Whenever I hear the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I feel very conflicted. I never know what to make of Rudolph’s legacy as a cripple
Afterall, as the story goes, RRR was ostracized because he was considered to be a defective freak. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Every cripple certainly knows how that feels.
But RRR refused to assimilate. He continued being the freak that he was and eventually he got the last laugh on that foggy Christmas Eve when Santa called upon him to save the day.
So should I hold RRR up as a role model for little criplets? Is he an example of a proud cripple who took the risk of letting their freak flag fly? Or was he just another Tiny Tim?
This is the problem with the song. It doesn’t go into how RRR felt about being laughed at and called names and banished from the reindeer games. Maybe he said to the other reindeer, “Fuck you guys and your stupid reindeer games!” But maybe he sulked in his stall and watched longingly through the window, desperately wishing he wasn’t a freak so the other reindeer would accept him as their peer.
The song needs another stanza that delves into RRR’s psyche. But the songwriter leaves all this stuff open to interpretation.
My guess is that if RRR could have assimilated, he definitely would have. If someone had offered him a chance to have his red nose surgically removed, he would have jumped all over it .
That would have drastically altered the trajectory of the song. On that foggy Christmas Eve, Santa would have been screwed and the sleigh would have been grounded . Either that or that or it would have crashed into a mountainside near Buenos Aires. Either way, Christmas would be cancelled.
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