Leave Rudolph alone

San Francisco Chronicle - - FROM THE COVER - Spencer Whit­ney, as­sis­tant ed­i­tor

With Christ­mas a few weeks away, peo­ple should be busy putting or­na­ments on the tree, look­ing for gifts for friends and fam­ily and help­ing those in need. The last thing peo­ple should be wor­ried about is be­ing of­fended by the hol­i­day TV spe­cial “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer” that has been broad­cast an­nu­ally since 1964.

Yes, the adorable, stop-mo­tion clas­sic is now be­ing crit­i­cized for pro­mot­ing bul­ly­ing, misog­yny, bad par­ent­ing and hos­tile work en­vi­ron­ments. The Huff­in­g­ton Post must have de­cided to take on the role of The Grinch when it re­leased a video this week that high­lighted why the TV spe­cial is prob­lem­atic, and re­ferred to Rudolph as “The Marginal­ized Rein­deer.” View­ers noted the ver­bal abuse Rudolph suf­fered at the hands of his stub­born fa­ther as well as the rein­deer who teased him about his red nose call­ing him hurt­ful names like “red schnoz” and “fire snout.” Even Santa Claus’ ini­tial re­ac­tion is un­der scru­tiny.

What’s miss­ing from the crit­i­cism is that the is­sues of bul­ly­ing and name call­ing are re­solved at the end of the spe­cial when Rudolph’s phys­i­cal dif­fer­ence came to the res­cue. Like most chil­dren’s shows, there are life lessons learned and val­ues taught.

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