Rudolph The Problematic Reindeer?

Rudolph The Problematic Reindeer?

Or are we taking political correctness too far?

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The topic of political correctness, especially in the context of representation of the marginalized, has become an especially controversial subject over the past decade. The questions of what is appropriate and what is offensive, and what images send what messages, have been hotly debated in schools, media, government, and community.

Yesterday a friend informed me of the latest (as far as I know) subject of scrutiny in the name of political correctness: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

We all know the beloved, classical Christmas film, but in case you've forgotten, here's a recap: Rudolph is a reindeer who, to the shame of his parents, was born with a nose that glows red. He is often the target of ridicule and exclusion due to his nose, until Santa realizes how useful it is for guiding his sleigh through a dark and foggy night. Rudolph is celebrated as the hero and we are left with the message that it is our differences, our perceived flaws, that make us truly special.

Seems innocent enough. But recently a debate about the film's intentions and message has been revived, bring this family-favorite under investigation. The claimed problem lies in Rudolph's identity as a "marginalized" character and the ways he may symbolize those with disabilities, specifically, or more generally any targeted minority group.

These claims lay base in the scenes which display "verbal abuse," persecution, and rejection of Rudolph on the basis of his physical difference, along with his eventual inclusion only after he is shown to be of service to others. People are arguing that such scenes parallel and symbolize the type of discrimination experienced by marginalized groups in today's society and perpetuate the attitudes that reduce people to their bodies and abilities.

Is there any legitimacy in these claims? Maybe so - Rudolph most definitely does become a victim of harassment and bullying due to a condition of his life which is totally out of his control. At the same time, though, is making these claims in response to a children's claymation about animals a bit of a reach? I would argue yes.

While there is value in monitoring the messages our media sends, especially media directed at children, we have to consider the context of the argument and its formation. In this case, a series of joking tweets was compiled into an article intended to entertain (HuffPost) , which was then picked up by social media outlets, and eventually by mainstream news outlets.

This progression shows how quickly our opinions and ideas about certain things are shaped and disseminated by the media. This sudden anti-Rudolph activism, which began as a mild joke on the slightly problematic undertones in the film quickly became a debate between the most extreme sectors of both liberals and conservatives,with each side claiming hate-speech or another "War on Christmas," respectively.

What we need is to take a step back and remember that this film, made for children, over 50 years ago, is not the real issue. While there may be some scenes that are a nod to a less aware time, and it can't hurt to explain to children that bullying and discrimination is never okay, even if you apologize for it later, the fact remains that this is an animated film.

Maybe it is best we focus this type of energy on bigger problems - think institutional and systematic oppression - rather than going to war over our favorite reindeer cartoon.

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21 Beer-rific Instagram Captions For Your 21st Birthday

Because "twenty fun" is old and overused.
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For the past few years, I have seen the same caption on Instagram over and over again about a girl turning 21. Yes, "Twenty fun," is pretty clever, but I'm tired of seeing it. Since my 21st birthday is this week, I was wondering what I should use as an Instagram caption. So, here are 21 Instagram captions that you'll be dying to use for your 21st.

1. R.I.P. Fake ID.

2. Cheers and beers to my 21 years.

3. Do you find me aBOOZing?

4. Pitcher perfect.

5. Hakuna Ma 'Vodka - It means no memories for the rest of your night.

6. Bad and Boozy

7. I make pour decisions.

8. Beer makes me hoppy.

9. IPA lot when I drink.

10. I can finally have a six-pack.

11. Tequila probably won't fix my problems, but it's worth a shot.

12. Sip happens.

13. Let the evening be Gin.

14. Wine not?

15. Whiskey business.

16. Getting into the birthday spirit.

17. If life gives you lemons, add vodka.

18. Here's to the year I won't remember.

19. It's a lot easier to start the day when you know it can now end with beer.

20. Save water, drink beer.

21. Here's to an unBEERleliveable night.

Cover Image Credit: Alexalosey on Instagram

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As I Get Older, I Care Less And Less About My Birthday

It doesn't hold the same meaning as it did when I was younger.

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Every year people celebrate their birthday. It's an exciting day for most as you get some gifts and cake and spend it with friends and family. I used to love my birthday. I loved that on that one day, the spotlight was on me. People had to care about me. As I've gotten older though, I found myself caring less and less about my birthday. It's not a day I get excited about.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with my birthday anyway, given that it's on Valentine's Day. So I've always had to share my birthday with all that love and people wanting to spend it with their partner. I believe that the dislike side has grown as well because as I get older and my friends get older, they are all finding someone to be with or starting a family. Therefore, they have someone they want to spend the day with. They want to celebrate with them, not me. I've always had to battle Valentine's Day.

I believe that once you've hit a lot of major milestone birthdays (i.e first, 16th, 18th, 21st) there isn't much to look forward to. It's just another year added to your life.

You realize more and more that you're just getting older.

I'm generally a simple person as well. I don't want a huge party, I don't want fancy gifts, and I really hate people singing to me. I like having the attention, but hate it at the same time. It's a weird feeling to explain. You want to be loved, but don't want it all at once. I don't want all eyes on me.

Of course, there will always be certain parts of my birthday that I really like and do look forward to. My mom gets me the heart-shaped donuts from Dunkin' every year on my birthday. She never forgets because I don't give her the chance to. I always remind her. I do like the fact that I can ask for something, and more often than not get it because it's my birthday.

I don't mean like big gifts either. I mean that I can ask that we have what I want for dinner. That I can ask my mom to spend some one on one time with me. Simple things that I don't usually get.

I don't hate my birthday, I just don't feel as much excitement as I did growing up. It's just another day of the year.

There's just too much effort you have to put into your birthday as you grow older as well. You usually have to plan something yourself, which I don't want to do. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do because I don't want a party and there isn't anything special I ever wish to do. Even if I did want to plan a party inviting people would be a nightmare and trying to make it work for different people is a hassle.

I just think that as you get older, birthday's just aren't worth the trouble.

So, I've accepted the fact that I just don't care. I will enjoy the little things about it, but I won't make a big fuss. It's just another day.

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