Binky Barnes: Dog Or Man?

Binky Barnes: Dog Or Man?

Binky Barnes is perhaps the most complex, compelling and realistic character ever portrayed on children’s television.
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Binky Barnes is perhaps the most complex, compelling and realistic character ever portrayed on children’s television. The often overlooked anthropomorphic bulldog is as multifaceted and flawed as Odysseus. It would be a disservice to completely ignore such a well-constructed character that has truly stood the test of time.

Binky is a tortured soul, constantly hiding his love for the finer things behind a brutish mask of extreme virility. According to the Arthur wiki, “he dances ballet, plays the clarinet and flute, and is a lepidopterologist (butterfly collector).” These are things that our western culture, and indeed the culture of Elwood City considers effeminate; as a result, Binky hides these interests because he fears the ridicule he would receive if he was found out.

But why does he hide them? There are plenty of characters who are forward with their more eccentric hobbies. Prunella, for instance has no shame in divulging her affinity for the occult, as evidenced by her love for fortune telling and Henry Screever (a Harry Potter parody). Is Binky so ashamed of the activities that make him happy he sees them as lower than devil worship? Why does Binky so loathe himself? What made him this way? To uncover the answer we have to go deeper down the Binky-hole.

Binky is overprotected, and as a result feels emasculated by his parents constant affection. Freud posits in chapter three of "An Outline of Psychoanalysis" that early childhood mental development is heavily effected by parenting style, and neglect in any one of the child’s steps in development could result in a lasting mental strain. Perhaps, when Marc Brown created the character Binky, he intended him to represent a deep suppression of the id, as a result of his parents affection. It would certainly make sense.

Binky covers his true desires with ferocity and lives a lie of who he wishes he was. Instead behaving as he truly wishes to, he constantly overcompensates with absurd displays of false masculinity. This is no better conveyed than in the episode “D.W. Dancing Queen,” wherein Binky is assigned D.W. as his preschool buddy. To his horror, D.W. seems to be the personification of his id, his most secret urges. She expresses great interest in butterflies, unicorns, and Binky’s greatest, most suppressed passion: ballet. Binky’s first reaction is disgust at this, his higher consciousness attempting to keep this side of him repressed, but he eventually caves to the desires of his subconscious and teaches D.W. ballet.

The almost immediate result of his endeavor is further ridicule from his friends and D.W. telling him he is a bad teacher. From this, it’s clear that when Binky feeds his unconscious desires, it results negative feedback, and ultimately more repression. In an episode entitled “The Contest,” the characters are shown as they would appear in ten years. Binky appears much like one would assume. He wears a leather jacket and shades, appearing to be some sort of bouncer or in a biker gang. Based on this, it becomes clear; throughout the timeline of the entirety of "Arthur," Binky never resolves his disconnect with his unconscious self.

When taken individually, Binky’s various fears and suppressions show that he is an extremely round character, and certainly more complex than any children’s television show character before him. When viewed all together however, the truth that Binky is the most human character emerges. One of Binky’s great fears that he also suppresses, is his fear of the dark. This isn’t that uncommon, as Binky is only 10 years old, but as is common knowledge, Marc Brown doesn’t write simple characters. Binky’s fear of the dark should alert anyone well versed in 20th century psychology to Jung’s archetype of the shadow.

As Binky attempts to suppress the literal shadows in his room, he is figuratively pushing out the negative emotions he can’t handle processing. In addition to the shame and self loathing outlined in the previous paragraph, the allusion to the shadow also implies Binky recognizes his own mortality. Friedrich Nietzsche in "The Gay Science" compares death to a shadow, “[a] gloomy traveling partner that stands right behind." Other characters have simple fears, like Buster who fears aliens, or D.W. who fears octopuses and squids. Binky on the other hand fears something far less tangible. Binky fears his own mortality. As a result, Binky breaks through, and transcends his role as a side character, and becomes a fascinatingly round and human character.

Binky is a sad, broken man who doesn’t know who he is, what he believes, or what happens after death. I didn’t even touch on some deeper aspects of his confused soul, such as the fact that he’s never hit anyone, or his obsession with minimal post-modernism. It’s no wonder he resorts to a façade of violent confrontation, for in the words of Dr. Carl Jung,

“The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.”

Cover Image Credit: Arthur Wiki

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Remember To Be Kind To Theme Park Cast Members This Holiday Season

They make the magic for you.
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For those of you who have traveled to a theme park during the holidays, you know what you are in for.

The weeks right before and after Christmas are some of the busiest times of the year to visit, making the parks extremely crowded and wait times higher than usual. Yet, this time is so popular since it is fun to experience the magic of the season with your family during the special Christmastime celebrations at the parks that bring something extra to your holidays.

One of the most important things to remember during this time of year is to be nice to the cast members!

Families that come to the parks during this time have so much to remember and so much to do; unfortunately, something that is often forgotten during a vacation is to be thankful for those who have to work during this time of year.

The cast members and team members who work during the holidays are doing so at the expense of spending time with their own families. They are sacrificing their Christmas celebrations at home to be at work making your vacation magical.

Some of these workers are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from their families and may not have seen them for weeks or even months. Yet, they are here in Orlando working in a job that they are passionate about because they love making happiness for their guests

Making magic and spreading happiness is something that is important to us and why we love what we do. However, it is still really hard to be away from our families at Christmas.

Think it is hard to be a guest when the parks are crowded?

It's even more difficult for the cast members who are working as hard as they can, for 8-15 hour shifts, when things happen that are out of our control. We too dislike long waits, telling your child that he is too short to ride or the fact that a ride is temporarily closed. These things make our jobs difficult too, just as they may be a huge setback in your vacation plans.

So focus on the positive things and appreciate the time you can spend with your families and friends rather than dwelling on the things that may be small setbacks during an overall wonderful holiday vacation. Please be patient this holiday season. Give the cast members a smile and a pleasant "thank you" or "Merry Christmas". We are here for you and we want you to have a wonderful vacation, but it still makes an incredible difference to know that our work is appreciated.

At this time of year, it is important to spread Christmas cheer and we are excited to celebrate with you and your families!

Cover Image Credit: Park Troopers

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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