Rudolph. He is a red nosed reindeer. He is a seasonal sensation. But, unfortunately for him, a glowing red nose is highly unnatural for a reindeer (or any animal, really). This begs a very important question: what the hell is wrong with him? Let’s investigate.
First, a caveat: some reindeers actually, literally have red noses. It’s true! Smithsonian explains.
The color is due to an extremely dense array of blood vessels, packed into the nose in order to supply blood and regulate body temperature in extreme environments.
“These results highlight the intrinsic physiological properties of Rudolph’s legendary luminous red nose,” write the study’s authors. “help to protect it from freezing during sleigh rides and to regulate the temperature of the reindeer’s brain, factors essential for flying reindeer pulling Santa Claus’s sleigh under extreme temperatures.”
Fake and real, sure, but certainly not enough to light the way of a sleigh on a foggy night.
So. Why does his nose glow? I have a few theories that I think point to a holiday truth.
The Allergic Reaction Theory
As I write this, my own nose is a bright red from allergies related to the California fires. The young Mr. Nosed Reindeer may have suffered a similar agitation by something in his area: according to Medical News Today, allergies can be the culprit, turning the nose rosy from irritation but, more importantly, because allergies can cause “blood vessels in and around the nose to swell or burst under the skin, making the nose look swollen and red.” Yeesh. Perhaps Rudolph needs a little Claritin?
The “His Real Mother Is A Robot!” Theory
Considering Rudolph had to come from somewhere, his parental relationship undoubtedly has a tie to reindeer-robot hybridity. While it could be his father, Donner, this is unlikely given he is such a high-profile figure: he would have to work very hard to conceal his robotic truth. More realistically, Rudolph’s real mother was likely non-organic: as Huffington Post notes, the original script had the figure being “born” of a stork. The scene was cut but opens the door to the possibility that Rudolph was constructed and delivered to the North Pole as a bionic upgrade. That, or he is a genetically modified super animal.
The Chernobyl Baby Theory
The reindeer that we popularly associate with Rudolph are likely to be Norweigian. While that may sound distant from the Soviet Union disaster, Norway is literally home to radioactive reindeer who have migrated around the area for over thirty years. Rudolph and his insane nose might be one of them.
The General Electric SponCon Theory
Apparently the power company is responsible for the original claymation production of the movie. Likely an experiment from GE, this makes the animal not just a robot but a sponsored content robot. Can you believe that? Moreover, the movie came out in 1964 while the first LED – Which was red!!! – was invented by GE in 1962.
The Alcoholic Child Theory
You know the old stereotype that heavy drinkers have red noses? Apply that to Rudolph and – Voilá! – we have our answer, an animal whose alcohol induced broken capillaries heightened the reindeer’s already naturally reddened nose.
The Predator Theory
You know the movie Predator? Well, the alien villain has glowing, luminescent blood. Given how Rudolph’s type already has red noses from concentrated blood supply to the area, it’s glow is likely due to his having alien blood. This is the most obvious answer, no? If I had to bet on one of these theories being true, it’s this one.
The Queer Pride Theory
It’s no secret that the story of Rudolph and his dental fag friend is overwhelmingly gay. How does that relate to his nose? It’s his shining beacon of queerness, a tiny pride float worn on his face. Happy Pride in December!