“Rudolph” accused of promoting bullying

Some experts are saying that the song and the cartoon “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” promotes bullying! See Does ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Promote Bullying? « CBS Pittsburgh.

This is a classic example of confusing the content of a story with its meaning.  Yes, the other reindeers are mean to Rudolph because of his nose, making fun of him and not letting him play in any reindeer games.  But the story doesn’t teach its hearers to do likewise!  The sympathy of the story is all with Rudolph.  And Rudolph ends up triumphant over the bullies when the quality that they made fun of turns out to save Santa’s Christmas journey.

The meaning, the message, and the effect of the story is to teach children not to bully!

What other examples have you noticed of this confusion of content and meaning?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Much of modern American culture is full of the confusion of content and meaning.

    How about Huck Finn for starters? That controversy’s been going on for so long, it’s a classic in and of itself.

  • SKPeterson

    Much of modern American culture is full of the confusion of content and meaning.

    How about Huck Finn for starters? That controversy’s been going on for so long, it’s a classic in and of itself.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Where to begin?

    This sort of confusion today is rampant.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Where to begin?

    This sort of confusion today is rampant.

  • James Sarver

    I once heard an LCMS Pastor go on at length about having “Lord of the Flies” banned from schools because it portrayed children worshipping a severed pig head. I attempted to point out that the author clearly had no intent to promote that as an acceptable practice. Just the opposite. When he persisted I suggested that the Bible also should be banned for multiple instances of murder, rape, incest and even one act of cannibalism. He declined to respond.

  • James Sarver

    I once heard an LCMS Pastor go on at length about having “Lord of the Flies” banned from schools because it portrayed children worshipping a severed pig head. I attempted to point out that the author clearly had no intent to promote that as an acceptable practice. Just the opposite. When he persisted I suggested that the Bible also should be banned for multiple instances of murder, rape, incest and even one act of cannibalism. He declined to respond.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I have seen this story in a few different places and have a different take. First, let me say it sounds like the new, politically correct version someone came up with is dumb. At the same time, I have LONG (since I was a kid, and I am 47 years old) been bothered by this aspect of the Rudolph program. When Rudolph is born and his father sees his red nose, he is ashamed and immediately takes steps to cover it up. Then when Santa sees it, he chastises Rudolph’s father for having a reindeer with a nose like that. The reindeer teacher is mean to Rudolph, too, instructing his reindeer students not to play with Rudolph. These are all adults in Rudolph’s life that should have been the ones to protect and defend him. And yet they turn their backs on him. I find it heartbreaking and did when I was a kid, too. And the reason all of these people ultimately change is not because they suddenly have a true change of heart and feel guilty about how they have treated Rudolph but rather because suddenly Rudolph becomes useful to them–they see an application for his red nose that they didn’t before. It’s not because they care about his feelings or decide that they were wrong in treating him the way they did.

    I wouldn’t say that the Rudolph story “promotes” bullying but I do think it to some extent tolerates and turns a blind eye to it in a way that I have always found rather dismaying in a children’s story. And for the record I am a former English teacher who thinks banning Huck Finn and Lord of the Flies is ridiculous.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I have seen this story in a few different places and have a different take. First, let me say it sounds like the new, politically correct version someone came up with is dumb. At the same time, I have LONG (since I was a kid, and I am 47 years old) been bothered by this aspect of the Rudolph program. When Rudolph is born and his father sees his red nose, he is ashamed and immediately takes steps to cover it up. Then when Santa sees it, he chastises Rudolph’s father for having a reindeer with a nose like that. The reindeer teacher is mean to Rudolph, too, instructing his reindeer students not to play with Rudolph. These are all adults in Rudolph’s life that should have been the ones to protect and defend him. And yet they turn their backs on him. I find it heartbreaking and did when I was a kid, too. And the reason all of these people ultimately change is not because they suddenly have a true change of heart and feel guilty about how they have treated Rudolph but rather because suddenly Rudolph becomes useful to them–they see an application for his red nose that they didn’t before. It’s not because they care about his feelings or decide that they were wrong in treating him the way they did.

    I wouldn’t say that the Rudolph story “promotes” bullying but I do think it to some extent tolerates and turns a blind eye to it in a way that I have always found rather dismaying in a children’s story. And for the record I am a former English teacher who thinks banning Huck Finn and Lord of the Flies is ridiculous.

  • Carl Vehse

    What kind of academic courses or graduate school training does it take for a person to become a recognized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer expert, worthy of having their opinion published by a news organization?

    Is such a specialized expert certifiable?

  • Carl Vehse

    What kind of academic courses or graduate school training does it take for a person to become a recognized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer expert, worthy of having their opinion published by a news organization?

    Is such a specialized expert certifiable?

  • Amy

    Rudolph is totally anti-bullying. People don’t pay attention.

    I’m surprised nobody’s up in arms over the sexist overtones in it. I mean, if you’re gonna get mad about something, that’s what I’d be mad about. But I’m not. We still watch it, and laugh every time Rudolph’s dad tells his wife, “This is MAN’S work.”

  • Amy

    Rudolph is totally anti-bullying. People don’t pay attention.

    I’m surprised nobody’s up in arms over the sexist overtones in it. I mean, if you’re gonna get mad about something, that’s what I’d be mad about. But I’m not. We still watch it, and laugh every time Rudolph’s dad tells his wife, “This is MAN’S work.”

  • Tom Hering

    All of the other reindeer
    used to laugh and call him names.
    They never let poor Rudolph
    join in any reindeer games.

    The other reindeer certainly are mean to Rudolph. But if this is bullying, the definition has become too broad. Which of the reindeer beat him up, or made him do things he didn’t want to do?

  • Tom Hering

    All of the other reindeer
    used to laugh and call him names.
    They never let poor Rudolph
    join in any reindeer games.

    The other reindeer certainly are mean to Rudolph. But if this is bullying, the definition has become too broad. Which of the reindeer beat him up, or made him do things he didn’t want to do?

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m just shocked that this even needed to be said.

    Honestly, though, I don’t understand the contemporary fixation on bullying. I was genuinely bullied for a time during elementary school by a classic fat, “I’m gonna beat you up” type of fellow. Big deal! I turned out all right, and it taught me some things about the world at an early age. One of those things being that you can’t eliminate bullying itself.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m just shocked that this even needed to be said.

    Honestly, though, I don’t understand the contemporary fixation on bullying. I was genuinely bullied for a time during elementary school by a classic fat, “I’m gonna beat you up” type of fellow. Big deal! I turned out all right, and it taught me some things about the world at an early age. One of those things being that you can’t eliminate bullying itself.

  • Danny

    Uhhhh. Reindeer don’t talk. They don’t play games. Kids know fiction and fairy tale when they hear it. And, last time I checked reindeer don’t have lightbulbs on their noses. There is no Santa Claus either.

  • Danny

    Uhhhh. Reindeer don’t talk. They don’t play games. Kids know fiction and fairy tale when they hear it. And, last time I checked reindeer don’t have lightbulbs on their noses. There is no Santa Claus either.

  • Jerry

    My big problem is with the TV show MASH. The writers felt it was ok to bully the character Frank because he was perceived to be less moral a person, in an interestingly relativistic way, than Hawkeye.

  • Jerry

    My big problem is with the TV show MASH. The writers felt it was ok to bully the character Frank because he was perceived to be less moral a person, in an interestingly relativistic way, than Hawkeye.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The whole “bully” thing has become a joke. As a teacher, I can tell you that the more attention they draw to it, the more kids do it. And the fact that children who defend themselves are often punished as well doesn’t help either.

    We have “bullying” thrown as a label for anything a kid doesn’t like, and it’s really getting out of hand. Futhermore, instead of teaching a child to handle it in an appropriate way, parents and schools shield their kids in glass houses and as a result kids don’t know how to handle criticism when they get older.

    If my author sales were higher, believe me, I’d consider changing careers…

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The whole “bully” thing has become a joke. As a teacher, I can tell you that the more attention they draw to it, the more kids do it. And the fact that children who defend themselves are often punished as well doesn’t help either.

    We have “bullying” thrown as a label for anything a kid doesn’t like, and it’s really getting out of hand. Futhermore, instead of teaching a child to handle it in an appropriate way, parents and schools shield their kids in glass houses and as a result kids don’t know how to handle criticism when they get older.

    If my author sales were higher, believe me, I’d consider changing careers…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Well, yes… this song HAS been used as the basis of bullying. Well, teasing, anyway.

    See, when I was younger (in my teens) my nose actually was perpetually a reddish color, like it was really cold, or something. Other kids used to make fun of that by calling me Rudolph. If the song had never existed, they wouldn’t have been able to do that!

    I tell you, I am emotionally scarred for life because of that. No, really, I am. I blame it on the ubiquitousness of the Rudolph myth.

    But to be serious, this is just silliness. Isn’t anybody allowed to just enjoy a fictional story any more without it being subjected to post-modern deconstruction?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Well, yes… this song HAS been used as the basis of bullying. Well, teasing, anyway.

    See, when I was younger (in my teens) my nose actually was perpetually a reddish color, like it was really cold, or something. Other kids used to make fun of that by calling me Rudolph. If the song had never existed, they wouldn’t have been able to do that!

    I tell you, I am emotionally scarred for life because of that. No, really, I am. I blame it on the ubiquitousness of the Rudolph myth.

    But to be serious, this is just silliness. Isn’t anybody allowed to just enjoy a fictional story any more without it being subjected to post-modern deconstruction?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Drat it. I hate when my mind is overwhelmed with snarky retorts.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Drat it. I hate when my mind is overwhelmed with snarky retorts.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well I never took Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer to be pro bullying, or anti-bullying. I took it more as a lesson to take heart when you are “bullied”, stay true to who you are, stand by your own convictions, and forgive those who bully you. Go play your own games, there will come a time when those who bully you for being strange, or laugh because you aren’t good at the games they are playing, will find you helpful and eat their own crow. I guess I was way off. I thought it was the Ugly Duckling repackaged for the winter months.
    Now, I’m with Cincinnatus and J. Dean. This whole fixation on bullying is incredible, and I tend to think far more harmful than it is helpful. I can’t see how it couldn’t be.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well I never took Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer to be pro bullying, or anti-bullying. I took it more as a lesson to take heart when you are “bullied”, stay true to who you are, stand by your own convictions, and forgive those who bully you. Go play your own games, there will come a time when those who bully you for being strange, or laugh because you aren’t good at the games they are playing, will find you helpful and eat their own crow. I guess I was way off. I thought it was the Ugly Duckling repackaged for the winter months.
    Now, I’m with Cincinnatus and J. Dean. This whole fixation on bullying is incredible, and I tend to think far more harmful than it is helpful. I can’t see how it couldn’t be.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The fact is that the fixation on bullying often makes it impossible to deal with the real thing. I know, because we’ve had to deal with it far to often, and the school system is very little help. Especially where there is a localised mini-cultural domination.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    The fact is that the fixation on bullying often makes it impossible to deal with the real thing. I know, because we’ve had to deal with it far to often, and the school system is very little help. Especially where there is a localised mini-cultural domination.

  • Joe

    Bulling is a real problem. But we as a society fail to embrace the only real way to make it stop:

  • Joe

    Bulling is a real problem. But we as a society fail to embrace the only real way to make it stop:

  • mikeb

    Danny @ 9

    What do you mean “there is no Santa Clause”? I just saw him!

  • mikeb

    Danny @ 9

    What do you mean “there is no Santa Clause”? I just saw him!

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I agree with what Bror Erickson said. I think ultimately Rudolph is an inspiring tale of one overcoming bullying. But I still think that the depiction of the North Pole and its inhabitants is surprisingly cruel. Both Rudolph and that poor little dentist elf are ganged up on by almost everyone. The North Pole is supposed to be a nice place, not a place someone has to run away from because he is so completely mistreated! I still think the level of cruelty in the story is harsh. If I had written it (haha) I would not have involved Santa or Rudolph’s father in the bullying. I would have kept it to the reindeer kids and maybe the flying instructor. I find it sad that Rudolph’s own father and that Santa, who is supposed to be kind to all, are also culpable in Rudolph’s running away.

    I would also add that to point out the cruelty that exists in the story is not to deconstruct it. The bullying is there. Deconstructionism typically amounts to finding stuff that is not there. An example of a postmodern deconstruction of the story would be to claim something ridiculous, such as that Rudolph and Hermey (the elf) are gay, sort of like some stupid Huck Finn critics tried to claim about Huck and Jim (one such article was entitled “Come Back to the Raft, Huck Honey” or something like that). But pointing out the bullying is no more deconstruction than pointing out the racism in Huck Finn. It’s there. That doesn’t mean the story is promoting it. I’m not saying that. All I am saying is that I have always found certain aspects of the story surprising, most notably the extent to which bullying is ubiquitous in Rudolph’s North Pole.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    I agree with what Bror Erickson said. I think ultimately Rudolph is an inspiring tale of one overcoming bullying. But I still think that the depiction of the North Pole and its inhabitants is surprisingly cruel. Both Rudolph and that poor little dentist elf are ganged up on by almost everyone. The North Pole is supposed to be a nice place, not a place someone has to run away from because he is so completely mistreated! I still think the level of cruelty in the story is harsh. If I had written it (haha) I would not have involved Santa or Rudolph’s father in the bullying. I would have kept it to the reindeer kids and maybe the flying instructor. I find it sad that Rudolph’s own father and that Santa, who is supposed to be kind to all, are also culpable in Rudolph’s running away.

    I would also add that to point out the cruelty that exists in the story is not to deconstruct it. The bullying is there. Deconstructionism typically amounts to finding stuff that is not there. An example of a postmodern deconstruction of the story would be to claim something ridiculous, such as that Rudolph and Hermey (the elf) are gay, sort of like some stupid Huck Finn critics tried to claim about Huck and Jim (one such article was entitled “Come Back to the Raft, Huck Honey” or something like that). But pointing out the bullying is no more deconstruction than pointing out the racism in Huck Finn. It’s there. That doesn’t mean the story is promoting it. I’m not saying that. All I am saying is that I have always found certain aspects of the story surprising, most notably the extent to which bullying is ubiquitous in Rudolph’s North Pole.

  • mikeb

    Jerry @ 10

    At the risk of hijacking the thread, I always ‘loved to hate’ Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan because they were really good villains/foils with holier-than-thou attitudes. But more importantly, they we’re written and acted really well.

    Back to the topic at hand: I always thought Rudolph was the Cinderella story — keep doing your think and someday you’ll be recognized. I think that’s why its so popular in American culture. But can’t we just enjoy it for what it is? Why does it have to mean something deeper?

  • mikeb

    Jerry @ 10

    At the risk of hijacking the thread, I always ‘loved to hate’ Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan because they were really good villains/foils with holier-than-thou attitudes. But more importantly, they we’re written and acted really well.

    Back to the topic at hand: I always thought Rudolph was the Cinderella story — keep doing your think and someday you’ll be recognized. I think that’s why its so popular in American culture. But can’t we just enjoy it for what it is? Why does it have to mean something deeper?

  • mikeb

    Cheryl @ 18

    You know someone is going to say Rudolph and Hermey are gay now. And they read it on the Internets so it MUST be true!

  • mikeb

    Cheryl @ 18

    You know someone is going to say Rudolph and Hermey are gay now. And they read it on the Internets so it MUST be true!

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Ha! You are probably right, MikeB! Sorry!

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Ha! You are probably right, MikeB! Sorry!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, I, too, was all set to pile on the anti-political-correctness bandwagon here. Because, of course, it’s patently ridiculous to think that, because something is portrayed, that it is therefore endorsed, as Veith notes.

    In fact, I think this is a trap that Christians — especially Evangelicals, in my experience — fall into all the time. If a book contains unmarried teenage sex, it is, ipso facto, a horrible, sinful, Satanic book, because unmarried teenage sex is bad! (Never mind that it also happens not infrequently in our world.) This is the level that some Evangelical critiques assess most of pop culture: sin=bad, so don’t talk about it.

    Of course, some slightly more nuanced Christians will allow for depictions of “bad” things, but only if those bad things are soundly met with a come-uppance of some sort. And I think we see a lot of that here: “It’s okay that there’s bullying in Rudolph, because the bullied people win in the end.” In other words, it’s a morality play. Sin is allowed, only to the degree that it plays a role in the black-white world being depicted. “Rudolph ends up triumphant over the bullies when the quality that they made fun of turns out to save Santa’s Christmas journey.” Take that, bullies!

    Of course, such a view is still too pat. As James notes (@3), the Bible itself not only depicts terrible, awful actions, but it does not always tell us that those terrible, awful people met with earthly justice! It’s not that the Bible doesn’t condemn sin — obviously it does. It’s just that the Bible depicts reality. That is to say, sometimes people do horrible things and get away with it, or even prosper (the Bible talks about this, too, you know). But many Christian critics, while tolerating such unpunished sin in the Bible, simply won’t allow it in movies or books. “It sends the wrong message” — by which they apparently refer to the simple depiction of reality.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    You know, I, too, was all set to pile on the anti-political-correctness bandwagon here. Because, of course, it’s patently ridiculous to think that, because something is portrayed, that it is therefore endorsed, as Veith notes.

    In fact, I think this is a trap that Christians — especially Evangelicals, in my experience — fall into all the time. If a book contains unmarried teenage sex, it is, ipso facto, a horrible, sinful, Satanic book, because unmarried teenage sex is bad! (Never mind that it also happens not infrequently in our world.) This is the level that some Evangelical critiques assess most of pop culture: sin=bad, so don’t talk about it.

    Of course, some slightly more nuanced Christians will allow for depictions of “bad” things, but only if those bad things are soundly met with a come-uppance of some sort. And I think we see a lot of that here: “It’s okay that there’s bullying in Rudolph, because the bullied people win in the end.” In other words, it’s a morality play. Sin is allowed, only to the degree that it plays a role in the black-white world being depicted. “Rudolph ends up triumphant over the bullies when the quality that they made fun of turns out to save Santa’s Christmas journey.” Take that, bullies!

    Of course, such a view is still too pat. As James notes (@3), the Bible itself not only depicts terrible, awful actions, but it does not always tell us that those terrible, awful people met with earthly justice! It’s not that the Bible doesn’t condemn sin — obviously it does. It’s just that the Bible depicts reality. That is to say, sometimes people do horrible things and get away with it, or even prosper (the Bible talks about this, too, you know). But many Christian critics, while tolerating such unpunished sin in the Bible, simply won’t allow it in movies or books. “It sends the wrong message” — by which they apparently refer to the simple depiction of reality.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But.

    I think Cheryl (@4) makes a really good point here. One that might be lost in all the anti-PC piling-on.

    I mean, sure, it’s a kid’s show. Sure, it’s a bit pat. It’s just a morality play. And if we just acknowledge that and then proceed to enjoy it, fine.

    But what’s more sinister — and this is what Cheryl got at — is, well, the apparent moral being pushed here. Which isn’t just “bullying is bad”. No, it’s “don’t bully people who are different, because they may later prove to be useful to you.”

    Quite frankly, this message should be somewhat anathema to Christians. It’s utilitarianism. And it’s scary.

    What if Rudolph hadn’t proven useful? What if he was, quite simply, a genetic freak? What if his “nose so bright” actually hindered the lives of others? Would the bullying be justified, then? At best, the supposed anti-bullying message of Rudolph seems a bit silent on this matter.

    Look, I’m likely guilty of trying too hard here (I haven’t seen this show in decades) but we believe bullying is wrong simply because it’s unloving — a focus purely on others. It’s not wrong because it may cost you a future opportunity — that’s just selfishness deferred.

    And sure, God will use our selfishness to keep us from being total jerks to others we may think could help us out in the future. But that’s not love on our part.

    Anyhow, the problem in this show is that the creators really thought this utilitarian message was a positive one. And in some situations, it is, kinda. But for the kid who’s born with a birth defect, who has some condition that makes it unlikely he will ever be viewed as “freak now, but useful later”, it might just be a depressing moral.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But.

    I think Cheryl (@4) makes a really good point here. One that might be lost in all the anti-PC piling-on.

    I mean, sure, it’s a kid’s show. Sure, it’s a bit pat. It’s just a morality play. And if we just acknowledge that and then proceed to enjoy it, fine.

    But what’s more sinister — and this is what Cheryl got at — is, well, the apparent moral being pushed here. Which isn’t just “bullying is bad”. No, it’s “don’t bully people who are different, because they may later prove to be useful to you.”

    Quite frankly, this message should be somewhat anathema to Christians. It’s utilitarianism. And it’s scary.

    What if Rudolph hadn’t proven useful? What if he was, quite simply, a genetic freak? What if his “nose so bright” actually hindered the lives of others? Would the bullying be justified, then? At best, the supposed anti-bullying message of Rudolph seems a bit silent on this matter.

    Look, I’m likely guilty of trying too hard here (I haven’t seen this show in decades) but we believe bullying is wrong simply because it’s unloving — a focus purely on others. It’s not wrong because it may cost you a future opportunity — that’s just selfishness deferred.

    And sure, God will use our selfishness to keep us from being total jerks to others we may think could help us out in the future. But that’s not love on our part.

    Anyhow, the problem in this show is that the creators really thought this utilitarian message was a positive one. And in some situations, it is, kinda. But for the kid who’s born with a birth defect, who has some condition that makes it unlikely he will ever be viewed as “freak now, but useful later”, it might just be a depressing moral.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Great comment, Todd. Or rather, tODD. And I think you may have helped me to see what I don’t like about the Rudolph story. It’s too realistic. I am all in favor of realistic literature. It’s why as a homeschooling mom I run away from some of the sugary, morality tale types of series and choose instead to have my children read the great works. But in a children’s Christmas fable for very young children I think there are some things that should remain constant. And one of them is that Santa ought to be larger than life (haha) and good. The Santa in Rudolph is ill-tempered and mean. He even picks on the poor elves about their singing, if I remember correctly. What’s with this guy, anyway? Give me the Santa from Frosty the Snowman any day–you know, the miracle worker that comes in at the end and makes it all right.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Great comment, Todd. Or rather, tODD. And I think you may have helped me to see what I don’t like about the Rudolph story. It’s too realistic. I am all in favor of realistic literature. It’s why as a homeschooling mom I run away from some of the sugary, morality tale types of series and choose instead to have my children read the great works. But in a children’s Christmas fable for very young children I think there are some things that should remain constant. And one of them is that Santa ought to be larger than life (haha) and good. The Santa in Rudolph is ill-tempered and mean. He even picks on the poor elves about their singing, if I remember correctly. What’s with this guy, anyway? Give me the Santa from Frosty the Snowman any day–you know, the miracle worker that comes in at the end and makes it all right.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    At the risk of unduly extending my rant here, the message of Rudolph reminds me of the temptation so many parents have (my kids are too young for this really, but I can feel the pull already) to try to assuage their child’s anguish by saying, “It’s okay; So-and-so may be better than you at X, but you’re better than him at Y.”

    I mean, sometimes that message is true. I, too, faced various kinds of opposition in school for being smart and/or a nerd. And, sure, I went on to find my own crowd, and my being good at school ended up being useful to me — more useful than the fleeting popularity that I had so wished to obtain.

    But some kids don’t have particularly great brains with which to make up for their lack of popularity or good looks. They might not be better than anyone at any skill. What if that’s your kid? What do you tell him?

    Well, hopefully, you tell him you love him. Not because of any traits he might possess that are useful or whatever. Just because he’s your kid.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    At the risk of unduly extending my rant here, the message of Rudolph reminds me of the temptation so many parents have (my kids are too young for this really, but I can feel the pull already) to try to assuage their child’s anguish by saying, “It’s okay; So-and-so may be better than you at X, but you’re better than him at Y.”

    I mean, sometimes that message is true. I, too, faced various kinds of opposition in school for being smart and/or a nerd. And, sure, I went on to find my own crowd, and my being good at school ended up being useful to me — more useful than the fleeting popularity that I had so wished to obtain.

    But some kids don’t have particularly great brains with which to make up for their lack of popularity or good looks. They might not be better than anyone at any skill. What if that’s your kid? What do you tell him?

    Well, hopefully, you tell him you love him. Not because of any traits he might possess that are useful or whatever. Just because he’s your kid.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    My “great comment” was in reference to tODD’s first comment, but I would apply it to his second one, too. I have had similar thoughts.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    My “great comment” was in reference to tODD’s first comment, but I would apply it to his second one, too. I have had similar thoughts.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    tODD @ 22,

    That’s a very important point. When one writes a story, and especially a story involving people, one must somehow involve sin in the story, simply because sin is often the reason for conflict, both real and fictional. Should we glorify sin in the process? Absolutely not! But neither do we ignore it. We who are artists need to portray sin, and portray it for what it is,

    When I see Rudolph, I see sin in the poor treatment of Rudolph. I don’t see any glorification of bullying. And if people think that eliminating “bullying” (which I would argue is being too broadly defined now anyway) via media is going to change the hearts of people, then they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

    Didn’t Luther say something about that, that when he went into the monastery he thought his sin would be left behind, and he found out that it came in with him?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    tODD @ 22,

    That’s a very important point. When one writes a story, and especially a story involving people, one must somehow involve sin in the story, simply because sin is often the reason for conflict, both real and fictional. Should we glorify sin in the process? Absolutely not! But neither do we ignore it. We who are artists need to portray sin, and portray it for what it is,

    When I see Rudolph, I see sin in the poor treatment of Rudolph. I don’t see any glorification of bullying. And if people think that eliminating “bullying” (which I would argue is being too broadly defined now anyway) via media is going to change the hearts of people, then they’ll be in for a rude awakening.

    Didn’t Luther say something about that, that when he went into the monastery he thought his sin would be left behind, and he found out that it came in with him?

  • Stone the Crows

    I think the only bullying going on in this case is from a postmodern deconstructionst Long Island Professor telling the rest of us what we ought to think.

  • Stone the Crows

    I think the only bullying going on in this case is from a postmodern deconstructionst Long Island Professor telling the rest of us what we ought to think.

  • Cincinnatus

    Ok, why are we now throwing around high-falutin’ words like “postmodern” and “deconstructionist”? This politically-correct reading of Rudolph is neither postmodern nor deconstructionist.

  • Cincinnatus

    Ok, why are we now throwing around high-falutin’ words like “postmodern” and “deconstructionist”? This politically-correct reading of Rudolph is neither postmodern nor deconstructionist.

  • –helen

    If I had written it (haha) I would not have involved Santa or Rudolph’s father in the bullying. –Cheryl

    Have you read the original short story? Or are you reacting to the song or a movie?

    I had the original (one of the kids probably has it now). Montgomery Ward put it out one Christmas long ago as a giveaway to shoppers. I do not remember anything in it that would offend; in those days, at least, you didn’t write offensive advertising.

  • –helen

    If I had written it (haha) I would not have involved Santa or Rudolph’s father in the bullying. –Cheryl

    Have you read the original short story? Or are you reacting to the song or a movie?

    I had the original (one of the kids probably has it now). Montgomery Ward put it out one Christmas long ago as a giveaway to shoppers. I do not remember anything in it that would offend; in those days, at least, you didn’t write offensive advertising.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Helen, I could be wrong, but I thought it all started with the song, with the fleshed out story and the television show coming later.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Helen, I could be wrong, but I thought it all started with the song, with the fleshed out story and the television show coming later.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    To answer your question, though, all of my questions have been aimed at the TV show.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    To answer your question, though, all of my questions have been aimed at the TV show.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Helen, you’re right–the original was the Montgomery Ward story. Then came the song, then the TV show. Again, my comments all along have been directed at the TV telling, not the song or the original poem, which which I am not familiar.

  • http://www.roundunvarnishedtale.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Helen, you’re right–the original was the Montgomery Ward story. Then came the song, then the TV show. Again, my comments all along have been directed at the TV telling, not the song or the original poem, which which I am not familiar.

  • –helen

    I seldom watch a movie after I’ve loved the book, especially if Disney’s had a go at it.

  • –helen

    I seldom watch a movie after I’ve loved the book, especially if Disney’s had a go at it.

  • Susan

    I find it strange too that even Santa would pile on poor Rudolph for something he couldn’t help. But bear with for a minute.

    The story quite simply says something true about our world and that’s that even the nice *Christian* guys can sometimes be cruel and selfish, yea, sinful, even. Not one of the Biblical heroes escapes intact, after all: Adam who was first to pass the buck, Noah, first recorded instance of drunkenness (although I’m of the mind of not blaming him after all he’d been through), Abraham, who lied to a King and was consequently thrown out of Egypt, David, who committed adultery and murder, still had concubines and wives by the dozen and let his son Absalom run riot, Jonah, who was a whiner and a coward, Rahab the prostitute, and so on, and so forth. Yet God used them just the same-every one of them was an ancestor of Christ.

    That’s what I take away from this.

  • Susan

    I find it strange too that even Santa would pile on poor Rudolph for something he couldn’t help. But bear with for a minute.

    The story quite simply says something true about our world and that’s that even the nice *Christian* guys can sometimes be cruel and selfish, yea, sinful, even. Not one of the Biblical heroes escapes intact, after all: Adam who was first to pass the buck, Noah, first recorded instance of drunkenness (although I’m of the mind of not blaming him after all he’d been through), Abraham, who lied to a King and was consequently thrown out of Egypt, David, who committed adultery and murder, still had concubines and wives by the dozen and let his son Absalom run riot, Jonah, who was a whiner and a coward, Rahab the prostitute, and so on, and so forth. Yet God used them just the same-every one of them was an ancestor of Christ.

    That’s what I take away from this.

  • Random Lutheran

    The other reindeer were rank hypocrites and never got called on it. Santa valued his reindeer only for their utility, and the reindeer followed his lead. Then poor Rudolph is sucked into this terrible system, and though he has suffered from it, he also benefits from it, and will likely end up treating other reindeer in exactly the same way.

  • Random Lutheran

    The other reindeer were rank hypocrites and never got called on it. Santa valued his reindeer only for their utility, and the reindeer followed his lead. Then poor Rudolph is sucked into this terrible system, and though he has suffered from it, he also benefits from it, and will likely end up treating other reindeer in exactly the same way.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    There’s really only one solution…

    ‘Occupy’ the North Pole.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    There’s really only one solution…

    ‘Occupy’ the North Pole.

  • Helen F

    Well, I better keep a watch out in my Northwoods backyard to see which reindeer are bullying Rudolph. When I settle on the culprit, I will get my rifle and shoot him. (but only in deer season!)

  • Helen F

    Well, I better keep a watch out in my Northwoods backyard to see which reindeer are bullying Rudolph. When I settle on the culprit, I will get my rifle and shoot him. (but only in deer season!)

  • Tom Hering

    The reindeer learned bullying from St. Nick. You know – the guy who slapped Arius.

  • Tom Hering

    The reindeer learned bullying from St. Nick. You know – the guy who slapped Arius.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    G. K Chesterton once said something along the lines of all adult stories are basically about redemption because adults know themselves to be sinners who need mercy, whereas all children’s stories are basically about justice because children are ‘innocent’ and want to see that there is moral order in the world where the bad guys get their just deserts. We might not want to push Chesterton’s theology too hard here but there’s a lot of truth in his basic observation, I think. And isn’t that the point of Rudolph? He finally triumphs over the nasty reindeer.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    G. K Chesterton once said something along the lines of all adult stories are basically about redemption because adults know themselves to be sinners who need mercy, whereas all children’s stories are basically about justice because children are ‘innocent’ and want to see that there is moral order in the world where the bad guys get their just deserts. We might not want to push Chesterton’s theology too hard here but there’s a lot of truth in his basic observation, I think. And isn’t that the point of Rudolph? He finally triumphs over the nasty reindeer.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Which is to say that the critics of Rudolph as a story are completely missing the point.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    Which is to say that the critics of Rudolph as a story are completely missing the point.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, but Mark (@40), doesn’t Chesterton’s observation (as you’ve described it) merely beg the question of why children’s stories enforce a worldview that is so at odds with reality, and whether that’s a good thing?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, but Mark (@40), doesn’t Chesterton’s observation (as you’ve described it) merely beg the question of why children’s stories enforce a worldview that is so at odds with reality, and whether that’s a good thing?

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    tODD @42
    Todd, not sure what you mean by ‘at odds with reality’.
    Are you suggesting there is no moral order to the universe?
    Or do you mean that flying reindeers don’t really exist?
    ;0)

    Granted, perfect justice very often eludes us in this world. But that doesn’t mean that the sense of justice that children’s stories inculcate doesn’t meet meet a deep-felt need for education in moral order.
    Going a bit further with my thoughts, and further than Rudolph takes us, I would also mention the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim’s theory that fairy tales, with all their apparent fascination with evil, witches, talking wolves, death by violent means, etc, help children to adjust – whether pre-consciously or unconsciously – to a world where real evil exists and they help them to make some sense of that world through symbols. I wouldn’t back up everything Bettelheim said, particularly as he was Freudian, but again, like GKC, I think his basic insight is helpful.
    Which is all to say that parents shouldn’t be so concerned about the witchcraft and magic in things like Harry Potter, or bullying reindeer in Rudolph, but look to the actual meaning of the story.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Pr Mark Henderson

    tODD @42
    Todd, not sure what you mean by ‘at odds with reality’.
    Are you suggesting there is no moral order to the universe?
    Or do you mean that flying reindeers don’t really exist?
    ;0)

    Granted, perfect justice very often eludes us in this world. But that doesn’t mean that the sense of justice that children’s stories inculcate doesn’t meet meet a deep-felt need for education in moral order.
    Going a bit further with my thoughts, and further than Rudolph takes us, I would also mention the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim’s theory that fairy tales, with all their apparent fascination with evil, witches, talking wolves, death by violent means, etc, help children to adjust – whether pre-consciously or unconsciously – to a world where real evil exists and they help them to make some sense of that world through symbols. I wouldn’t back up everything Bettelheim said, particularly as he was Freudian, but again, like GKC, I think his basic insight is helpful.
    Which is all to say that parents shouldn’t be so concerned about the witchcraft and magic in things like Harry Potter, or bullying reindeer in Rudolph, but look to the actual meaning of the story.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mark said (@43):

    Which is all to say that parents shouldn’t be so concerned about the witchcraft and magic in things like Harry Potter, or bullying reindeer in Rudolph, but look to the actual meaning of the story.

    But it’s the “actual meaning” with which I, at least, am taking issue here. It’s not the portrayal of bullying I find troubling. It’s the utilitarianism that’s apparently smiled on by the makers of Rudolph.

    (Likewise, in Harry Potter, it wasn’t the witchcraft or whatever I was bothered by. It was the fact that Harry continued to bend and break the rules, and that the authorities smiled on his doing so because he was the Special One. Other kids broke the rules and we were supposed to jeer at them because they were Bad, but when Harry broke the rules, the authorities, with few exceptions, smiled on him, because he was the Chosen One. I mean, I loved the books, but I really hated that message.)

    Anyhow, let’s go back to your original summation of Chesterton:

    All adult stories are basically about redemption because adults know themselves to be sinners who need mercy, whereas all children’s stories are basically about justice because children are ‘innocent’ and want to see that there is moral order in the world where the bad guys get their just deserts.

    I guess my question boils down to: Why the bait and switch for our kids? Are we not capable of telling them the truth — that they, too, are sinners who need mercy? Do we think they can’t handle the truth? Do we think they’re not sinners?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Mark said (@43):

    Which is all to say that parents shouldn’t be so concerned about the witchcraft and magic in things like Harry Potter, or bullying reindeer in Rudolph, but look to the actual meaning of the story.

    But it’s the “actual meaning” with which I, at least, am taking issue here. It’s not the portrayal of bullying I find troubling. It’s the utilitarianism that’s apparently smiled on by the makers of Rudolph.

    (Likewise, in Harry Potter, it wasn’t the witchcraft or whatever I was bothered by. It was the fact that Harry continued to bend and break the rules, and that the authorities smiled on his doing so because he was the Special One. Other kids broke the rules and we were supposed to jeer at them because they were Bad, but when Harry broke the rules, the authorities, with few exceptions, smiled on him, because he was the Chosen One. I mean, I loved the books, but I really hated that message.)

    Anyhow, let’s go back to your original summation of Chesterton:

    All adult stories are basically about redemption because adults know themselves to be sinners who need mercy, whereas all children’s stories are basically about justice because children are ‘innocent’ and want to see that there is moral order in the world where the bad guys get their just deserts.

    I guess my question boils down to: Why the bait and switch for our kids? Are we not capable of telling them the truth — that they, too, are sinners who need mercy? Do we think they can’t handle the truth? Do we think they’re not sinners?

  • Lori B

    Todd – I absolutely believe that they are sinners in need of a savior, and my children understand that as well. However, I don’t think they are capable of realizing the extent to which they need a savior. (Obviously some adults don’t either.) And that is why I think they are more focussed on justice, instead of redemption. They all know what it feels like to have a toy taken away by a bigger sibling or child, or what it feels like to be called a bad name. They instinctively know this is wrong, and they want something done about it. They still think the world should be ‘fair’, not realizing what that would ultimately mean for them. Stories revolving around justice resonate with them.

  • Lori B

    Todd – I absolutely believe that they are sinners in need of a savior, and my children understand that as well. However, I don’t think they are capable of realizing the extent to which they need a savior. (Obviously some adults don’t either.) And that is why I think they are more focussed on justice, instead of redemption. They all know what it feels like to have a toy taken away by a bigger sibling or child, or what it feels like to be called a bad name. They instinctively know this is wrong, and they want something done about it. They still think the world should be ‘fair’, not realizing what that would ultimately mean for them. Stories revolving around justice resonate with them.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lori B said (@45):

    However, I don’t think [children] are capable of realizing the extent to which they need a savior.

    That’s troubling to me. Are you saying that children therefore lack faith? Or that their faith is necessarily inferior to that of adults, who are more intellectually capable of assenting to their need for a savior? Because surely Jesus taught us the opposite — he said we (adults) needed to have faith like children, not the opposite.

    And that is why I think they are more focussed on justice, instead of redemption. … They still think the world should be ‘fair’, not realizing what that would ultimately mean for them.

    But this actually more true for children than adults? I know plenty of adults who are focused on “justice”, who think the world should be “fair”. They tend not to be Christians, of course — or, at least, they tend not to be Christians who focus on Jesus as the savior.

    It seems quite possible to me that all humans, deep down, enjoy and prefer the morality tales with which we ply our children. We all want to see the “bad” people get their comeuppance. This is our natural state, it is man’s default religion.

    What I’m wondering is this: are we, perhaps, harming our children by pandering to this religion of works-righteousness? Do we end up confusing them by plying them with stories of justice for years, only then to introduce them to stories of redemption?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lori B said (@45):

    However, I don’t think [children] are capable of realizing the extent to which they need a savior.

    That’s troubling to me. Are you saying that children therefore lack faith? Or that their faith is necessarily inferior to that of adults, who are more intellectually capable of assenting to their need for a savior? Because surely Jesus taught us the opposite — he said we (adults) needed to have faith like children, not the opposite.

    And that is why I think they are more focussed on justice, instead of redemption. … They still think the world should be ‘fair’, not realizing what that would ultimately mean for them.

    But this actually more true for children than adults? I know plenty of adults who are focused on “justice”, who think the world should be “fair”. They tend not to be Christians, of course — or, at least, they tend not to be Christians who focus on Jesus as the savior.

    It seems quite possible to me that all humans, deep down, enjoy and prefer the morality tales with which we ply our children. We all want to see the “bad” people get their comeuppance. This is our natural state, it is man’s default religion.

    What I’m wondering is this: are we, perhaps, harming our children by pandering to this religion of works-righteousness? Do we end up confusing them by plying them with stories of justice for years, only then to introduce them to stories of redemption?

  • moallen

    Make all the excuses you want, he did have a red nose. What do you expect?! We can’t alter reality for the sake of not promoting “bullying!”

  • moallen

    Make all the excuses you want, he did have a red nose. What do you expect?! We can’t alter reality for the sake of not promoting “bullying!”

  • helen

    Other kids broke the rules and we were supposed to jeer at them because they were Bad, but when Harry broke the rules, the authorities, with few exceptions, smiled on him, because he was the Chosen One. I mean, I loved the books, but I really hated that message.)

    Interesting! Has tODD figured out why all of us peasants brought up on the 10 commandments… esp. the one about stealing… resent Goldman-Sachs, the Fed, and Bernanke (as the price of our bread doubles but the interest on our retirement savings is held at zilch)!?

    [Don't say, "It's legal"! Quite a few things that have been made "legal" are morally reprehensible.]

    We don’t have to be in jail for carrying a half ounce of ‘pot’ (or shop lifting that bread) to know that something is wrong with a system which rewards thieves [who have destroyed the world economy for their own gain] with supervision of the US monetary system. They’re the Chosen, alright!

  • helen

    Other kids broke the rules and we were supposed to jeer at them because they were Bad, but when Harry broke the rules, the authorities, with few exceptions, smiled on him, because he was the Chosen One. I mean, I loved the books, but I really hated that message.)

    Interesting! Has tODD figured out why all of us peasants brought up on the 10 commandments… esp. the one about stealing… resent Goldman-Sachs, the Fed, and Bernanke (as the price of our bread doubles but the interest on our retirement savings is held at zilch)!?

    [Don't say, "It's legal"! Quite a few things that have been made "legal" are morally reprehensible.]

    We don’t have to be in jail for carrying a half ounce of ‘pot’ (or shop lifting that bread) to know that something is wrong with a system which rewards thieves [who have destroyed the world economy for their own gain] with supervision of the US monetary system. They’re the Chosen, alright!

  • helen

    Make all the excuses you want, he did have a red nose. What do you expect?! We can’t alter reality for the sake of not promoting “bullying!”

    Right. And Lazarus was sick and in rags…. of course Dives was entitled to kick him as he went by into his luxurious house. And Dives “earned” his “sumptuous” meals, no business of his if Lazarus starved!

  • helen

    Make all the excuses you want, he did have a red nose. What do you expect?! We can’t alter reality for the sake of not promoting “bullying!”

    Right. And Lazarus was sick and in rags…. of course Dives was entitled to kick him as he went by into his luxurious house. And Dives “earned” his “sumptuous” meals, no business of his if Lazarus starved!

  • moallen

    helen
    You make good points about Lazurus – he probably smelled too! I kind of intended to make light of serious scholarly inquiry into Rudolph -but I do think the show reflected some realities about life and bullying. I lived through too much of it – even though I was not a reindeer and did not have a red nose. As a matter of fact, I took some small amount of comfort from watching this Christmas special and the island of castaway toys. My relationship with my father and my peers was in some ways reflected in what I saw.

  • moallen

    helen
    You make good points about Lazurus – he probably smelled too! I kind of intended to make light of serious scholarly inquiry into Rudolph -but I do think the show reflected some realities about life and bullying. I lived through too much of it – even though I was not a reindeer and did not have a red nose. As a matter of fact, I took some small amount of comfort from watching this Christmas special and the island of castaway toys. My relationship with my father and my peers was in some ways reflected in what I saw.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    People, I’m not denying that the other reindeers were mean to Rudolph because of his red nose. I am saying that the song doesn’t justify that. And the point of the whole song is to vindicate Rudolph and to teach the other reindeers (and the listeners) not to torment people because of their appearance. This also demonstrates the current literary illiteracy that so many people–from school-aged bullies to high-powered psychologists–cannot understand the meaning even of a story as simple as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    People, I’m not denying that the other reindeers were mean to Rudolph because of his red nose. I am saying that the song doesn’t justify that. And the point of the whole song is to vindicate Rudolph and to teach the other reindeers (and the listeners) not to torment people because of their appearance. This also demonstrates the current literary illiteracy that so many people–from school-aged bullies to high-powered psychologists–cannot understand the meaning even of a story as simple as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

  • moallen

    Dr. Veith,
    That is how I thought about the story – it did not promote bullying but reflected a reality that exists – and I knew the story wasn’t promoting bullying – but was saying to kids that are mocked not to listen to those who bully, sometimes the very thing you think makes you different and weird can become something to celebrate.

  • moallen

    Dr. Veith,
    That is how I thought about the story – it did not promote bullying but reflected a reality that exists – and I knew the story wasn’t promoting bullying – but was saying to kids that are mocked not to listen to those who bully, sometimes the very thing you think makes you different and weird can become something to celebrate.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m also realizing that there is a difference between the song and the TV show. (I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the TV show, if you can believe that! It sounds worse than the song, which, of course, doesn’t have a lot of the other bad elements–such as utilitarianism– some of you have been citing.)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m also realizing that there is a difference between the song and the TV show. (I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the TV show, if you can believe that! It sounds worse than the song, which, of course, doesn’t have a lot of the other bad elements–such as utilitarianism– some of you have been citing.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, the song and the TV show were quite different — not surprisingly, since the plot elements as laid out in the song would take up maybe five minutes or so. So the TV show padded things out a bit.

    But I’m not sure the song doesn’t have utilitarianism at its core — even if it’s not as bad as the TV show. I mean, it’s not like the reindeer show any remorse, as such, in their treatment towards Rudolph. It’s just that they suddenly find his bizarre difference useful, due to a change in weather conditions. And then they’re all “You’ll go down in history!”

    Sure, a utilitarianism-derived change of mind is better than the continued shunning of those who look different. But it’s still not the purest motive, right?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, the song and the TV show were quite different — not surprisingly, since the plot elements as laid out in the song would take up maybe five minutes or so. So the TV show padded things out a bit.

    But I’m not sure the song doesn’t have utilitarianism at its core — even if it’s not as bad as the TV show. I mean, it’s not like the reindeer show any remorse, as such, in their treatment towards Rudolph. It’s just that they suddenly find his bizarre difference useful, due to a change in weather conditions. And then they’re all “You’ll go down in history!”

    Sure, a utilitarianism-derived change of mind is better than the continued shunning of those who look different. But it’s still not the purest motive, right?


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