I've been a fan of film for as long as I can remember and truthfully I find myself at 37 realizing how much I liked the cartoons and family fare of yesteryear. I recently purchased the box set The Originals Christmas Classics which has the Claymation classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa is coming to town, The Little Drummer Boy, Cricket on the Hearth, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, and Frosty Returns. We’re going to focus on Mister red nose though.
After watching Rudolph again for the first time in many years my wife posted on Facebook essentially how un-pc it is. I have no argument, things before now don't always fit in with the current. It doesn't matter if it is music, movies, narratives on politics, religion...etcetera. One thing I did realize is that I don't ever know what someone else may have trouble with.
You see, I recently began as a foster parent and am in the midst of adoption. They had a rough time in their early lives and yet they are so strong and confident I forget it sometimes. At age three and four you assume things and your assumptions aren't always correct. The Big A Both my wife and I thought the abominable Snow man was going to be the crazy horror etched in their little brains for the next few night times, boy were we off! They had no problem with him, or the elves, Burl Ives, or even the rather tattered Misfit Toys but.
They absolutely had an issue with mommy and Daddy (Mr. and Mrs. Donner), the parents of Rudolph leaving. It came as a surprise to me for some reason. It shouldn't have. Several times the film said that they weren't sure Rudolph or R's parents weren't coming back, let alone surviving in the snow ridden arctic.
I also noticed that the theme effected them too. The elf who "didn't fit in" and wanted instead of being a toysmith, to be a dentist. Even in the end when they found the elf useful, he still essentially conform...You can be a dentist but you'll also make toys and everyone will be happy. But what if the guy just wanted to be a dentist? No harm in that. So what is the point I am getting at? We as a society spend a lot of time on thinking about what in a film, album, or video game is going to affect them. "If they see vampires they might want to eat somebody", "If they steal a car in a video game they will surely steal one in real life", "if they hear a guy named after a chocolate treat say he would kill his girlfriend well surely we'll do it too."
But do we ever think about what specific thing, in a specific film, will actually make a child distraught? As a parent I enjoy seeing these sites that tell me why a video is PG or G or PG-13. It helps me wade the waters. But from now on I think I just simply need to think about my kids and what they might get hurt from. By the way, they asked to see it again tonight. SO maybe it didn't frighten them, but it made them think, and made them cry a bit, and hurt a bit but in the end they now know that parents come back (even if they may not be the same one's that brought you to the dance). And they also learned that being different is okay. You know what else they learned? 70's wacky Claymation about a furry friend romping through a snow storm while a phat Santa (as in awesome), is crazy cool!