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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I HATE RUDOLPH

"St Nick is no saint, apparently."

Progressive Rudolph
Of all the songs I wish I'd never heard that run through my head, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is at the top of the list. I can't stand that song, I can't stand Rudolph and I wish I could punch the writer in the red nose.

Not only is the song obnoxious and sticks in your head, but the whole reindeer/Santa deal is annoying and offensive to me to begin with. Christmas isn't about a fat man giving kids gifts, its about Christ. But for all that, I can't help but sigh in disagreement with a recent story courtesy Ace of Spades HQ about a professor of Childhood Development reported at Huffington Post:
Appearing on Fox News, author and special ed professor George Giuliani asserted that St. Nick's behavior in the classic stop motion cartoon, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is tantamount to bullying, and sends a wrong message to children watching the family favorite. As such, he's written a new book, "No More Bullies at the North Pole," which re-tells the story of the triumphant reindeer.

"Santa has ten policies that are very unfair, and Mrs. Claus sets out to correct those policies, and what you just saw, where Rudolph is being treated very very badly, and that should never happen," Guiliani said.

When challenged with the idea that Rudolph is overcoming and proving bullies wrong, Guiliani was unrelenting.

"What they're doing to him is to say that Comet is the coach, and Comet is saying to the children, don't ever play with this reindeer ever again," he said. "And he tells him to go home and he bullies him and he mocks him. That should never happen."
Now, putting aside all the aspects I hate about this story and the reindeer in particular, this is simply depressing. All good stories have a triumph in them at some point, someone overcoming their fears, or their rival or the evil dragon or their own weaknesses and bad side. And the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is exactly that, a kid being picked on because he's weird, a situation that seems hopeless, and triumph in the end.

The story is about understanding that someone who is different isn't bad, about someone persevering through difficulty and sadness to face a challenge. Its a good story for kids to learn from, in concept. Were it not set during Christmas, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

But this professor is so concerned about kids feeling bad, about bullying, and about self esteem he cannot comprehend the need for people to face challenges and fight through them. This is precisely the kind of guy that's given us the Participation Trophy culture which resulted in the Occupy movement. This is the kind of guy who wants kids to not be corrected for bad spelling and get a prize for "coming in second" in a softball game.

It is this attitude that corrodes achievement and challenge, with the ideal result of everyone being at roughly the same level, only achieving when given something from the outside - and always from government.

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