My wife and I watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this past Christmas. This was the 1964 Rankin/Bass version with the claymation characters. This was the first time in years I had watched this and I noticed things I never noticed when I was a child.
The first thing I noticed is how the message of intolerance seems to be pushed at the viewer at every turn. When Rudolph is born his father is horrified at the sight of the glowing red nose and tries to keep it a secret for god knows how long. Once the nose is revealed for all to see Comet, Santa, and Clarice’s father all treat Rudolph as if he has the plague. In the meantime poor Hermey the elf is taunted and basically told that there is nothing else for an elf to do but work building toys for Santa all year long. Talk about putting someone down for wanting to do something different like being a dentist. The elf’s are like the Borg, conform or else. I wonder if the elf’s have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy?
So Hermey and Rudolph run away and end up on the Island of Misfit Toys which is basically Devil’s Island for toys that don’t conform to standards. These are toys that have defects of some kind or another and they don’t fit in like perfect toys do. To be honest I’m not sure why Charlie in the box didn’t just change his name to Jack and get the hell out of there. I am also not sure what was wrong with the doll. Maybe she suffered from paranoia or some other mental illness?
Anyway at the end of the story Santa needs Rudolph even though he basically called him a freak earlier. Rudolph agrees to help as long as Santa helps the misfit toys. Happy ending, roll credits. If I were Rudolph I would have told Santa to stick it where the sun don’t shine.
So what is the lesson to be learned from this:
We should all treat those that are different like scum until such time that they may be useful. Very touching.
With the children of this country growing up with shows like this I can see why our society is so screwed up. Oh well at least the animation is cute.