Saturday, January 9, 2016

An Improvement on A Totally Inaccurate Eeyore Meme

This Eeyore quote/meme has been floating around the internet for the past few years.  I don't have a clue who originally made it, but I've seen several different Eeyore pictures all with the same quote.  The internet loves this meme.  Here it is, if you haven't seen it.

Looks like a pretty great thing, right?  On the surface, I'd agree with it and all the warm fuzzies it tries to produce.  It's nice for people with mental illnesses (or whatever you want to call them) to have supportive and understanding friends.  However, if you go beyond the surface of this meme, there are a few problems (if you don't want to read all of this, just scroll down to the bottom, where I've included a corrected meme, which is basically a summary of the whole blog post).

1. It's not even a meme/quote about Eeyore.

Oh, it starts out that way.  "One awesome thing about Eeyore..." but it degrades from there.  If you read further, you'll find that it slips into the passive voice (which I don't have a problem with, in general--but in this case, it changes the whole meaning of the quote).  Eeyore "GETS invited" to do things.  In the next sentence, the meme leaves behind the passive voice completely and just overtly starts focusing more on Eeyore's friends than it does on Eeyore.  This isn't a quote about one awesome thing about Eeyore.  It's a quote about one (or more) awesome thing(s) about Eeyore's FRIENDS.  

One could make the argument that it's because Eeyore is so awesome that his friends want to include and support him, but I don't get that impression from the quote.  Instead, I see that the quote is saying that Eeyore's friends are awesome, EVEN THOUGH Eeyore is "basically clinically depressed."  It's not a quote about how awesome Eeyore is, but rather a quote about how great his friends are for being supportive...EVEN THOUGH he has issues.  If you look at it a certain way, it could even be interpreted as a slap in the face for poor Eeyore.  I'm not saying I take it that way, but I can see how someone might.

2. The quote is based on a lie (or at least a gross misunderstanding of relationships in the Hundred Acre Wood).  

On the surface, that meme looks pretty good--even if it IS less about Eeyore and more about his incredible friends.  I mean, isn't it great that Eeyore's friends are so supportive and inclusive?  Only...they aren't.  Usually this is due to the fact that all the animals in the Hundred Acre Wood have fluff for brains, and not because they're mean-spirited but...still.  Anyone who is really paying attention to the original Milne or any of the movies that were directly based upon Milne can see that, most of the time, Eeyore's friends had a really loose understanding of friendship.

Allow me to give you a few examples from the original Milne:

- When Eeyore's tail was lost, they discovered that Owl had been using it as a bell pull.

- His friends forgot his birthday, and then later on, all they gave him was an empty honey pot and a broken balloon that resembled a damp rag.

- When Eeyore tried to rescue Roo from the river by dangling his own tail in the water, no one bothered to tell him that Roo had already been rescued until after his own tail had gone all numb.

-When "Small," one of Rabbit's Friends and Relations, went missing, Eeyore helped search for him.  No one bothered to tell Eeyore that Small had been found.  For two days.  While he kept looking.  For two days.

- His friends all fell on top of him in an attempt to rescue Tigger from a tree, after it was first suggested that they all stand on his back. 

- When Tigger bounced Eeyore into the river (and lied about it--a fine way to repay a friend for helping to rescue you from a tree!!!), Pooh dropped a large stone on him in an attempt to "hoosh" him out of said river.  Both Piglet and Pooh made excuses for Tigger's bounciness and their own stone dropping, but thought Eeyore was unjustified in being upset about it.

- Rabbit gently scolded Eeyore for not being more outgoing, but then immediately excused himself when faced with the unwelcome prospect of actually having to converse with the gloomy donkey.

- They generally regarded him as someone who was always gloomy, and therefore not to be taken seriously or listened to.

Now, Eeyore's gloominess could get pretty tedious if someone didn't get where he was coming from (more on that in a moment), and his friends did try sometimes.  Pooh and Piglet were actually pretty good friends to him, when they felt like it, and when their fluff-for-brains didn't get in the way.  They thought of him more than the others did, at any rate.  

3. It's up for debate that Eeyore was 'basically clinically depressed.'

There's no doubt about the fact that Eeyore was gloomy, but I've never been one to see Eeyore as being depressed.  Rather, Eeyore is a very misunderstood donkey.  He isn't perfect, but he's not as much of a downer as everyone assumes.  He's a realist--one who sees his circumstances as what they are.  He's an old gray donkey, stuffed with sawdust (gets itchy), who constantly loses his tail, has to live in a house made of sticks (with no proper door) in the middle of the brutally cold and snowy winter, and, as I mentioned before, all his friends have fluff for brains.

I'd be gloomy, too, yo.

The thing about Eeyore, however, is that while he has an incredibly awesome sense of sarcastic humor (that many people don't understand), he also has a way of seeing good in others and in situations.  A lot of people don't see that.

For instance, when he was given a broken balloon and an empty honey pot on his birthday, he treasured the gifts as though they were the best things in the world--because his friends had thought of him.

When Tigger bounced him in the river (and lied about it), Eeyore was quick to forgive him and share with him all his secrets for winning at Poohsticks and life.  

Did he "milk" his gloominess a bit?  Yes.  Did he try to get attention by acting a little more glum than he actually was?  Yes.  Was he slightly arrogant because it was tedious dealing with all the fluff-for-brains?  Yes.  But basically, I think he had a great self-deprecating humor and sarcasm that was often just a little too over the heads of his fluff-for-brains friends, and maybe he should have toned that down a little.  Or not.  Because I kind of think Eeyore did Eeyore pretty well.  

He didn't always appear happy on the surface, but he had joy where it counted.  He knew who his friends were.  He appreciated all their friendly efforts.  And in the really great Milne moments, even the fluff-for-brains saw him for who he was.  It was golden.

So here's my corrected meme.  

I fixed it.  It's better now.  Thanks for noticing me.


  1. Very insightful. I was going to post the original meme on Facebook, because A: I know it starts off with a poorly phrased statement about how awesome eeyore is, but I like the real meaning that his friends treat him with respect and include him, which is a good lesson for friendship.
    B: I assumed the information was correct, about how they treated him.

    Thanks for revealing the reality.

  2. Found this post while searching for the source of the first meme. Thanks for posting it! Great points!