Winnie the Pooh: horror icon, self-care advocate, face of the revolution

The anthropomorphic teddy bear is set to star alongside Piglet in a bloody new slasher movie, but that’s not the strangest place he’s found himself. term

Winnie the Pooh is one of the most famous characters in the history of children’s literature. Perhaps your first encounter with the walking, talking teddy bear was in the Edenic paradise of AA Milne’s stories set in the Hundred Acre Wood, or on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where Pooh was honored with a star in 2006. Maybe it was on your suburban grandmother’s favorite fridge magnet, underlined with a heartfelt quote about friendship or the meaning of life, or maybe it was plastered on a banner in a violent anti-authoritarian protest.

You may have noticed that one of these things is not like the others. AA Milne, sentimental retirees, and human rights protesters are all sincere in their use of the Pooh image: only Disney would ruthlessly exploit it for profit. Just kidding (please don’t sue me). Obviously, the real outlier is the bizarre appropriation of Winnie the Pooh by activists calling for a political revolution, a phenomenon that emerged during the controversial nine-year rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The memes calling for the downfall of the Chinese government definitely mark a strange moment in the afterlife of the wholesome cartoon character. However, that is not even the full extent of their cultural reach. Along with Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Piglet, and their other friends, the goofy bear has secured a surprisingly vast legacy, appearing everywhere from the Winter Olympics to psychology articles in medical journals (plus, of course, the many TV shows and movies). that Disney has produced over the years).

Now this legacy will also expand even further, as Winnie the Pooh officially entered the public domain on January 1, 2022, 95 years after the character first appeared in 1926. One filmmaker has already seized the opportunity to use the image of Pooh (not to be confused with the character wearing a red T-shirt under license from Disney) in an indie horror titled Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. It’s Peppa Pig, the gangster icon again.

Below, we explore Winnie the Pooh’s major roles and reinventions throughout his nearly century-long life in the spotlight, and speculate wildly about the teddy bear becoming the face of the Free World.

STAR OF A HORRIBLE SLASHER MOVIE

Filmmaker Rhys Frake-Waterfield must have had his finger on the trigger for some time, waiting for the Winnie the Pooh copyright term to run its course. According to IMDb, his directorial debut with the Pooh theme, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and HoneyIt is already in post-production. A series of teaser images also hint at the film’s horrifying version of the cute children’s character, who stalks in a crumpled gummy bear mask, while Piglet, transformed into a fanged maniac, stalks young women in bikinis in a pool scene that looks like something out of a classic slasher movie.

According to an official synopsis: [The film] follows Pooh and Piglet as they go berserk after Christopher Robin leaves them.” This isn’t a Disney movie, kids (though it does have the same ~edgy~ vibe as those Tumblr edits of hipster Disney princesses from the mid-2010s). Somewhere, AA Milne is rolling over in her grave.

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE

To be fair, Winnie the Pooh’s self-care tips can be a bit irritating if you’re actually dealing with some sort of mental health issue. “Some people worry too much. I think it’s called love. OKAY? But to be fair, it also has some hits, like: “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just moving on.” That puts Seneca to shame, TBH.

Beyond Pooh’s own philosophical musings, you may have also seen the rumor floating around the internet suggesting that each character in AA Milne’s stories represent a different mental health disorder. Winnie the Pooh is a honey addict, for example, while Piglet has anxiety, Tigger has ADHD, and Eeyore, poor sweet Eeyore, suffers from depression. Is there really any evidence to support this theory? Do not, apparently. It was first popularized in an ironic academic. paperpublished in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association in 2000. However, that won’t stop us from psychoanalyzing the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood.

STAR OF FIGURE SKATING

Okay, so Pooh isn’t actually a figure skating star, but he is the mascot of two-time Olympic champion figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. So much so that every time Hanyu has finished a routine at an international event, a wave of volunteers has to ice skate to collect dozens of Winnie the Pooh dolls dropped by fans of the Japanese athlete (see above).

This has reportedly been going on for over a decade and became particularly prominent at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Why it happens? Well, Hanyu was seen carrying around a box of tissues with an illustration of the character back in 2010, and things escalated from there. Beautiful. Suspiciously, the entire stadium”doll ban“stopped fans from throwing Pooh onto the ice at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing…

LEADER OF THE RESISTANCE

One of the most infamous and unexpected places Winnie the Pooh has appeared, outside of Milne’s books and Disney interpretations, is China. Specifically, at gatherings of the country’s anti-government protesters and dissidents, who first adopted the symbol when they compared a photo of Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to Tigger and Pooh in 2013. The resulting memes, often combined with derogatory messages about the country leadership, have sparked a heated debate over online censorship, which authorities often remove as soon as they are posted. Even mainstream Winnie the Pooh movies have been denied a release in China.

In 2019 and 2020, when pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong united against china national security laws that were being imposed in the region, many also wore Winnie the Pooh masks, along with other appropriate figures such as pepe the frog – as a symbol of resistance. Who knows, now that Pooh Bear is free from his copyright restrictions, he may finally be able to become the serious face of the free world and usher in a political utopia with his soft, sweet voice.

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