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Sunday, April 27, 2014

W is for Winnie as in Winnie The Pooh and the meaning of life (or at least on Facebook)

I can still remember the opening sequence, the camera panning the bedroom with stuffed animals until it finally rested on the rather unfuzzy bear resting on a shelf. This was the introduction to The Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, which I think aired on CBS on a Sunday evening in the late 70’s, but I’m not sure. I am sure that it was something I greatly enjoyed. The fact that it still resonates with me is either endearing or pathetic.  I haven’t given that silly old bear much thought since then. Surprisingly, a lot of other people have.  

You might be familiar with the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff published in 1982. It used Pooh and his comrades to illustrate the basic concepts behind Taoism, an ancient Chinese philosophy. I’m not going to delve in to it, but it’s very live in the present moment and new age kind of stuff. I actually might read it. Then there’s numerous articles spouting all the wonderful life lessons that can be learned from Pooh. Even Forbes has an article providing customer service lessons in Poohism’s, “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen thou. That’s the problem.”’ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh. Writers, bloggers, even academics use Pooh to illustrate anything from how to live your life to believing in yourself, “there is something you must always are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think…” Pooh and my yoga instructor seem to have a lot in common.

Not all the comparisons to Pooh and his friends are positive. There’s an entire article by the Canadian Medical Association categorizing the mental disorders of Pooh and friends. Did you know that Pooh has ADHD and obsessive fixations? “He exhibits careless and indifferent behavior towards his peers” and “he is obsessed with honey.” Even more bizarre are articles claiming that Pooh and his friends were actually on drugs. Pooh was an addict -- honey obsession. Pooh was on LSD—hallucinations and love of sweets. Eeyore is a pothead…lack of motivation, slow reactions, doesn’t care about anything. Finally the blog, Blogala Maho, claims Pooh and his friends, “Comprise an allegory of male sexuality.” Pooh “is the personification of male adolescent sexuality…he is in fact a symbol for the penis.” And, “The Honey Pot, Pooh’s favorite thing, represents the male fantasy of the vagina…it is passive, will-less, and locked up in a safe place until male lust (i.e. Pooh) want a piece of it. As such, the Honey Pot is also a symbol of the whore.” Even Freud would be appalled.

All of these comparisons and studies got me thinking about in what other ways we can identify with Pooh and friend. So to add to the stellar body of work above, here’s my attempt at the Facebook of Pooh:

Pooh – He’s the guy who shares funny videos, stories, whatever makes him laugh and doesn’t understand why you don’t share too. He’s also very zen and inspiring. He often reposts yummy recipes, particularly desserts. He’s the character most likely to like Tigger’s posts and mean it.

Piglet: Doesn’t post much, with the exception of urgent matters like the threat of an impending snowstorm. However, he reads everyone’s posts and will comment on deaths, birthdays and other emotional events.

Tigger is constantly posting, usually without restraint. He can go from ranting and ranting to gushing and gloating within minutes. He’s most likely to post photos of himself in uncompromising positions and  of his friends too – so watch out.

Eeyore loves to complain. His posts, when he’s motivated to write them, are all about the glass being half empty. Don’t try to cheer him up that will just rile him up. He’s happiest when he’s unhappy. He’s most likely to post an imoji of being angry, sad, or frustrated without any explanation. He will be even more depressed if you don’t ask him what happened.

Rabbit is most likely to repost information. If you want to know twenty- five different ways vinegar can improve your life, he’s the guy to watch.

Owl likes to show off how smart he is.  He’ll post newsworthy articles and then endlessly pontificate about them.

All Kanga posts are things about her kids. It’s like a Christmas letter everyday.

Christopher Robin posts links about writers, artists, books and shows. He’s into the arts and has quite an imagination.

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