I've attributed my love of reading to my parents, who had exceptionally good taste in the choices of children's books they read to me, and let me read once I was old enough. The Mouse Who Wanted a Cookie, The Missing Piece, the entire collection of Beatix Potter's books, and A. A. Milne. Mum always used to read to us the stories of Winnie the Pooh, and I love Milne's poems, especially "King John Was Not a Good Man". I watched the Winnie the Pooh animated series when I was little, but I grew out of it quickly, and it was never a favourite. I never watched the movies, either.
However, I never really minded what Disney was doing with the stories - until now.
Reading Neil Gaiman's blog over at http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp, he brought to attention the fact that Disney, for it's next animated Winnie the Pooh series, has decided to replace the Christopher Robin character with a "six-year-old tomboyish girl", as yet unnamed, in order to "bring a breath of fresh air to the franchise". WTF?? You can read the article at http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2005-12-06-winnie-the-pooh_x.htm.
That, my friends, is heresy! What were the folks at Disney thinking? I'm trying to imagine the nitwits in the boardroom going over why, exactly, they saw fit to dissect the childhood memories of millions of people to tear out the beating heart of the A. A. Milne story and replace it with an cold artificial thing of mechanical moving parts that pumps sugar and anti-depressants in place of blood.
Maybe they thought that since there is only one female character in the Pooh crew (that would be the Roo's mum), that they were alienating the toddler girl audience. Balls. BALLS, I tell you. Girls and boys alike loved the books and the cartoons. Christopher Robin and the Rabbit character are suitably androgynous, and really, three-to-six year-old girls do NOT care - they like the stories. Since when has a four-year-old darling, with chestnut curls and the money of her doting parents in equal abundance, ever said, "Gee mommy, I don't like Winnie the Pooh. I feel alienated because there is no female character with whom I can relate to, and so the story has no emotional relevance for me anymore."
ARGH! Dammit, Disney - go back to doing what you do best: which is making faithful adaptations of fairy ta...wait a minute...
Damn. I guess this is just a regular workday for the Mouse House, then.