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.)
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.
Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight/David Appleby, 2017
This year, and mark the calendar it happened in the fall of 2017, the rest of the world seems to have woken up and realized that teddy bears and their friends have the power to change the world and to heal emotional wounds. For arctophiles and other ursine fanciers, this is not a news flash. We’ve all known it for eternity, but for the average layperson, this is a breaking bear bulletin. We also have to acknowledge that sometimes the building of a myth — even a soft, cuddly mohair one — has bumpy edges and sharp repercussions.