place
- They liberate the misfit toys they encountered on their journey and help find homes for them
- Even Santa realizes he makes mistakes when he changes his mind about Rudolph’s nose, humbly asking him to help guide the sleigh
- Hermey’s differences are celebrated after he uses his dental skills to remove the threatening fangs of the Abominable
There’s an overall “overcoming” theme throughout the program, where the characters overcome teasing, intimidating enemies, harsh weather, shyness, self pity, and ostracism—issues we all have to deal with at some point or another.
Heaven forbid we teach our kids how to resolve problems! Heaven forbid a father (Donner) telling his kid (Rudolph) what to do! As a fairly new parent, I can tell you I make mistakes, just like all of us do. What matters is not every action or word but the long, enduring race of parenthood.
The Huffington Post is merely echoing the cries of those who expect to be handed a perfect world. Many of those same people shun the hard work of making the world a better place and instead choose to blame others for what’s wrong with the world.
Now, go and have a merry Christmas!