Winnie the Pooh
How I Compromised My Values

June 8, 1999

Before I had a child I thought it would be hard but manageable. I swore I would never allow the television to be my child's baby-sitter, s/he would never see the evil purple one (Barney), and under no circumstances would anything Disney be allowed in my home.

I abhor all things having to do with the Mouse. I think that the main goal of Disney is to take money. From children. OK, from parents, but because Disney has created things that children have to have. There is no underlying positive or educational message. It's just about the bucks.

Things went fine for the first year of Zoe's life. No electronic baby-sitter in our home. No evil Mouse things.

Then things changed. I guess I was rushing to get ready one morning and had to do something so I turned on the TV and there was Barney. And my daughter was transfixed.

Hey, this electronic baby-sitting thing isn't so bad. I can actually go to the bathroom by myself and she's happily occupied.

It's a slippery slope. Thirty minutes of Barney turned into Storytime and then there was Arthur. She was so happy watching these little creatures on TV. I was happy. I could get something accomplished without a baby on my hip.

OK, we were watching TV, but still, we'd managed to keep the evil Mouse out of our household.

Friends and family would ask if we'd taken Zoe to Disneyland. Never, I swore. No child of mine will step foot into the Evil Kingdom.

Then one day I went to buy a video. Oh look Pooh. Winnie the Pooh. I loved Winnie the Pooh. Eyore. Roo, Piglet. Then I saw the label. Since when did Pooh belong to Disney? I didn't want to put my hard-earned money into the corporate coffers of the thing I held out as one of the most evil things in the universe. Was I willing to deny my one and only daughter the pleasures of Pooh? No. In a word, No. I caved.

The aforementioned slippery slope grows slipperier now. Pooh first. Then it was Jungle Book and Mary Poppins. Soon Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland found their ways into our home.

Don't get me wrong. I loved this stuff as a kid. But as an adult I see it through different eyes. Disney stuff is not kid stuff. In every single one of these movies there is something scary. Really scary if you're a kid and don't understand. Good does triumph over evil but the getting there is tough. I don't think it's really necessary for three year olds to know that life isn't all ice cream and parties. Little children do not have to know that there are bad people out there and that bad things happen to good people.

I don't like the messages portrayed in many of these movies, particularly Dumbo. But Zoe loves these movies. Dumbo must have played non-stop in this house for a month solid. Other purchases were made in an attempt to lure her away but she was steadfast in her admiration of this stupid elephant with oversized ears.

I compromised myself. I compromised my values. I hate myself for it.

Until next time. . .