Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Berenstain Bears Have a Nervous Breakdown

Remember The Berenstain Bears series that once delighted or may still continue to delight your children or grandchildren. The Berenstains are the Emily Posts of early childhood with titles like The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, The  Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV, The Berenstain Bears Get In a Fight, The Berenstain Bears and a New Baby, The Berenstain Bears Go to School, The Berenstain Bears’ Bedtime Battle and The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners. But we live in a tell all culture where childhood is no longer an innocent place. It never was, of course, according to Freud whose concept of childhood sexuality still continues to perplex, irritate and enrage those who believe that man’s fall occurs  after puberty. These Berenstain Bears volumes are mild jeremiads meant to protect our little ones from the potholes of early development and it’s surprising there isn’t The Berenstain Bears Stick Their Finger in a Wall Socket or The Berenstain Bears Stick Their Knife in the Toaster (with a cover illustration of a Berenstain Bear getting electrocuted). But what if we let all the talk about equality titrate down to the little ones? What if we included them in the conversation by producing volumes like The Berenstain Bears Deal With Suicidal Ideation (cover illustration showing a bear standing on the ledge of a window that has no protective bars) or The Berenstain Bears Have a Nervous Breakdown (which shows that not very farflung notion of a Berenstain Bear receiving an SSRI and then trying to jump off the same window ledge). Or how about getting down and dirty with The Berenstain Bears Face the Realities of Erectile Dysfunction (who says you can’t teach pre-pubescent bears about Viagra), The Berenstain Bears and Menopause and The Berenstain Bears Read Up on BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) under the theory that it’s never to early to think about anything.

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