Saturday, December 8, 2007

questions for an incandescent reindeer

You've seen this holiday classic, right? It's unavoidable at this time of year. A mother gives birth to a child with a luminary nasal cavity. The child is ridiculed by friends and becomes an outcast. The child finds companions and together they seek refuge amonst abandoned toys, but are rejected by the toys' leader as well. The child and his friends are hunted by a gigantic and fearsome beast, so the child decides to leave his friends and return home. Having learned that his family has left to seek him out, the child finds them in the lair of the beast. The story ends with the taming of the beast, a joyous homecoming, and a legendary journey through a storm to deliver presents all over the world.

As I watched it this year, I couldn't help but be struck by several things.

  • Although I realize that mystery is an indelible part of this story, I can't help but wonder exactly how Rudolph was able to exhibit bioluminescence. Bioluminescence occurs in sea creatures like fish and squid, not land animals like caribou. Some scientists suggest that animals with bioluminescence use it to attract mates, and it certainly helped Rudolph develop a relationship with the doe Clarice.
  • Even though Rudolph shows remarkable flying abilities, he is shunned solely because of his bioluminescence. Santa Claus himself, who doles out presents to the children of the world, shows an extreme lack of tolerance - and even disdain - for different kinds of reindeer.
  • Hermie, an elf who should be happy in his work as a toymaker, decided that he should be a dentist. How did he learn about dentistry? I seriously doubt he would have any contact with someone beyond the North Pole borders. No elf had ever talked of dentistry before. How did he gain such knowledge of orthodontia?
  • King Moonracer flies around all night looking for toys. How is he able to stay away during the day to "hold court" in his castle?
  • When it comes to the toys on the Island of Misfit Toys, I guess we have to consider that they were made by human toymakers and not Santa's elves. After all, we would have to seriously question the effectiveness of Quality Control if the elves were able to put out defective toys. Perhaps the toys were made in China, which would explain a lot...
  • Even though they both old land in the frozen north, Santa seemed unaware of Moonracer's domain. How could he not have known?
  • Yukon Cornelius tells Hermie that abominable snowman are particularly fond of swine. Are there many pig farms in the tundra?
  • What is it about an abominable snowman's molecular/chemical/bone structure that enables him to bounce?
If you have any thoughts on this, feel free to add them in the comments section.


  1. Matt, Matt,

    I believe you're overlooking the greater questions, such as does Santa's annual toy giveaway cloak a hidden motive, such as creating databases of addresses, personal habits, etc. to sell to marketers who advertsise on special Christmas TV programs?


  2. Jawn, that is something I hadn't previously considered. You may be onto something...