"Barney: Beat'im Up or Blow'im Up?!"
by Susana Rosende
("Boys with Sunflowers" is a cartoon caricature of my boys,
Brian and Joey. I drew it with the mouse, using Windows Paint, in 1994)
(Photograph of Brian and Joey sitting on Barney's lap
at a neighbor's birthday party in 1993)
My boys have long since outgrown Barney, along with tricycles and building blocks.
But, I fondly remember watching the show, a child on my lap, as we sang along with the songs.
I even drew a cartoon caricature of my boys, with my youngest holding his favorite stuffed animal,
none other than Barney. A reader once critiqued my drawing.
His comment, "Barney? Beat him up or blow him up!"
I've never understood the Barney backlash.
Is it because he's too sweet? Does the show bother grownups because it is so unrealistic?
Barney recalls a more innocent age when children used manners and respected their elders,
instead of sassing authority figures (including parents) and shooting up their schools.
Most cartoons and family shows today show powerful, intelligent-but-rude kids running amok
with clueless or indifferent parents (The Simpsons, Dexter, Rug Rats, Malcolm in the Middle, etc.).
Barney the Purple Dinosaur teaches love, respect, manners, friendship,
peace, and accountability. What concepts!
Keep in mind the age level of Barney viewers: One, two, three, and possibly four-year-olds?
What would we prefer these toddlers watch if they are to watch T.V. at all?
And how do Barney-Haters -- the"mature" adults-- react to "hands-across-America-Barney"?
By suggesting violence (beat'im up or blow'im up).
I ask you, dear readers, what is WRONG with this picture?
Seriously, I suggest all "Adults" look deep inside themselves for the root of their fears.
(The reader also admits to fears of the dark and spelling errors.)
Being afraid of the dark is natural. You cannot see what is in front of you.
Many are afraid of the unknown.
Being afraid of mis-spelling a word is also common.
Many are afraid of humiliation or embarrassment.
(There is a solution: Use the Spell Checker or carry a pocket dictionary with you.
Eventually, you won't have to look up the words.)
But why would anyone fear Barney, the innocuous purple giant?
- Is it the fear of recalling one's cruel or neglected childhood? (Read "On Forgiveness".)
- Is it anger at the loss of innocence? (Allow yourself to grieve; then, move on.)
- Is it the yearning to go back to Mommy's breast or womb? (Grow up!)
Then remember for whom this show is intended: toddlers...
young innocents who are still in diapers...
those learning to say "please" and "thank you."
Logic dictates that one would prefer for these wee ones
to watch such a show (if we allow them to watch television at this age).
Think carefully, Barney-Haters. Analyze your fears.
If you STILL feel hatred, fear, and anger toward Barney after this analysis,
visit a shrink.
And I say the following, with heartfelt sincerity and caring, to all those Barney-haters
and my reading public: