Long Island University Professor says that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was bullied, others agree and disagree:

Millions of viewers have reviewed the evidence. So, was Rudolph bullied?

“What they do to him is bullying especially what they’re teaching the kids now as big as it is in the schools, but yes, he was definitely bullied,” Audra Bamford said.

“We just watched it the other night and I was telling my kids that’s not how we treat our friends,” Ronette Hillenbrand added.

“No I don’t think he’s being bullied,” Dr. Friday said. “I think the problem lies with Santa. He’s just not hugging this poor defenseless thing.”

Santa’s involvement (or lack thereof) hadn’t really occurred to me. Perhaps it’s a telling indictment of how the expectation isn’t even there that authority figures will help.

I think it all depends on how far you stretch the definition of “bullied.” You can limit it to physical violence. You can broaden it a little to include threats of physical violence. You can broaden it even further to taunts and ostracization. I think all of these things apply as bullying of some sort, though some of these forms are more serious than others. I remember back in college I had a discussion with a female classmate wherein she argued that girls are worse bullies than men because guys rely on violence while girls are more creative and hit other girls where it really hurts: self-esteem. I countered that (a) violence hurts and (b) violence in boys is not unrelated to self-esteem. On the second point, she said that the same was true of girls and it was nothing like the self-esteem hit of being accused of being fat. We never came to an agreement. I think there was a fundamental misunderstanding of how boys and girls respond to accusations of weight (which hits girls far harder than boys) and physical weakness (the other way around).

As for Rudolph, I am inclined to agree with Dr. Giuliani that yes Rudolph was bullied, but disagree with his assertion that the movie promotes violence. The attitude towards the taunting of the other reindeer is treated with uniform negativity. If it does anything wrong, it’s to perpetuate the notion that the bullied are bullied because they are “special.” Which sounds nice, of course, but… doesn’t exactly ring true.

On the subject of bullying, Dr. Phi wonders to what extent “helicopter parenting” has actually helped alleviate the bullying problem from years past.


Category: Courthouse, School

About the Author


8 Responses to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Bullied?

  1. Samson J. says:

    It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would deny that Rudolph was bullied. How he should have responded is up for debate.

    On the second point, she said that the same was true of girls and it was nothing like the self-esteem hit of being accused of being fat. We never came to an agreement. I think there was a fundamental misunderstanding of how boys and girls respond to accusations of weight (which hits girls far harder than boys) and physical weakness (the other way around).

    Very good point, and I think we do fail to understand how women process these things. The other day I removed a small skin blemish from a young woman. Without going into detail, I will say that it was in a location where I would have thought it unlikely that anyone would ever even notice it. It was to my great surprise, then, that she mentioned how glad she would be to have it gone as it was “so embarrassing!” I was really struck. Women really don’t think – well, feel – like we do about these things.

    On the subject of bullying, Dr. Phi wonders to what extent “helicopter parenting” has actually helped alleviate the bullying problem from years past.

    Indeed, I read Phi’s post with great interest. I admit I’m still thinking about how to respond. Helicopter parenting… good? I have a hard time with that, but then again I think there is a difference between “helicopter parenting” and parental presence of the sort that homeschooling guarantees.

    Without digressing too much, I’ll say that homeschooling truly began to appeal to me when I realized how modern the “school system” really is. For most of human history, kids have not attended school in the way that they do now – and consequently, I can’t help thinking that they can’t have been bullied in the same way they are now, either. In this sense of being a safeguard against bullying, the rise of “helicopter parenting” is not so much a novel invention as a return to something.

  2. trumwill says:

    Nothing to add Samson. Just wanted to say I appreciated your thoughts.

  3. Samson J. says:

    I appreciate your thoughtful blog, which is why I keep coming here. 🙂

  4. Scarlet Knight says:

    Sorry to interrupt the lovefest, but I wanted to point out this Freudian slip:

    I am inclined to agree with Dr. Giuliani

  5. Samson J. says:

    lol

  6. stone says:

    I was watching a DVD of that last night. Santa sure was skinny and mean.

  7. trumwill says:

    I am inclined to agree with Dr. Giuliani

    That’s the Long Island University professor’s name: George Giuliani.

  8. trumwill says:

    I was watching a DVD of that last night. Santa sure was skinny and mean.

    I have to confess I am going off memory. When/if I see it again, I’ll be looking for this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.