Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was criticized this week after claiming on Christmas Eve that Rudolph, the fictional red-nosed reindeer who leads Santa Claus's sleigh, has been "misgendered."
What did Tyson say?
According to Tyson, Rudolph cannot be a male reindeer because male reindeer lose their antlers before Christmas.
"Santa doesn't know Zoology: Both male & female Reindeer grow antlers. But all male Reindeer lose their antlers in the late fall, well-before Christmas," Tyson tweeted.
He continued, "So Santa's reindeer, which all sport antlers, are therefore all female, which means Rudolf has been misgendered."
Santa doesn’t know Zoology: Both male & female Reindeer grow antlers. But all male Reindeer lose their antlers in… https://t.co/rDEmYXekaQ— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@Neil deGrasse Tyson) 1608860933.0
While Santa's zoological information may be lacking, Tyson did explain that Santa's knowledge of physics seems to be adequate.
"Santa Knows Physics: Of all colors, Red light penetrates fog best. That's why Benny the Blue-nosed reindeer never got the gig," Tyson said.
What was the response?
Tyson's message triggered swift criticism, which included accusations that Tyson was "ruining things that are supposed to be fun."
- "Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't know fiction: Both male and female reindeer are earth bound creatures and don't fly at any time, not even Christmas. So Santa's reindeer, which all fly, are therefore fictional creatures which means who gives a d**n?" one person replied.
- "So you're saying a magic reindeer can have a red nose that lights up but not antlers at Xmas unless it's male. Man, I'm so glad we have you science people to explain stuff like this to us," another person sarcastically responded.
- "Why ruin this magic for children with your reddit-tier haha i'm so smart bulls***, this isn't funny, you aren't clever, and nobody cares, let them have this magic in their lives, you sound like an adolescent," another person said.
- "hear tha tsound? Thats the sound of Dr Tyson sucking the fun out for everyone on Christmas," one person replied.
- "Hey. Science dude, supposedly... they FLY. One has a luminous NOSE that navigates blizzards. They stand on rooftops. Stop trying to apply science to magic folklore. Serouosly, Just take a day off, do it for the kids," another person said.
- "Yes, this is the implausible thing about the story," one person mocked.
- "they also cant fly in real life. this santa guys a real fraud. thank you for always telling us the truth neil," another person mocked.
- "They're magic reindeer a**hole. The normal rules don't apply. Quit trying to s*** on Christmas," one person replied.
As many other critics pointed out, Tyson's message about Rudolph doesn't make climatological sense considering that the North Pole, which is where Santa Claus is headquartered, is a tundra climate and does not experience the autumn season.