Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Books
22 August 2018

Leader: The enduring cultural influence of Winnie the Pooh

Still enraging the Eeyores of public life, 92 years on. 

By New Statesman

At the grand old age of 92, Winnie the Pooh has returned to our screens as the star of a new Disney blockbuster, Christopher Robin. The Hollywood reinvention of AA Milne’s most beloved characters, with the boy of the title now unfulfilled in middle age, has not been met with universal acclaim. Yet as the author’s biographer Ann Thwaite notes in this issue, the criticism of Pooh’s latest outing cannot harm his appeal to millions. Nearly a century on, the Bear of Very Little Brain retains his charm. Without the sweetness and quiet wonder of his stories, our uncertain world would be an even poorer place.

Alas, not everyone agrees. Christopher Robin has been denied a release in China, where images of Pooh are used to satirise Xi Jinping, its all-powerful leader. Harold Wilson got the same treatment in his pomp. That Pooh still enrages the Eeyores of public life is a mark of his enduring cultural influence. In an age where nostalgia is all too often a crutch for political strongmen, we should welcome the return of the Hundred Acre Wood’s unlikely subversive.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
The truth about employability
Why we need a Minister for Citizen Experience
Powering careers that secure our net zero future

This article appears in the 22 Aug 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Will Labour split?