On Barney

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A Pointillist Portrait of Barney the Purple Dinosaur

Iconic characters that transcend life inevitably become reflections of the society they enter.

It might seem absurd for people to find meaning in a purple dinosaur like Barney, who, to anyone’s surprise, entertained me and countless other children in the early 90s as we clung to the videos and stuffed toys, likely torturing our parents with endless sing-alongs.

It’s natural for us to relate ourselves to such figures—both fortunately and unfortunately.

Watching the documentary Series, I Love You, You Hate Me, late last year illustrated how symbols can become larger than life and part of our collective consciousness.

Although it’s pleasant to sing about love, sunshine, and rainbows, it’s not universally relatable.

We inhabit a spectrum of emotions, and people face dire situations, sometimes from birth, affecting how we navigate the world.

Social attachment is crucial for child development. When disordered, it can create dysfunctional adults who produce children in dysfunction.

One person may belt out the I Love You song (sorry), while another may want to punch you in the face.

In some cases, parents may resent their child’s adoration for Barney, reflecting their own insecurities.

Promoting positive emotions, teamwork, and empathy is commendable, but it’s not the whole story.

What in the world do we do with our negative emotions?

Conventional recent history seemed to suggest ignoring them.

However, we’re now in a time when acknowledging that not being okay is, well, okay.

Ancient wisdom in many contexts focuses on accepting both good and bad as they are. While there is some truth here, these permutations of these ideas congest our popular media and Insta-Tok self-promotions.

But, seriously, what do we do with our negative emotions?

Regardless of how completely the human experience is portrayed, people will always interpret media through their personal lens.

With numerous interests and individual perspectives, a creation becomes part of the world once it’s shared.

As a creator, you can’t control how your work is used. Accept that it will reflect the world as it is, not as it could be.

One can hope that any creation nudges people toward self-actualization, whatever that may be.

 


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