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Controversy Dogs World's Most Famous Bear

Winnie's In Trouble Again

(SNN) - It’s an aberration, in these modern times, that we can’t wait to tear down our heroes the moment they’re made. Everyone in the public sphere must be lilly-white in character, whatever their exterior hue might be. Stories are legion of people who have become enormously popular, only to be shunned the minute a whiff of scandal hits the broadsheets. Who would have thought, with all the Paula Deens, Gilbert Godfrey and Michael Richards in the world, the iconoclasts would go after Winnie-the-Pooh.

But there it is. Thanks to the reputation rapers, ol’ Winnipeg bear has been associated with smuggling, blasphemy, merchandizing disputes and even became a “red shirt” in 1932; a look the bear continues to sport to this day.

Born in White River, Ontario, the ursine celebrity was acquired by a Canadian soldier by the name of Colebourn for $20.00. He named the bear “Winnie” after his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was when Colebourn managed to spirit the bear overseas with him on his way to the WWI battlefield the bear first became involved in illegalities. Apparently, importing wild bears into England was against some obscure law. As a result, the illegal immigrant bear was then jailed at the London Zoo to live out his life behind bars.

Being thrown into stir was just the beginning for the bear, however, when he became a hit with children’s author, A. A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin. Young Christopher named his own teddy bear after the incarcerated beast and Milne began writing the timeless stories we have all grown up with, the stuffed omnivore as the protagonist. “the-Pooh” portion of the bear’s name was added, reflecting Winnie’s propensity to blow flies off his snout, being too stout to swat them off with his horribly disfigured stubby arms.

Then, in 1932, there was controversy swirling once more when Stephen Slesinger, who had purchased the rights to the pooh bear, apparently decided it was inappropriate for a child’s hero to walk around naked all the time. A red shirt began appearing on the bear’s images, sparking suggestions that the hunny-pot addict had Communistic leanings.

Pooh kept a low profile in the press, after that for decades, other than numerous movie roles and biographical literature until in 1991 when he became embroiled in a revenue dispute regarding Winnie merchandise which Disney ultimately settled with a Slesinger heir. The case took 18 years of litigation, eventually concluding in 2009.

In the midst of that fracas, our omnivorous hero was dealt another body blow. In 2006, the Winnie-the-Pooh series was banned in parts of the U.S., England and Turkey. Apparently in some regions, having fictional animals that can talk is an “insult to God” and the series was withdrawn. Other books meeting the same fate for the same reason includes the children’s soul-destroying texts, “Charlotte’s Web” and “Where the Wild Things Are”

Now the embattled bear is facing another challenge. An iconic picture of Pooh and Tigger walking together has been banned in China after the image was comically compared to a strikingly similar image of portly Chinese president Xi Jinping walking with U.S. president Barak Obama.

Poor Pooh. Another hero is brought down.

Photo by: Sini Merikallio  flickr photostream, Some Rights Reserved, The Sage nor this article endorsed

DISCLAIMER: The above article is provided for entertainment purposes only and the article, image or photograph held out as news is a parody or satirical and therefore faux in nature and does not reflect the actions, statements or events of real persons. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Satire and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.
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