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  #1  
Old 08-01-2006, 03:43 PM
LeftFootRightFoot LeftFootRightFoot is offline
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Those other reindeer sure are mean

Is the christmas carol classic (aren't I awesome at alliterations?) Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer supposed to be a racism metaphor? I mean, he's essentially the same as every other reindeer, just has a slight superficial difference (although a glowing nose is quite a startling leap in evolution without sugical procedures, has anybody looked into rudolph's medical history?). Then when this trait proves useful, he becomes a valued member of the community? Are the other reindeer just bigots who found a reason to quell their hatred for the time being, until the time came that his nose stopped being useful? Or are they truly sorry for their actions against Rudolph, and just want him to join their reindeer games afterall?
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2006, 04:11 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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I interpret it as a metaphor, but not for racism. Rather, Rudolph stands in for children born with physical/mental disability or some unusual characteristic. He's one individual different from everyone else in his community; even his parents don't have glowing red noses. He's not a member of an oppressed minority.
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  #3  
Old 08-01-2006, 04:19 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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And I'd say it's rather judgemental to label to other reindeer as bigots. This is a children's song, and seen in that light, the behavior of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, etc... is forgiveable, though still wrong. All children, unfortunately, have a tendency to gang up on and mock those with physical deformities. Most children, fortunately, grow out of it. The entire Rudolph episode is a learning experience for the rest of the herd. We'll note that it's the authorty figure, Santa, who forces the others to recognize the usefulness of Rudolph's nose, just as it's the dutiful parents, teachers, and church leaders who insist that children treat disabled outsiders with respect.
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  #4  
Old 08-01-2006, 05:40 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Yeah, I'd not necessarily say it was a metaphor for racism, but rather, for prejudice generally, but even so, it may not be intentionally a morality-play; the underdog-cum-hero is just a rather strong plot to hang a story about; see also The Ugly Duckling.
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2006, 05:55 PM
elucidator elucidator is online now
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In the wild, reindeer bands have strict social structures. A miscreant, or mutant, may be forced to do Lapps.
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  #6  
Old 08-01-2006, 06:27 PM
rjung rjung is offline
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The OP reminds me of a similar monologue from Frasier Crane on Cheers. "And after Rudolph proves useful, do the other reindeer accept him into their games? No! They still ostracize him even while they're exploiting his unique talents!"
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2006, 06:28 PM
GLWasteful GLWasteful is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elucidator
In the wild, reindeer bands have strict social structures. A miscreant, or mutant, may be forced to do Lapps.
Despite the fact that Lapps and reindeer are less-than-ideal sexual mates. Of course, those different reindeer shoulda thought of that before they went all mutant.
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  #8  
Old 08-01-2006, 06:52 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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The other reindeer are meant to be bullies, not bigots.
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  #9  
Old 08-01-2006, 07:02 PM
Steve MB Steve MB is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjung
The OP reminds me of a similar monologue from Frasier Crane on Cheers. "And after Rudolph proves useful, do the other reindeer accept him into their games? No! They still ostracize him even while they're exploiting his unique talents!"
Really, it's surprising that Rudolf didn't tell Jolly Fatso where he could park his sleigh....
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2006, 07:27 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve MB
Really, it's surprising that Rudolf didn't tell Jolly Fatso where he could park his sleigh....
Or crash land the whole team onto some godforsaken mountain.

"Here's a new reindeer game for you all. It's called "Surviving off the carcasses of the dead until the spring thaw! And no, you don't have to let poor me join in this one either."

Quote:
see also The Ugly Duckling
You know who I felt sorry for in The Ugly Duckling? His dad. If I were Poppa Duck, and I just watched my son turn into a fucking Swan, I'd probably think about finding my wife--the fucking swan's mother--and asking her some questions. Then I'd probably go to jail for a while, but hey, at least my son didn't stay ugly forever, you know?
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  #11  
Old 08-01-2006, 07:46 PM
Bytegeist Bytegeist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linty Fresh
You know who I felt sorry for in The Ugly Duckling? His dad. If I were Poppa Duck, and I just watched my son turn into a fucking Swan, I'd probably think about finding my wife--the fucking swan's mother--and asking her some questions. Then I'd probably go to jail for a while, but hey, at least my son didn't stay ugly forever, you know?
I don't think adultery was implied anywhere. Wasn't the swan chick lost from another set of parents? So he's essentially adopted by the ducks, and not related to either duck parent.

Was Poppa duck even there at all, come to think of it?
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2006, 07:52 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftFootRightFoot
Is the christmas carol classic (aren't I awesome at alliterations?) Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer supposed to be a racism metaphor?
No; as the classic puppetmation Christmas special makes clear, it's about sexual orientation.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2006, 09:08 PM
TheFonz TheFonz is offline
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Yep, it can be a metaphor for any group of people who feel that they are in a privileged position and wish to exclude others from their holier-than-thouness. Religion, for example.

Everybody believes they've picked the right one and, with the exception of a few out there, think that everybody else is going to hell for picking the wrong one. What a tragedy that would be, if all the good people like Ghandi went to hell because the Christians were right.

Now here comes Rudolph, different from all the other reindeer, getting snow kicked in his face for being different and not being one of Santa's chosen. But one Christmas eve they found that themselves surrounded by the fog, unable to do the right thing by getting all the presents to the children of the world. They were incomplete.

Rudolph was able to light the way, and get them to where they needed to go, and all the other reindeer realized why they should never judge a person by the color of their nose. We all have our purpose, so don't ever think you're better than anyone else.
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2006, 09:10 PM
TheFonz TheFonz is offline
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It's a message older as old as the cosmos itself, put into a new format for the people of our time. We need to understand it, and not view it as a novelty.
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2006, 09:23 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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If you're looking for a children's story about racism, check out Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches, though I just learned that some think of it as an allegory for antisemitism.
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  #16  
Old 08-01-2006, 10:53 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elucidator
In the wild, reindeer bands have strict social structures. A miscreant, or mutant, may be forced to do Lapps.
Go to your room.
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  #17  
Old 08-01-2006, 10:54 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
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I don't think it's a racism metaphor. That said, I got in trouble with my boss once (I was in retail) for singing the following song. (I have no idea whether it's copyrighted or not; I've only heard it sung by other black people in person:

Leroy & Roosevelt Reindeer
The only reindeer that were black
You hardly ever saw them
They pushed the sleigh from the back
All of other reindeer
Used to laugh and put them down
Cause Leroy & Roosevelt Reindeer
Came from the black side of town...



etc.

My white store manager was irritated with me for singing the song in the mall. I pointed out that I was not on duty, I was not in our store, and I was wearing nothing that identified me as an employee of our chain. She was still vexed.
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  #18  
Old 08-01-2006, 10:59 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bytegeist
I don't think adultery was implied anywhere. Wasn't the swan chick lost from another set of parents? So he's essentially adopted by the ducks, and not related to either duck parent.

Was Poppa duck even there at all, come to think of it?
Hans Christian Andersen might have intended the story as a metaphor for his belief in the legend that he was actually the king's bastard.
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  #19  
Old 08-01-2006, 11:00 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Come to think of it, what business have talking, flying reindeer in singling out any of their number as a mutant?!
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  #20  
Old 08-01-2006, 11:03 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Hans Christian Andersen might have intended the story as a metaphor for his belief in the legend that he was actually the king's bastard.
Which, now I think of it, casts new light on the scene in the 1952 film where Danny Kaye gets arrested for sitting on the pedestal of the king's statue.
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  #21  
Old 08-02-2006, 07:20 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Just a quick note for thosde of you who know Rudolph through the song, or the song and the Rankin-Bass special alone -- in the original book (which preceded the song), and in the 1940s Fleischer/Famous Studios cartoon made from it (betcha didn't know about that one) Rudolph is not a member of the family of Santa's reindeer!

Santa is out delivering the presents around the world and having difficulty in that snowstorm, and he gets to Rudloph's house (Rudolph's family unaccountably lives in a middle-class human-type house) and notices the glow from Rudolph's nose. He wakes the reindeer kid up and asks him to help out. Rudolph is thus a stranger to the classic team of eight. A ringer. Apparently any reindeer can fly if they put their minds to it, or Santa sprinkles them with pixie dust, or whatever.

So the mean reindeer that wouldn't let him join in the games weren't Santa's team or their families. At least until Rank and Base made that 1960s animation.
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  #22  
Old 08-02-2006, 07:52 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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The Story of Rudolf

Quote:
May, drawing in part on the tale of The Ugly Duckling and his own background (he was a often taunted as a child for being shy, small, and slight), settled on the idea of an underdog ostracized by the reindeer community because of his physical abnormality: a glowing red nose.
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  #23  
Old 08-02-2006, 10:43 AM
Lord Ashtar Lord Ashtar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eva Luna
If you're looking for a children's story about racism, check out Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches, though I just learned that some think of it as an allegory for antisemitism.
Wow, I never thought of it as antisemitism before. I guess I can see it, but I think it's kind of a stretch.
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  #24  
Old 08-02-2006, 12:16 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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All these years I thought it was just a cute little song that made Gene Autry richer than he already was. I just don't stop to think things through.
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  #25  
Old 08-02-2006, 12:49 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Hans Christian Andersen might have intended the story as a metaphor for his belief in the legend that he was actually the king's bastard.
A meeting of the metaphors:
Hello there, duck, have you seen my adulterous, soon-to-be-castrated husband?
Uhh, no, Your Majesty, have you seen my swan-fucking wife?

I remember reading the Sneetches for the first time in grade school. I took it as a morality tale against racism in general, not for anti-semitism (especially since the sneetches with the stars were the privileged ones, IIRC.
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