On the Day after Thanksgiving, my wife, my three boys, and I sat down to watch the classic holiday movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Since that time, the boys have asked me to read the original book each night before bedtime. And I’m pretty sure they’ve asked their mamma to read it a time or two during the day.
Unbeknownst to me, I was apparently subjecting my children to levels of sexism, racism, homophobia, and bullying that may never be repaired. And you can go ahead and add any other phobias or “isms” that diligent, gender studies majors busy themselves discovering and warning the rest of us about.
Yes, Rudolph is the latest subject of our outrage culture. It seems there are more and more people who live their lives to be outraged. But this outrage seems quite the stretch.
As you probably know by now, this is not a joke, but an actual argument from Huffington Post. While most of America is laughing at the outrage, there are some who literally wake up each morning, scour the latest news, and then find something about which to be offended by. And then they write about it. And outlets like Huffington Post publish it
What is the goal? To bring down what you and I love? To shame the traditions people grew up with or the pastimes that make us feel good? If someone wants to be outraged by something, anything, they can be. They simply pick something, add an “ism” to it, and the story is written. However, in this case the story is really an attack on something families have enjoyed together for generations – a classic holiday tale. Personally, I don’t think it’s by accident.
These attacks are not isolated to Rudolph, and this won’t be the last time. When this passes, there will be something else in our culture to petition.
In this case, as is becoming the norm with the social outrage crowd, the attack doesn’t even make sense. Spoiler alert, the previously outcast misfit toys end the reign of terror brought on by the Abominable Snow Monster. Rudolph, the formerly shunned kid with unique qualities, saves Christmas and becomes the hero. The minority characters who were previously neglected and unfairly treated, are welcomed into the community and the lonely misfit toys are given loving homes.
Social justice is delivered by the acts of individuals seeking their place in the world and discovering the usefulness of their own individual blessings and others coming to recognize those gifts. No, there were no transgendered reindeer. Mrs. Donner doesn’t attend feminists book studies with Mrs. Claus. And the elves didn’t create a union and force members to pay mandatory dues. But the classic movie does teach a wonderfully “woke” story about the value of life and how we all have purpose in this world, even if it takes us, or our neighbors, a while to understand it.
Some people will never be happy. But whether it is something serious or a movie about a reindeer with a red nose, we should never give in to this authoritarian mob seeking to find offense with every tradition some may hold dear. With this mob, no concession will ever be enough.
I’m reminded of another classic children’s story in which the author warns, “if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll just ask for a glass of milk.”