Monday, November 21, 2005

Value & Red-Nosed Reindeer

I've grown to HATE this time of year -- endless consumerism and too many radio stations playing incessant Christmas music. My wife, on the other hand, loves Christmas music and we struggle to control the station choice whenever we go out in the family vehicle.

Yesterday -- having compromised with Christmas music on the way and anything BUT said music on the way back -- I was forced to listen to another rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. As is all too typical with me, I soon found myself analyzing the underlying theme of this cherished ditty.

While, on the surface, this story is supposedly about everyone finding their true place in the scheme of things, on further analysis, I think the central message is more negative than positive.

As I'm sure we all recall, Rudolph was shunned by the general Christmas town populace because he was different. However, his distinguishing feature -- his glowing red nose -- proved to be advantageous when Santa and his minions realized a terrible fog had settle over the North Pole. Suddenly, his uniqueness became chic and he was celebrated.

What rubs me the wrong way is the fact that the young reindeer was ONLY accepted into the "in crowd" WHEN it was discovered that his shiny red nose would benefit the plans of others. Had the thick fog NOT descended upon the North Pole, Rudolph would still be considered a "leper".

Beings should be valued. Period. Value should not be conferred ONLY when it benefits us. If not, then value is merely a self-serving construction and holds no intrinsic worth.

Somebody should write a song about that.

Postscript: An even better analysis of Red-Nosed Reindeer and artificial economic constructs can be found at This is Class Warfare. Check it out!

5 comments:

  1. Trey--
    Sometimes you have a tendency to overthink some things. Rudolph is only a song, and an annoying one at that. It's in the same mold as "The Ugly Duckling" and "Cinderella" and countless other kid stories that deliver mixed messages. Relax and change the station.

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  2. Dino,
    You're right. I do have the tendency to overthink things.

    That said, I don't think it's necessarily a bad attribute. One of the lessons taught me by my late mother is that the way a society communicates is of the utmost importance. The stories, myths and legends of a given civilization tell us a lot about the people of such. Consequently, each society NEEDS to have individuals who dare overthink the simple stories we too often take for granted.

    It is often helpful to dig beneath the surface. Oft times, the surface message does not resemble the deeper message. In the case of "The Ugly Duckling", "Cinderella" and "Rudolph", the valuation of the surface message does not, in my opinion, match the core message.

    That's the point I tried to make with this entry.

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  3. I came across your site recently & have to say I enjoy the heck out of it. This post had me laughing out loud, it's too true. Great writing. :)

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  4. Hey, when you have to listen to 25 versions of the same song for a month, you're bound to spend some time thinking about it's "deeper" meanings.

    That being said, I love the incessent Christmas music. But if we could excise consumerism and commercialism from the holidays, I'd be willing to compromise on cutting back the amount of Christmas music played as well.

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  5. KC,
    Glad I could help put a smile on your face.

    Xanthippas,
    Sounds like a good compromise to me!

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