Karla's Kolumn: Don't be a Negative Nelly
December 1, 2018
I used to think people nowadays are easily offended but after a few things happened this week I have come to a different conclusion. People are not necessarily easily offended by things as they are looking for the bad in everything rather than trying to see the positive.
For the most part I consider myself a skeptic but not a pessimist. I tell people I'm a realist. I don't look at a glass half full or half empty I just look at it as that is all you have. No more, no less. You can either drink up and finish off the glass or fill it back up so you have more to enjoy later. There's no bemoaning what you don't have. A pessimist isn't even as bad as what I would call a Negative Nelly. A pessimist by definition tends to see the worst aspect but in my humble opinion a Negative Nelly actually looks for, I mean searching under the cushions, cleaning out the vents, dusting under the bed type of looking, for the negative and the worst in people, things and yes, even Christmas classics.
That's right the Christmas classics have fallen under attack the past week.
Peanuts Thanksgiving special "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" is now being called racist because Franklin sits alone on one side of the table. People have taken to social media attacking the show and the show's creator Charles M. Schulz. Ironically, one commenter said Franklin is also given the worst chair to sit on. And here's what I mean by a Negative Nelly. If you really look at the photo, Franklin appears to have the most comfortable chair and the only padded chair. It's not a hard, straight back chair, but a nice padded comfortable lawn chair.
Maybe I'm naïve, maybe it was meant to be racist but I doubt it and no one has called it out on this much of a national scale for the past four decades (it first aired in 1973).
I admit I love "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," and "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
For me, these shows are like many of the old situation comedies, where they teach a moral or lesson in the midst of the fun and laughter.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, if you watch the entire show and don't nitpick specific scenes, you will see it is the first "Friendsgiving" a word that has become the new fad. It shows Charlie Brown's willing to host his friends, despite his own holiday plans. His willingness to help make the holidays brighter for others, including Franklin.
It shows Peppermint Patty realizing she was rude when she invited herself over and then was ungrateful for what Charlie Brown had prepared - showing us it is important to be gracious when others reach out and provide for us.
It teaches us forgiveness. Charlie Brown was not resentful or angry toward Peppermint Patty, he forgave her, even though the apology was given by Marci. He even called his grandmother to explain. His grandmother also shows how people can be gracious toward others by inviting all of his friends over.
There is much to learn and be thankful for in that 30-minute special. Or you can be a Negative Nelly and see the worst.
The same can be said for Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer that has been accused of just about everything by the Huffington Post as well as many who have taken to social media to attack the beloved Christmas tale.
No one has complained, at least to my knowledge about the song, written by Johnny Marks in 1939. The alleged bullying is right there in the song "They wouldn't let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games," or "they used to laugh and call him names."
You see when you watch a show or read a book or news article you need to read or watch it in its entirety to understand the full picture.
Was Santa rude? Yes. Were the reindeer bullying him? Yes. Are people in real life rude? Yes. Do people get bullied? Yes. Are people picked last for teams in P.E. because they are different or less athletic? Yes. So what happened in Rudolph, happens in real life. But you have to watch the entire story to get the full message.
Yes Rudolph and Hermey, the would-be dentist elf, head out on their own, OK they run away. They find their way to Misfit Island. While there they realize they are not misfits, or that everyone is a misfit in their own way but that they have value and that it is OK to be different, it is OK to be yourself. With that knowledge they return to the North Pole ready to stand up for themselves.
During their time away the others realize that their behavior was wrong.
Hermey gets to be the dentist for the elves. He does not hold a grudge, need a safe room, throw a tantrum. He forgives because he realizes his worth is not found in what others think of him but rather what he thinks of himself.
And Rudolph, well you know the story, Rudolph also forgives and ... finds his place in history.
So this Christmas I ask that you look for the joy in things and don't be a Negative Nelly.