I saw a charming tweet today concerning A. A. Milne’s excellent Winnie the Pooh books. I have a special fondness for those books. When I got my first group of networked computers, I named them after Pooh characters. Also, I think a whole theory of psychological types could be created based upon the characters. In fact, I used them to lampoon a few groups of people.
Apparently, I’m not alone in this. Untold Secrets tweeted the following over the weekend:
Winnie the Pooh chars represent mental disorders. Tiger-ADHD, Piglet-anxiety, Rabbit-pedantic loner, Owl-OCD, Eore-depression, Pooh-addict.
— Untold Secrets™ (@UntoIdSecrets) May 19, 2013
Although I like this very much, there are a number of problems. Most obviously, Kanga and Roo are nowhere to be seen. Of course, I always felt that those two were out of place in a boy’s fantasy world. They are the mother and child archetype and don’t add a great deal. I suppose they are helpful in adding a little stability to the rest of the crazy cast.
My favorite character has always been Piglet because he is a Very Small Animal. I had never particularly though about his anxiety, but undoubtedly that is another reason that I feel close to him. Many people think I’m manic-depressive and maybe I am. But the one thing that really bothers me is anxiety. It’s the one thing that I find debilitating at times.
The writer of the tweet is confused about Rabbit and Owl. Rabbit is the one with OCD. Owl is just a self-absorbed blowhard.
I have no problem with the diagnoses for Eeyore and Tigger. But I do mind the spelling! I suppose I can forgive the Eeyore error, but Tigger spells his own name: T-I-Double Ga-Er. Jeez!
As for Pooh being an addict, that’s right out! There is nothing wrong with Pooh; he is perfectly himself. He’s a bear; bears like Honey. (Tiggers don’t like honey!) The only reason anyone ever has a problem with Pooh is that they aren’t straightforward with him. If you want him to leave before he gets too fat to fit through your rabbit hole, just say so! Although, I admit, I’m more like Rabbit than Pooh in that regard.
What this all makes me think is that we have a tendency to medicalize behavior. All the Pooh characters are just great. If they were “normal” the books would be boring. And if people were normal, life would be boring.