Because I have a pointless, self-enforced quota of at least one post per month, and because I have to go to a thing soon or Wife will gouge out my eyes – I now have half an hour to explain to you why the Winnie the Pooh episode ‘The Great Honey Pot Robbery’ contains everything you need to know about life.
This is probably going to fail miserably.
Okay, let’s get going. Damn I already spent 5 minutes deciding what violent thing to say that Wife will do to me. And I didn’t even choose very well. Surely I could have come up with something better. The eye gouging thing just isn’t very believable, is it? But that’s enough of that. We must move on!
All right, first you need to know a bit about ‘The Great Honey Pot Robbery’, so here’s an abridged version of the script …
Tigger: Oh man, some thing just stole my honey while I was asleep.
Kanga: Our’s too!
Roo: Yeah, and I’m gonna kill them good!
Piglet: They also stole my honey and I’m very frightened.
Pooh: Yo, chill, guys!
Rabbit: No way, man. We aint gonna chill nothin! These mofos think they can waltz up and steal our honey?! Not on my watch!
Tigger: What we gonna do?
Rabbit: No worries. Here’s some elaborate traps and stuff.
Tigger: Yo, Rabbit. Your traps didn’t work!
Piglet: But at least we got a look at the criminals. It was the heffalumps and woozels.
Roo: And I scared them off because I look a bit like a mouse and a heffalump is an elephant, I guess, which means he’s scared of mice … probably?
Rabbit: Yes, those heffalumps and woozels are so dodgy. Let’s get gopher to build us some security.
Gopher: Hey, I’m Gopher! I’ll build stuff and then fall down a hole like I do every single time.
*Gopher builds an anti-honey thief wall around Pooh’s house*
Pooh: You fool, Gopher! My house is secure now, but I can’t get inside.
Gopher: *Falls down hole*
Heffalumps and woozels: We came back with our giant, mean friend, Wooster, to steal ALL the honey and probably beat you up.
Rabbit: Oh no, all my plans failed.
Piglet: We’re doomed! *Prepares to take cyanide pill*
Pooh: Hey, Heff and Wooz and Friend! Come have some honey with me.
Everyone: Say Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?
Wooster: Yeah okay. I don’t need to steal honey. Let’s share it together.
Heff and Wooz: Oh, we aint standing for this BS!
Wooster: Get lost guys. I’m with Pooh and his gang now, and you know I could kick your asses.
Heff and Wooz: Damn, he’s right.
*Everyone except the bad guys enjoy their honey together and they are well happy.*
So you see? It’s a perfect allegory for the paranoia surrounding terrorism, or the way we choose to react when someone betrays our trust (I couldn’t decide which one works better).
Rabbit is the “tough-on-terrorists”/”don’t trust anyone” kind of guy, and everyone follows him because he has strong convictions and the fearful masses (especially Piglet) are easily lead by his rhetoric. Gopher could be seen as industry itself, showing that there is always money to be made from a culture of fear (home security systems, construction companies building detention centres etc.).
Rabbit’s reaction once threatened is natural, but it’s Pooh that takes the tougher road – fighting cruelty with kindness and generosity. It leaves him and the whole gang highly vulnerable and it could have backfired, but in this case it works. Perhaps Pooh would have accepted it if it HAD backfired. At least he made a choice to try to do the right thing, and not stoop to the level of those making his life a misery.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The Heffalump and Woozel both reject Pooh’s kindness, showing that such an approach isn’t going to work on everyone. And Roo’s aggressive “I’ll destroy you” tactics were also effective – at least temporarily. So the lesson in the episode has a layer of complexity.
In the end though, it’s about a simple choice that we make every day. Life sucks some times, and there will always be people ready to take advantage of you. How we deal with it is up to us.
Do we follow Rabbit, Gopher and Piglet by choosing to become guarded, cynical and frightened but perhaps a little safer – knowing that if everyone made that choice the world would be a bleak place indeed?
Or do we follow Pooh’s example and be forgiving and generous but far more vulnerable – knowing that if everyone made that choice the world would be pretty damn amazing?
Well, that went a bit over time but I think it went okay. Let me know whether or not you were convinced!