Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lost By a Nose: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer



Perception is reality. Seriously. When you think that someone is flirting with you, you feel sexier, and you open up or close off, depending on your attraction to the person. And when you realize that the person in question was smiling and nodding at the charmer behind you…well…you get the picture.
Try these statements on for size: Christmas is wonderful. Christmas is horrible. Christmas is spiritual. Christmas is secular. Christmas is materialistic. Christmas is magical.
Any of them ring for you?
Christmas, is a crazy collection of traditions and new ideas. But if you take them separately, they’re a little nuts. And I’m taking them on. Of course, the fair minded liberal in me will also defend the crap out of Christmas. Let’s get it on.

MoTheThird vs. Christmas (Round One)
: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

O.K. A head lit reindeer swoops in and saves a Christmas in peril, triumphing against all odds to illuminate the sleigh path to happily ever after. What’s not to love?

I’m left to wonder; in the history of Santa, was there NEVER a “foggy Christmas?” An entity such as Santa, who delivers gifts to the world, over the course of a day, magically altered or otherwise, did not have the foresight to see bad weather in the cards? I’m not impressed. Greek fire, famous for it’s ability to withstand the elements in battle, has been around for a really long time, and should have been ideal for Jolly Old St. Nick’s purposes. You’d think he could get his hands on some. Alternative lighting would have eliminated the need to break another member onto the team; which seems like an unnecessary risk, at the last minute. If Greek fire, other torches, and headlamps, etc. aren’t an option, what will happen when Rudolph isn’t an option either? This seems like a precarious point on which the entire Christmas tradition teeters.
And I know that you’re thinking, “Rudolph will just live forever with Santa’s other Reindeer.” If that’s the case, then the whole thing becomes less explainable, because…If the reindeer live forever, where did Rudolph come from? And won't the world be, eventually overrun by immortal reindeer (Sarah Palin notwithstanding)?
Silly little details like, severe internal logic gaps aside. I’m going to go ahead and assault the story of Rudolph from the moral high ground. Yup, I’m getting high and mighty on a favorite tale. Santa, the very model of love, the rewarder of good little children, and perpetual threat for parents of naughty children to hold over their heads. Santa, who is so concerned with fairness and justice, that he has a list of children, which he checks twice, to assess their gift worthiness. Either ignored, was ignorant of or, worst of all, was complicit in the exclusion of a reindeer from “any reindeer games.” According to the movie, this exclusion included necessary life and job training. This is unconscionable.
A sick extension of this repression, is the hero status which he enjoys after the foggy night. None of the reindeer appear to have experienced any psychological evolution. The entire body accepts him only as a solution to a deficiency of the collective. I know I use this example with some frequency, but Rudolph is Christmas’s X-man. They don’t want him ‘til they need him. And they don’t mention him after that. And, while, I don’t think that they created Sentinels to hunt down the exceptions, I’d imagine that the next reindeer who comes down the pike who is a little different won’t be joining in reindeer games either.
I have to give the story one thing, though. Rudolph, as a protagonist is a little simplistic. Nevertheless, he serves as an amazing example of, the Ubuntu philosophy and forgiveness. Rudolph, against the backdrop of years of what amounts to psychological torture, is surrounded by panic stricken colleagues and even the negligent boss man, holding all the cards in his hooves. With the opportunity to give everyone the middle…never mind, he lets it all go, and comes to the rescue of the world’s children.

So we have an incredibly heroic hero in a world where Santa, the elves, and the reindeer are the bad guys. Some Christmas that is.

So who gets this point, Mo3  or Christmas?