If our current society has come to be known for one thing, it is our ongoing attempts to seek ‘equality’ and ‘acceptance’ in all that we do. However, at what point do we start to wonder whether our attempts to be ‘progressive’ have gone too far?
This is once again the question as the well known liberal new site HuffPost attached the classic Christmas movie ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’.
On Wednesday, HuffPost released a video on Twitter, captioning it with “The holiday TV classic ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is seriously problematic,” a claim that would cause outrage and backlash.
The holiday TV classic “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is seriously problematic. 😳 pic.twitter.com/dOgqPF3bAP
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) November 29, 2018
The video highlights what the site believes are a number of serious concerns regarding the lessons that they TV classic shares with our children, a concern they advise didn’t just come from them. The accusations made in the critique are rather intense, accusing the movie of promoting sexism, racism, bigotry, and homophobia. However, don’t just take their word for it! The video assures viewers that it’s a concern shared by many, stating, “Viewers are noticing the tale may not be so jolly after all and they’re sharing their observations online.”
They aren’t completely wrong, as a quick search of YouTube reveals a number of videos highlight concerns about the lessons taught in the Christmas classic. Others simply share clips from the 1964 movie, allowing viewers to reach their own conclusions.
One such clip that appears to be getting a great deal of attention occurs after Rudolph has gone missing. As the reindeer at the North Pole, including young Rudolph’s mother and father, express their concern and begin to arrange their search efforts, Rudolph’s mother offers to help her husband, Donner. It’s Donner’s reply that isn’t sitting well, as he firmly states, “No, this is man’s work.”
This isn’t the only concern according to the HuffPost video, in fact, they take it a step further. During the movie, Rudolph is mocked and ridiculed by the other reindeer, and even Santa Claus himself. The video explains that Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick himself is portrayed as ‘abusive and bigoted’ in these moments, as evidenced by the fact that he too joins in the judgment of the young reindeer. Even Rudolph’s own father Donner is accused of being ‘verbally abusive’ for forcing him to cover his nose with a fake black one in order to be accepted.
There certainly are supporters of the video’s message. One comment, highlighted and shared by HuffPost stated, “Yearly reminder that #Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a parable on racism & homophobia w/Santa as a bigoted exploitative prick.” However, others are quick to voice their criticism. Sure, the young reindeer certainly faces his share of judgment and bullying in the movie, but are we missing the point entirely?
As the movie concludes with Rudolph and his shiny red nose saving the day, does it not then highlight the real lesson of the movie? It is at this stage that the other characters in the movie are shown that they were wrong for their judgment of Rudolph and the things that make him unique, teaching children an important life lesson about acceptance.
Many Twitter users shared the fact they disagreed with the video’s messages, including the following:
“This 54yr old children’s movie teaches lessons of acceptance, equality, forgiveness, perseverance. It teaches people not to be judgmental, it teaches it’s ok to be & to accept those different from yourself. All lessons people could still learn today. That’s hardly problematic IMO” – @LeafsMaz20
“We should erase history so no one gets offended. Seriously people just need to chill. It was a different time and for the most part we’ve evolved.” – @NeilAnthonyLive
“The whole point of the show was to teach tolerance, showcasing that the actions of the adults and other reindeer were wrong. What is with people these days?” – @LeithDunick
“THAT’S THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE MOVIE, THE LESSON IS THAT IT’S GOOD TO BE DIFFERENT, MY GOD. Have you seen the entire movie?” – @flumpersneezer
“So stupid… showcasing how different attributes can become different talents (e.g. Rudolph’s nose lit the way) is like the whole point of this story. The bullying is there for the purpose of showing that bullying is wrong. Guess you can get a job at the huff without English class.” – @himtansen
Should Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer be removed from our holiday watch list, or are we overlooking the valuable lesson that this movie is designed to teach? Has our need to be ‘progressive’ gone too far? Is it just the movie we should be concerned about, or is the song also ‘problematic’? After all, it shares the same basic story. Personally, Rudolph is still going to be a fixture in my house!