You wanna know what he got me? Another article by Brad Stine! Oh, thanks Santa. It’s just what I’ve always wanted.
I realize the guy thinks he’s god’s gift to comedy (New York Magazine nearly says so) but still. I think this one won’t be as tormenting to read though. He’s writing about a “conspiracy theory” few have thought much about – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Let’s see if I can inject any reality into his “hilarity” now…
I came across a classic Christmas song the other day and after examining the words, I have come to realize how easily humans accept ideas at face value, without scrutinizing them for philosophical and/or cultural flaws.
Yeah, part of the reason why religions hang on…
First off, why bring up the red nose? If you have a red-nosed reindeer it is fairly obvious, and social decorum would dictate you keep it to yourself to save the reindeer’s embarrassment. We don’t treat others that way normally.
Are you sure? People treat themselves that way when they start comparing each other, and sheesh, has this guy forgotten recess? What kid hasn’t been teased because of an anomaly of some kind – glasses, or crooked teeth or gimpy run? The first thing people notice about other people are the obvious differences. Same goes for the animal kingdom, actually. Abnormally dark or light wolves will get pushed out of pack. Humans make the Lone Wolf sound like a romantic figure but the loners are the ones without any territory or hunting help and have trouble surviving unless they can beat the crap out of a pack’s leaders and take it over. It is not a good life in the wild to be too different from everyone else.
In the past the only time we emphasized a physical flaw in others is when were trying to sell tickets to a sideshow.
Again, he’s forgetting about kids here. Kids are cruel in some pretty ingenious ways and while it only looks like a little thing to an outsider, why do teens go insane over pimples? There is always a fear that you’ll be cast aside.
“Had a very shiny nose…”
Wait a minute. You just told me in the first line it was red, now it’s shiny? Ball bearings are shiny; patent leather shoes, as well; not necessarily a color. So which is it red or shiny?
Light also shines. Think sunshine. A red sun also shines. You see how he twists words and meaning? Keep reading.
”And if you ever saw it…”
Why would I? I don’t need to since you already described it to me.
“You would even say it glows…”
GLOWS!? The moon glows, candles glow, how could you possibly confuse a glow for red or shiny? Why can’t you get your story straight? Who are you protecting?
I’d never pay to hear him on stage. I assume some humour attempt is happening here and it’s falling flatter than a startled souffle. The guy needs to get himself a dictionary and look up the word glow, for one thing.
What I do find amusing, and possibly ironic if he’s not doing it deliberately, is how his banter (for lack of a better word) resembles the attempts made to show biblical flaws. Perhaps that really is his aim here – mocking the mockers. But maybe I credit him with too much wit, but “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit,” after all. (Sorry, actually watched Twelfth Night last night. Thought it was hilarious. I amend everything I might have said about Shakespeare lately.)
“All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names”…
Why not, he’s a reindeer with an indecipherable nose issue; something needs to be said.
Just earlier he said nobody does this mockery of body parts anymore and now he’s condoning the abuse? Obviously he hammered out this silliness without thinking much about it.
Woe betide he, because here is me.
“They never let poor Rudolph…”
Poor? How do you know? You have access to his tax returns? What, suddenly it’s a class struggle; we have to play the poor card? Fear not Rudolph, Obama’s in office, redistributed wealth is coming.
This is why atheists can’t debate with fundamentalists. I know he’s joking around but there’s a serious note to be heard here – he’s taking words and expressing them by only one possible meaning and bases his entire argument upon that view. Let’s just pretend that “poor” doesn’t mean “unfortunate” as well…
”Play in any reindeer games…”
Does he care? What could a reindeer game consist of anyway? They have hooves for Pete’s sake. Hooves, not fingers. That rules out any board games that involve dice. (Can’t grip ‘em.) No ball games. (Can’t hold a bat, catch a football or dribble a basketball.) Or any charades, since it would be impossible for him to indicate how many words or syllables. Sounds like he’s not missing much!
If he’s going to be ridiculously literal, then I will be.
I presume an actual reindeer game would be the same kind of games other deer play – dominance ones. Who’s got the biggest set of antlers? Who gets the ladies? If they’re not letting him play, then his genes will never be passed onto another generation. If it turned out that the red noseness could have been a valuable attribute to pass on, too damned bad.
I read a thing recently about cane toads in Australia. They’re not native; they were introduced as a means of taking care of the beetles in the sugarcane and wound up pests themselves. I’d say they have sex like bunnies, but, well, they’re toads and toads have eggs and right now the less language getting manipulated the better. Anyway, the beetles they were to eat live higher in the sugarcane than the toads can actually reach but researchers discovered that some toads had evolved longer legs which helped them get at those beetles. Cool huh? New trouble, though – longer leg toads are prone to arthritis and back problems because their bodies haven’t evolved to support the new leg length. It appears to be an evolutionary dead end for them, so there really wasn’t any good reason for the toads with longer legs to get the ladies, no matter how tall, dark and handsomely green they might have been.
“Then one foggy Christmas eve…”
Huh, foggy? Where the North Pole? It’s probably foggy a lot there, but what are you saying? The entire earth got foggy on the same night? That sounds like the apocalypse to me. What’s next, locusts and boils?
This from a guy who likely believes the entire earth flooded and Noah managed to keep thousands of species (including every dinosaur?) alive in a boat 450 feet long with only one door and one window for forty days and nights.
I suspect the fog was local and only affected take-off, same as like an airport. Once clear of the fog, Rudolph’s nose would also help guide the sleigh in the dark. It shines and glows after all.
“Santa came to say…”
Finally Santa shows up. Where was he all the times Rudolph was being ridiculed and in pain? Can anyone believe in a Santa who seems to ignore us in our darkest hour?
Yeah, yeah, I get the dig. But Santa isn’t watching reindeer ridicule another one because he’s busy making his list and checking it twice. He knows if you’re sleeping, he knows if you’re awake. You better watch out… Scary bugger. Doesn’t it seem pretty strange that while we teach our kids to beware of strangers, we let this guy into their rooms late at night to drop “gifts” around? I’m surprised people haven’t accused dear old Nick of being a pedophile yet. He does like children a little too much and wants them to sit on his lap. Don’t tell me you haven’t wondered about the creep factor of that.
“Rudolph with your nose so bright…”
Santa please! Keep up, here are your options: The nose is either red, shiny or glowy. None of which fit the category of bright, or someone would have said so long ago during the reindeer-mocking-Rudolph sessions.
Oh, Brad, Brad, Brad. Red embers in a fire glow and shine…
“Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?…”
Let me get this straight: Santa spent a year using magic elves to build, paint, box & wrap every possible gift imaginable. From Legos to tennis bracelets; from yachts to Wii’s. He is able to pack every gift for every human on earth in one sleigh and deliver it, via chimney, to every human on earth in one night. BUT… somehow he was unable to fashion a couple headlights to your sleigh and needed to call on the freak?
Santa packs his sleigh by magic. Everyone knows that. And there’s also probably something quantum involved, just like how he can get to every house before midnight. And he doesn’t deliver to every human on earth – only those who accept gifts at Christmas time. That does let out a lot of the world’s population. I also suspect reindeer would be a little quieter and better for the environment than a generator or combustion engine. I don’t know why Santa doesn’t carry a flashlight to make his life easier. It’s not like the man doesn’t know what batteries are for. Maybe he can see pretty well in the dark.
“Then how the reindeer loved him…”
Oh yeah, that’s gonna happen, when they hated and mocked him his whole life, and suddenly he’s thrust into the spotlight to accomplish something these brats were incapable of, thus putting him in the category of Santa’s favorite. Suddenly, they’re all going to let bygones be bygones and embrace him as misunderstood, and they’ll receive the revelation of their own arrogance and bullying and suddenly repent, asking his forgiveness, which he’ll grant readily as he is an enlightened soul? Who wrote this story, the Hallmark Channel?
No, it was Robert L. May, for the Montgomery Ward department stores back in 1939. He was a marketing genius. The original story has little to do with the song version. The red nose thing actually worried May’s bosses – it’s an ailment associated with drunkards, after all. But, the art department came through and whammo! Instant hit with the kiddies. The song was first sung by Gene Autry and was one of the first hits of 1950. It has since been recorded over 500 times and Gene’s version alone is past the 12 million copies mark.
”As they shouted out with glee…”
Glee? Who uses the word glee? Yeah, that’s what the song was missing: an archaic word from a nineteenth century romance novel to keep the lyrics exciting.
Never heard of a Glee Club either, I guess. Nothing wrong with glee. People need more glee. It’s so joyful and fun and merry. It also happened to rhyme with the next line:
“Rudolph the red, (shiny, glowing, bright,) nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history.”
Why not? There isn’t a lot of competition for classic songs featuring reindeer. As a matter of fact, it may be the only reindeer song ever penned. The fact that he was genetically mutated just gave the song the conflict it needed to give it legs.
By the way I just heard about a buffalo in Wyoming that was born with two heads and six legs, and it lived. Sounds like the making of a new Christmas classic. Where’s Mel Torme when you need him?
He’s wrong about the song thing – “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” is a very fun song. I particularly like the Irish Rovers edition. And, parents, consider playing the Reindeer Pokey with your little ones this year. It sounds like hilarious fun for the wee tykes. They get to hop around and be silly. Who doesn’t love doing that?
As to Mel Torme, who made “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” sound so inviting, he died in 1999.
Hope this was as illuminating as Rudolph’s nose.