For most people, myself included, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is either a ditty we hear playing in the background during the run-up to Christmas, or it is a stop-motion movie that captivated us as children (and continues to entertain our “inner children” to this day). Even though the animated film has its flaws — many are due to the social restrictions of 1964 — it continues to inspire people to think outside their restrictive boxes. Forget about the childhood bullying, the parental shame, the banishment of toys that are called “misfits,” and the story urges people to live up to their abilities, even if they initially cause you embarrassment and discomfort. (Remember, this is a pre-Civil Rights/pre-feminist TV landscape. See this week’s Doll Chronicles at our sister website for DOLLS magazine.)
Living in the United States, we usually have the Atlantic Ocean and our own emotional arm’s-length distance from the goings-on in England. Even though they were once our Mother Country—and we the rebellious child who revolted and ran away from home—we’ve always remained tied together through language, customs, and culture. Now, with the announcement of Prince Harry tying the knot with U.S. actress Meghan Markle, we are about to be bombarded with all manner of bridal collectibles and novelties.
I, for one, love the idea of a “commoner,” though Meghan is hardly common at all, rising to the rank of princess. Markle hails from a privileged Hollywood background. Her father was an Emmy Award–winning lighting designer, and she always attended prestigious private girls’ schools. Educated in theater, with a dual major in international studies, she is smart, self-assured, talented, and extremely contemporary.
A mascot is a powerful visual tool. Whether it is being used for commercial marketing purposes — like a brand’s animated logo or dressed-up spokesperson — or to amplify the rallying cry during a ballgame, a mascot has a huge ability to represent a common goal, without ever having to say a word.