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.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. 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 weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How automation can help telecoms companies unlock their growth potential
The pandemic has had a scarring effect on loneliness, but we can do better
Feel confident gifting tech to your children this Christmas

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