Friday, November 11, 2005

Nostalgia & Barney the purple dinosaur

I've mentioned that writing is a hobby of mine. And you may have seen the link to over on the right.

Well, I was reminded of one of the stories I wrote a while back, and I thought it would bear a republish.

It was one of the many entries I made in the "Stake and Garlic" contest - a monthly vampire-story-writing competition. The prompt for this particular month was "Write a nonfiction article, essay, or list that posits evidence suggesting a famous person or well known character from a movie or book is a vampire."

My nominated celebrity was Barney, the Purple Dinosaur. Read on for why ;o)

I know, he seems an unlikely candidate. But that's the very thing that makes it likely! Vampires are hidden creatures, they don't walk around in evening dress with their hair swept back in a widows peak; they don't have a Transylvanian accent; they don't write their name backwards and expect it to go un-noticed; and they don't work for blood banks or hematology clinics. They do their utmost to be the last person you would ever suspect. So the first rule is, don't suspect anyone who is an obvious vampire.

Barney seems totally non-Vampiric, and therefore is a prime suspect.

However, there are still certain signs that point towards the fact. The thing you have to remember is, they're non-obvious signs. Vampires are clever creatures, they don't broadcast what they are. But they make decisions a certain way, and that way of thinking can be spotted.

For instance, Barney the Blood-Red Dinosaur would be an obvious clue. Barney is not red, because a Vampire easily spots such an obvious clue. Barney is Purple. And purple is a very popular colour amongst the "creatures of the night", whether they be Vampire or just Goth. Barney the Black Velvet Dinosaur would have been another giveaway, of course, so he settled on a gothic colour that isn't quite so commonly associated with Vampires, and can be considered cheerful in the right shade.

So that's the Purple - what about the "Dinosaur"?

The whole attraction of dinosaurs is that they were big, scary animals with spikes and fangs and so forth. The most popular dinosaur is the Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose distinguishing feature is an enormously large mouth with an impressive array of fangs. Why would anyone make a cute kids character from an animal kids like for being non-cute?

Answer: They wouldn't. Not if they were human. A vampire, on the other hand...

You see, Barney is NOT a dinosaur. That's just a cover. He's actually a Dragon! There are enough superficial similarities between dinosaurs (which are large reptiles) and dragons (which are large reptiles) that Barney can get away with it, but "What's in a name?". He might CALL himself a dinosaur, but he is actually a dragon.

Is this significant? Well, yes. It's not known to the population at large, but Vampires and Dragons are connected at many levels. A quick search on Google for "vampire dragon" will show you that: "Dragon" was once a name given to demons in general, and the devil as well. Vampires, being by definition evil spirits, are firmly connected with the Draconic tradition.

So that's the appearance of the character explained for you. His colour and nature are subtle, hidden clues to his bloodsucking nature.

But what about the man inside the suit?

Well, that's a difficult one, isn't it? Have you ever seen him? No. Of course not. You can recognise a vampire for what he is if you see him. Why do you think he designed a character that wears a suit? It hides him from two things - prying eyes of humans, and sunlight.

Of course, sunlight - Barney isn't a nocturnal dinosaur. He comes out in daylight. But when the vampire comes out in the sun, he's perfectly safe, because he's protected by the large, opaque suit that is Barney. How terribly convenient.

Almost as convenient is the way Barney always stays "non-controversial" - no politics, no world events, and NO RELIGION. When have you ever seen a crucifix on Barney's show? Has he ever been splashed in Holy Water?


Now we move onto the important thing: Drinking blood.

Obviously, nobody has ever seen Barney leap on one of the children around him and messily devour them. That, after all, would be bad for ratings.

But vampires don't actually need blood. Blood is just salt water with little bags of red protein floating in it. What a vampire needs is life-force, the energy generated by living things. And he doesn't need to drink blood to get it - a touch, or even line of sight is sufficient. If you can see a vampire, he can drain the life out of you.

And that is why so many vampires work on television these days. All they need to do is appear on-camera, and they can drink from millions of viewers all over the world. Television was a huge boon to vampires. If you've ever watched Barney for any length of time, you may have noticed how mind-numbing it was. That's not just because of the insipid nature of the show, it's because Barney was draining you of life as you watched!

But worse still is the insidious cultural conditioning Barney poisons children's minds with.

Two attitudes Barney promotes specifically mark him as being vampiric.

Firstly, there's his discouraging of individuality. He tries to convince kids not to stand out, to be like all the other kids - to not think for themselves, but do things because everybody else does them. This is not because he wants children to try and fit in to society. It's a promotion of the vampire attitude that humans are nothing cattle - Vampires promote a herd mentality in humans at all opportunities; it's easier for them to deal with a flock of sheep than to have multiple independent humans to contend with.

And then there's his encouragement of suppressing negative emotions. "You've fallen and hurt yourself? Don't cry - be happy!" kind of thing. Not only do all psychiatrists recommend expressing emotions as being healthier than repressing them, it defies belief that you should happy about something bad happening.

Unless you're a vampire! Then it makes perfect sense - "Don't be sad when unpleasant things happen to you" is simply a way of saying "Being bitten by a vampire should make you happy" - once again demonstrating the promotion of a slave-mentality.

I entered this essay in the contest purely as a bit of fun. I actually won the contest with the more serious contender of Sherlock Holmes. But I still feel more proud of the Barney entry, somehow ;o)


titanium said...

ooh- I really like the sherlock holmes essay. Time to get some good reading done, I haven't read Sherlock for years! The one about Barney is also good. Thanks for the republish!

7:28 PM  

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