So I've been thinking about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and I have a few questions. Leaving aside for now the ongoing workplace abuse suffered by Rudolph for his physical deformity, I have to wonder how a shiny nose would be of any use in an aviation environment. My car is pretty shiny (when it's clean) and if it's been properly polished then sure, you might say it glows - but when I'm driving at night, I turn my lights on. Trying to navigate through mist or cloud cover without any kind of actual light is a disaster waiting to happen, and the dim glow of a single red nose just enables the other reindeer (at best) to follow the leader - again, pretty strange if they're all tied together anyway.
Then there's the working environment - as I saw mentioned the other day, you can't emotionally abuse someone for years and then ask them for a favour. Assuming the reindeer serve no other purpose during the year, and that Rudolph's nose is actually an asset in the dark, I have to wonder about the kind of work environment that allows such a situation to continue. Here is an employee who is habitually mocked and abused, but must suddenly take on a leadership position at a moments notice. Santa has been delivering presents for quite some time now, and we can assume that misty Christmas nights are pretty common, meaning that this cycle of abuse and momentary redemption must be ongoing (especially since most of the song transcripts I could find mention the exact same situation over at least two verses).
Granted, an overweight man who spends the night in children's bedrooms and has elves construct toys in polar factories is probably just the employer to allow such a situation to arise, but there is one other tantalising possibility to explain the continuing abuse hurled upon Rudolph by his fellow reindeer: alcohol.
An alcoholic Rudolph could have a red and shiny nose, and may well be scorned by his fellow reindeer for his drinking habits - no wonder the other reindeer wouldn't want Rudolph to join their reindeer games. How this would make him suitable to lead a flight team is a tough question, but Santa is (if we go way back) originally seen as Odin, and the leader of the Wild Hunt - it's possible that in that portrayal Rudolph was being hunted...
If we look to a slightly more modern Santa, we come across another dark alternative, not in the gifts that Santa gives, but the ones that he receives. Nowadays children traditionally leave out milk and cookies for Santa, but in many parts of the world it's still common to leave out sherry or beer. Is this why Rudolph's nose is red? Does he, being in front, get first dibs on all of that alcohol - or at least whatever the fat man doesn't want?
Like any children's story, it's far darker than it first appears - locked in an abusive workplace relationship, Rudolph is actively encouraged to feed his addiction each year by the same employees and family who mock him. He has no escape, save perhaps for those Christmas nights where there is no cloud in the sky - and given that Santa delivers worldwide, and there are always clouds somewhere...
There may just be a silver lining to global warming after all.