“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think,
and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know…
This is enough.”
John Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams
(one of my most treasured items from childhood…my Rudolph snow globe/ Julie Cook / 2018)
I love today’s quote.
It is from one of my all-time favorite presidents.
And it is a powerful reminder of what is really important and what truly matters in
this upside down world of ours…
especially during these surreal days and time.
I needed to read and heed such wisdom today after reading the following story
that is linked below.
It’s a story about an article that was offered by the liberal media outlet
It seems that the HuffPost and their minions of readers
(or is that ‘bloodthirsty’ followers??),
have recently set their wreckless sights on finding fault with a beloved Christmas
children’s classic story and cartoon.
It seems that even poor ol’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is not exempt from
the attacks of a rabid progressive liberal society that is riding chaotically on one
rail while careening rapidly out of control.
This quasi-news outlet offers a story, along with a video, explaining why Rudolph is
not the long thought moral tale that we have all loved and known since 1939.
Rather it is their opinion that this children’s classic is subversive and is totally
out of step with the current mindset of liberal’s everywhere.
I was 5 years old in 1964 when the animated version hit the airwaves.
It was an integral part of our family’s annual gearing up to the Christmas season.
Mother made certain we had had out baths and were dressed in our pjs while
Dad found the right channel on the television console as we settled in as
a family to watch this iconic Christmas classic.
However, the HuffPost is now telling us that Rudolph is not as we thought.
It is not a tale of overcoming a perceived handicap while rising above
life’s obstacles only to become the hero of the day,
but rather the HuffPost offers a twisted view of this classic children’s tale of
both innocence and Christmas…
They’ve twisted innocence and something for children into something sinister.
Then they add insult to injury…they provide the hate-filled and bizarre remarks
made by their readers.
Read the following words carefully.
“Among those observations was the suggestion that the TV classic was a story about racism
and homophobia, while calling Santa Claus abusive and bigoted.
“Yearly reminder that #Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a parable on racism and homophobia
w/Santa as a bigoted exploitative prick,” read one comment shared by HuffPost.
“Santa’s operation is an HR nightmare and in serious need of diversity and inclusion training.
#Rudolph,” read another.
The video also suggests it was problematic that Rudolph’s father verbally abused him by forcing
him to wear a fake nose to be accepted by others.
Some eagle-eyed social media critics also said the cartoon is sexist because Rudolph’s
mom was snubbed after she wanted to help reindeer husband Donner to search for their son
after he goes missing.
“No, this is man’s work,” Donner says.
But HuffPost’s effort to highlight the perceived bigotry of the beloved movie attracted
tens of thousands of negative comments, most of them mocking the video.
And if I were one who tweeted, or facebooked, or opted to read the HuffPost, then I would join
those thousands who offered negative commentaries.
I would stand on a rooftop and shout how this is nothing but a bunch of dribble.
Ridiculous idiocy and anyone who buys into it is so totally lost and oblivious to reality…
Because obviously there must not be enough really important news if they’re resorting to
writing about the ills of a classic children’s tale.
And dare I say I saw another lead-in story to the ills of Charlie Brown’s Christmas…
does this culture of ours, a culture that has lost its mind, not have enough lunacy
already on its plate before it sets into attacking Charlie Brown???
However, according to the History Channel—there is actually a “real” story behind Rudolph.
A story of real human perseverance.
A story of overcoming the depths of sorrow and difficulty while finding real hope.
Perhaps if the HuffPost had actually bothered to read the back story of Rudolph
and that of Rudolph’s original creator, Robert May, they may have opted to back off…
as Rudolph has always been a tale of hope…despite their now post Christian,
post Christmas spin.
Balsam wreaths and visions of sugarplums had barely faded in the first weeks of 1939,
but thoughts inside the Chicago headquarters of retail giant Montgomery Ward had
already turned to the next Christmas 11 months away.
The retailer had traditionally purchased and distributed coloring books to children
as a holiday promotion, but the advertising department decided it would be cheaper
and more effective instead to develop its own Christmas-themed book in-house.
The assignment fell to Robert May, a copywriter with a knack for turning a
limerick at the company’s holiday party. The adman, however,
had difficulty summoning up holiday cheer, and not just because of the date on the calendar.
Not only was the United States still trying to shake the decade-long Great Depression
while the rumblings of war grew once again Europe,
but May’s wife was suffering with cancer and the medical bills had thrown the family into debt.
Sure, he was pursuing his passion to write,
but churning out mail order catalog copy about men’s shirts instead of penning
the Great American Novel was not what he had envisioned himself doing at age 33
with a degree from Dartmouth College.
Given the assignment to develop an animal story,
May thought a reindeer was a natural for the leading role
(not to mention that his 4-year-old daughter, Barbara, loved the reindeers every time
she visited the zoo). As he peered out at the thick fog that had drifted off Lake Michigan,
May came up with the idea of a misfit reindeer ostracized because of his
luminescent nose who used his physical abnormality to guide Santa’s sleigh and save Christmas.
Seeking an alliterative name, May scribbled possibilities on a scrap of paper—
Rollo, Reginald, Rodney and Romeo were among the choices—before circling his favorite.
As May worked on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” through the summer,
his wife’s health worsened. She passed away in July 1939.
Now a widower and a single father, May refused the offer of his boss to give the
assignment to someone else.
“I needed Rudolph now more than ever,” he later wrote.
Burying his grief, May finished the story in August.
The 89 rhyming couplets in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” borrow from
Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” right from the story’s opening line:
“Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the hills /The reindeer were playing…
enjoying the spills.”
Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling”
also inspired the storyline as did May’s own childhood when he endured taunts from
schoolmates for being small and shy.
“Rudolph and I were something alike,” the copywriter told Guideposts magazine in January 1975.
“As a child, I’d always been the smallest in the class.
Frail, poorly coordinated,
I was never asked to join the school teams.”
Those familiar with only the 1964 animated television version of
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which remains the longest-running Christmas special
in television history a half-century after its debut on NBC,
might not recognize the original tale.
There is no Hermey the elf, no Abominable Snow Monster,
not even the Land of Misfit Toys.
While Rudolph was taunted for his glowing red nose and disinvited from reindeer games
in May’s story, he did not live at the North Pole and was asleep in his house
when Santa Claus, struggling mightily with the fog, arrived with presents and realized
how the reindeer’s radiant snout could help him complete his Christmas Eve rounds.
Montgomery Ward had high hopes for its new 32-page, illustrated booklet,
which would be given as a free gift to children visiting any of the department
store’s 620 locations.
“We believe that an exclusive story like this aggressively advertised in our newspaper
ads and circulars,” the advertising department stated in a September 1939 memo,
“can bring every store an incalculable amount of publicity…
and, far more important a tremendous amount of Christmas traffic.”
The retailer’s holiday advertisements touted “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
as “the rollicking new Christmas verse that’s sweeping the country!”
That wasn’t just hype.
Children snapped up nearly 2.4 million copies of the paper-bound book in 1939.
Plans to print another 1.6 million copies the following year were shelved
by paper shortages due to World War II, and Rudolph remained on hiatus until
the conflict’s conclusion.
When the reindeer story returned in 1946,
it was more popular than ever as Montgomery Ward handed out 3.6 million
copies of the book.
In the interim, May married a fellow Montgomery Ward employee and became
a father again, but he still struggled financially.
In 1947, the retailer’s board of directors, stirred either by the holiday
spirit or belief that the story lacked revenue-making potential,
signed the copyright for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” over to May.
In short order, May licensed a commercial version of the book along with a full
range of Rudolph-themed merchandise including puzzles, View-Master reels,
snow globes, mugs and slippers with sheep wool lining and leather soles.
In 1949, songwriter Johnny Marks, who happened to be May’s brother-in-law,
set Rudolph’s story to music.
After Bing Crosby reportedly turned down the chance,
singing cowboy Gene Autry recorded the song, which sold 2 million copies
in the first year and remains one of the best-selling tunes of all time.
The song and merchandise sales made May financially comfortable, but hardly rich.
After leaving Montgomery Ward in 1951 to manage the Rudolph commercial empire,
May returned to his former employer seven years later.
He continued to work as a copywriter until his 1971 retirement.
By the time he died five years later, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
had become a piece of modern folklore and a metaphor for overcoming obstacles,
embracing differences and recognizing everyone’s unique potential.
May we, the rational and sane who still find the magic of Christmas that is so entwined
with the everlasting gift of Hope that was offered so long ago to all of mankind in a
simple stable in the tiny town of Bethlehem, continue to seek the truth rather
than the sensationalized mania that heavily blankets our current world.
Here’s the Rudolph and to all the joy he has inspired since 1939
and here is to the Christ Child who continues to offer Hope and Salvation
to such an ailing world….