Monday, December 20, 2010


Growing up in England, I never saw the animated version of ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’. I think seeing this ‘Christmas Classic’ for the first time as an adult has given me something of a unique viewpoint on it.

Without the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, it’s truly fucking horrifying. Here’s why:

Being different in any way is shameful and wrong.

Okay, imagine your child is born with a minor deformity. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say your child is born with one normal eye, but there is no color to the other eye’s iris. Your kids doesn’t care and is perfectly happy with his ‘different’ eye, so what do you do? Leave your kid be, or tell him he should be ashamed of his weird eye and force him to wear an uncomfortable contact lens?

If you’re Rudolph’s dad, you do the latter. In the movie, Rudolph’s parents force him to wear a false nose. They tell him flat out that being different is bad and he should be deeply ashamed of his deformity and hide it away.

Of course, he eventually loses the false nose, so what do his peers do? Accept him and tell him being different isn’t anything to be ashamed of?

Nope! All the other young reindeer laugh at Rudolph and basically call him a freak.

At first, I assumed this was a setup for Santa to turn up and chastise the other reindeer, or for some adult authority figure to back up poor Rudolph and teach the kids some lesson about tolerance. Instead, the ‘coach’ in charge of the ‘Reindeer games’ turns up, literally screams at Rudolph’s nose…and bans him, not just from the reindeer games, but from having any interaction whatsoever with the ‘normals’ ever again.

Think about it. Santa, the elves and all the reindeer make Rudolph a total outcast because his nose is a different color. No wonder there are no black elves.

The North Pole is a Totalitarian Dictatorship

In this movie, the North Pole is not a very nice place. Rather than being a happy, magical land where it’s Christmas all year round, it’s essentially a slave-labor work camp where conformity is brutally enforced and any dissenting ideas are crushed with an iron fist. We’ve already seen how Rudolph immediately becomes an outcast because his nose is a different color… but it turns out that ‘thought crime’ is a very real concept in Santaland.

Think I’m exaggerating? Imagine having your entire life planned out for you from birth. You’re going to be forced into a job you despise for your entire life…and if you even suggest you’d rather do anything else… your friends, family and everyone you know will out and out despise you for it. In the North Pole, you either fall into line, do as you’re told or become a complete and total outcast.

Look at poor Hermey. The poor kids isn’t longing for some dream career. It’s not like he works in a cubicle farm and dreams of being a rock star…the poor bastard wants to be a freaking dentist for Christ’s sake…just a perfectly normal, everyday job that isn’t making toys.

What does he get for suggesting he’d like a different career? Just like Rudolph he is ridiculed, punished and made into an outcast.

Santa is a total asshole.

Oh, God is Santa as asshole.

Picture the scene. You’re an Elf at the North Pole. You’ve spent all year building toys for children in sweat-shop style conditions. Of course, you can’t be making toys all the time, so in what little free time you have left, you and all the other Elves write a song for your Great and Glorious Leader For Eternity Santa Claus.

Santa already has a pretty sweet gig. The Elves spent 364 days a year slaving away making toys. Santa spends one day a year delivering those toys …and gets all the credit.

So how does he react when he has to take five minutes to listen to the song that his unpaid workforce has written about how awesome he is? He says “I’m busy, you’d better make this quick.”

Then he spends the entirety of the song glowering at the singers, looking completely and totally bored and put out. When it’s over he stands up, says “It needs work. I have to go.”

What the fuck, Santa? If a group of people wrote a song about how awesome *I* am, even if it was the worst song ever written, I’d be touched and happy about it. I certainly wouldn’t bitch and moan to Mrs. Claus later about how I can’t even eat because that ‘silly elf song is driving me crazy’.

That’s not even the worst of Santa’s douchebaggery. What does Jolly old Saint Nick say to Rudolph’s dad when he sees Rudy’s glowing nose? He tells him he should be ashamed of himself.

Imagine taking your handicapped kid to work and your boss telling you that you should be ashamed for giving life to such an obvious abomination against nature…in front of all your friends and co-workers.

Of course, Rudolph’s dad isn’t exactly a paragon of fatherhood either. He doesn’t react by goring the shit out of the intolerant fat bastard, he hangs his head in shame.

If you’re different, you can gain grudging acceptance by being useful.

So disaster strikes and fog rolls in, meaning Santa can’t fly his sleigh and no-one will get any presents. Then someone remembers the poor freak Rudolph and realizes they can profit from his deformity.

Let me be absolutely clear here. No one actually apologizes to Rudolph. No one learns any lessons about tolerance or how being different can be a good thing…They go to see him and act like they’re doing him a massive favor by allowing him to save their asses. They don’t even show the slightest bit of remorse.

How I would have ended the movie.

Ok, so the North Pole is a dictatorship. Santa is a complete and utter asshole and everyone treats Rudolph like he’s some sort of goddamn child molester just because his nose is a different color…right up until the point they need him. If I came in to write the last act of this movie, here’s how it would go:

Santa: “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Rudolph: “Fuck you, you fat bastard.”

The asshole didn’t even say please for fuck’s sake.


Woman atop her Soapbox said...

Hey but at least the mid-fit toys finally got a home!

You made me crack up reading this. We call our house the Island of Misfit Toys.

I do like your ending though.


Sunny(aka Lavada) said...

Owwww- good thing you said it was this was about that movie- cause if you wrote this about the REAL Santa- you'd be getting COAL in your Stocking for the REST of YOUR Life!!!

Aren't you glad you married Santa's Number One Fan so I can talk you back into his good graces if you get on the naughty List?

You're VERY welcome.

Anonymous said...

Ever read fairy tales... it is all Grimm.. all the time in childhood.