Last night, instead of finishing up the Christmas decorating, Pam and I settled down on the sofa to watch Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I must say that this once delightful Christmas tradition hasn’t aged well. With the advent of modern psychoanalysis and the emergence of political correctness, it’s a miracle that Rudolph is still on the air. Is it any wonder that my generation is so screwed up, what with 30 million of us watching this show every year? Consider:
1. When Santa visits Donner’s cave upon Rudolph’s birth he is only concerned with his future usefulness as an unpaid sleigh-puller. Worker exploitation.
2. At reindeer practice, the Coach is a tyrannical autocrat who upon discovery of Rudolph’s deformity unceremoniously banishes him from the team with the full support of a herd of laughing, mocking reindeer trainees, despite the fact that Rudolph was the only one who could actually fly. Classic bullying.
3. Then there’s Hermie, the dentist wannabe, a self-declared misfit, who dreams only of extracting people’s teeth without anesthesia. Hermie’s slave-driving boss is having none of it and berates Hermie at every opportunity in front of the other elves. The message is clear…individual dreams must be sacrificed on the altar of the common good of the company. Corporatism.
4. Don’t even get me started on Yukon Cornelius, possibly the most inept businessman in the history of Hollywood what with his geologically doomed prospecting business at the North Pole. This idiot actually thinks that by simply heaving his pick axe into the air, it might actually fall onto the ice and find gold.
5. Then there are the many misogynistic missives flying through the dialogue. When Donner decides to go out looking for Rudolph, (months after his disappearance), he dismisses the wife who wants to come with him with the classic, “This is man’s work, dear.”
I could go on like this forever, but you get the picture. Try to imagine what this show would look like if it was produced today. Santa would be a black woman. Rudolph’s deformity would be AIDS. Hermie would finally be able to come out of the closet, and the Island of Misfit Toys would be a place where everyone was an illegal immigrant without health insurance cowering in their safe spaces, the ghastly specter of global warming creeping ever closer, until Santa's solar powered sleigh comes to their rescue.