November’s arrival means the beginning of holiday season. There are traditions we revisit, new ones we create, and memories we manufacture with those we love and with whom we’re comfortable. No matter what you choose to celebrate, that’s really what a holiday is about—people, a good time and love. The end of the year reminds us we need more of that. A documentary I watched recently reminded me of that too.
The Peacock original, “I Love You, You Hate Me,” details in two parts the meteoric rise and crash of the larger-than-life green-chested, ever smiling purple dinosaur, Barney, loved by children, and hated by adults. Yes, if Barney was outside your target audience, the theme song about being a happy family could veer a little annoying. However, the vitriol directed at the dinosaur, his friends, and those who produced “Barney and Friends” was almost more unbelievable than the fact that a plush, singing dinosaur might ever approach me for a hug.
There were hateful frat parties, merchandise burnings, and death threats. All in the name of turning on something because it’s unrealistic. We all know there’s dissonance between real life and what’s happening on the screen as we watch children’s programming. That dissonance is what’s appealing to many children. That innocence is what many kids need and can open the doors to imagination.
The near-depraved anger to which documentary watchers witness because of a fictional world where peace, harmony, and love exist simply because you’re alive lets me know adults need it (or something like it) too. We, too, need to be reminded of our soft parts. Our humanity—the parts that need affirming and comforting. Even if we don’t share them with the world, we need to be reminded those parts are there and attend to them. To rebel against those parts of ourselves is to rebel against our very humanity. And such rebellion leaves space for pain, disappointment and malcontent to fester.
So I welcome the holiday season and the wonders it brings. Holidays are for humanity. (And since there’s an election right around the corner, it’s a good time to remind us … Never mind. I won’t go there today.)