RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Dark Side of Rudolph <

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Dark Side of Rudolph

I'd like to buy the world a home
and furnish it with love

Grow apple trees, and honey bees,

and snow white turtle doves

--I'd Like to buy the World a Coke


All of the other reindeer

used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph

join in any reindeer games
--Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
Gene Autry

All through my school life I was appalled

by the fact that masters and senior boys

were allowed quite literally to wound other boys,

and sometimes very severely

--Roald Dahl


File this under, "We promote diversity, not."

So I'm singing a rather jaunty version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, when suddenly, like the proverbial needle scratching across the record (remember those?), I was stopped in my tracks. Under this spirited and earnest tune lies a brooding indictment of our non-acceptance of Otherness. Does anyone else think about this stuff?

Rudolph seems like an entirely innocuous Christmas tune, one beloved by kids everywhere. Burl Ives sang it, for God's sake -- what could be more wholesome? And yet -- the lyrics. They just hit me like a thunderbolt. Has anyone ever really listened to them?

"All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names", presumably not nice ones. Until, that is, Santa finds a use for his anomaly: To be lead reindeer in pulling his sled. So now that Rudolph has been personally tagged by the head honcho to front the slaving part of the operation, everyone's his pal.

Then how the reindeer loved him, and they shouted out with glee: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you'll go down in his-to-ry." O.K., so the moral is, if you are an outlier -- but can make yourself useful -- you, too, may join in the reindeer games and stop the torment suffered at the hands of your fellows. Who wants such fair-weather friends?

Rudolph: The ultimate capitalistic morality tale. Because you really have to be a brown-noser to get by.

[cross-posted at Big Brass Blog]



Blogger FDChief said...

"When you, here, every one of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."

G. Patton, 6/5/1944

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 4:01:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RAnge, I thought i was cynical!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 7:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


It's me, not Range :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 8:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

it's important to fit in and have a function.... like a drunk in a midnight choir...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 10:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I love your pedagogy (and the always faux self-deprecating champion of scumbag behavior, Mr. Cohen.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 10:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic Larsen Far Side:


Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 6:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


...sometimes being different has its upside :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 10:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 4:11:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home