I am not happy about some of the words of the song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and I think it would be advisable to have them bleeped out.
I am particularly worried about the line: “They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”
What exactly are “reindeer games”? There must be a suspicion that this is some coded message about drugs. It could refer to the smoking of some kind of hallucinogenic lichen or possibly the chewing of magic moss.
Rutting inevitably comes to mind. This is hardly fitting subject matter for a children’s song at Christmas. I suggest that reindeer games could refer to some rutting-related sexual activity, possibly involving antlers or snowdrifts – or maybe ice cubes.
Perhaps they are one of those services offered in mystifying cards in phone boxes, in specialist magazines, or in the dingier corners of the internet.
Here we have an obvious case where digital obliteration is essential. So let it be: “They never let poor Rudolph bleep bleep bleep.”
The next words to consider are “red” and “nosed”. Will members of the sniffling community be offended? My instinct is to say that we all know people with colds and they are quite resilient about jokes being made about the affliction. In our modern outspoken age, after all, sneezes are treated as lightly as hiccups.
A red nose which is the result of consuming too many units of alcohol is quite another matter. How did Rudolph acquire his rubicund nasal organ? Sadly, the song does not tell us.
We could adjust the wording to: “Rudolph, the reindeer with a nasty cold, had a red nose,” but this would disturb the scansion. There is also the risk that people, just to be mischievous, will sing the original ambiguous version.
In the current climate we cannot allow it to be thought that we approve of people (or animals) drinking so much that their noses turn red. And we cannot allow the message to be put across that alcohol will help you “go down in history”. I have therefore decided to semi-bleep the line – ie to blur the words “red-nosed”.
The song goes: “Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say…” I think we are all agreed that the “f consonant” is best avoided in songs for children at any time in December when they are more excitable than usual. We could perhaps replace “foggy” with “soggy”, but this would involve a major overhaul of the lyrics to suggest that Rudolph had a waterproof nose. As we have already blurred “nose” in the first line, this would only add to the confusion. So bleep the “foggy”.
I’m also unhappy with the first syllable of the reindeer’s name. It looks as if it is supposed to be a signal that something suggestive or rude is to follow later in the song. So we’ll blur the “Rud”. I think this actually improves the song. Olph is a good name for a reindeer; it has an authentic Lapp ring to it.
So it’s: “Olph the blur blur reindeer had a very shiny bleep.” The trouble is, if you bleep the “nose” the rhyming word “glows” in the next line could easily give the game away. So let’s bleep them both.
It astonishes me, when there is so much concern about bullying, that anyone could even contemplate singing the line: “All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.” I suggest the whole of this line is left out if the song is sung before the watershed. When it is played later in the evening there should be an advance warning that the verse contains hints of bullying, with a statement stressing that we do not condone the calling of names.
Santa says: “Olph with your bleep so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Could it be that the brightness of Olph’s bleep is actually an illusion? Maybe it only appears bright to Santa because he has been experimenting with hallucinogenic lichen or dabbling in moss. Out with this subversive message.
We now come to the line: “Then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee.” We certainly don’t want anyone to get the idea that they loved him in a “reindeer games” kind of way. And, speaking personally, I’m not all that keen on shouting out with glee if it encourages rowdiness in our town centres. So we’ll bleep the “loved” and blur the “shouted”.
I think, as it’s Christmas, we can hold on to the glee if it’s sung responsibly. After these minor amendments the song is now perfectly acceptable.
I now turn my attention to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus“. There are one or two points…
Coming up next …
I’m away on my Christmas holidays from 20 December until 4 January. I’ve scheduled some seasonal postings to keep your Christmas spirit topped up (RJG take note!).
- 22 December – Even wise men make lists
- 23 December – Festive games for all the family
- 24 December – A list to end all lists
- 25 December – It’s still not too late to sign the Santa clause
- 01 January – 12 useful things for today
Happy Christmas to one and all, may your Yuletide be filled with warmth, happiness and good cheer.